Bluetooth Low Energy Starter Guide - Getting Started with Mobile Apps for BLE

Bluetooth Low Energy is a fundamental communication technology for the Internet of Things. This technology is also called Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth Smart or simply abbreviated as BLE. Bluetooth Low Energy is used for applications like proximity beacons, communicating with embedded microcontrollers, and radio controlled models.

Modern mobile phones have support for BLE, and this makes it possible to develop all sorts of mobile apps that communicate with BLE devices. Evothings Viewer comes with the Cordova BLE plugin pre-installed, which enables mobile apps to scan for and connect to BLE devices on iOS and Android.

Introductory guides

The BLE API Guide is the place to start learning the Evothings BLE API, used by Evothings Viewer and available for any app to use in the Cordova BLE plugin (Evothings apps are 100% Cordova compatible). This guide is also a good reference for how to communicate with BLE devices, and useful when you want to develop an app for a BLE device for which there is no example app.

Read the article BLE app development in JavaScript explained – Bluetooth Low Energy in action to get an introduction to BLE and mobile app development.

API documentation

Read the Evothings BLE API Guide to learn how to connect to BLE devices using the Evothings JavaScript BLE API. This guide is a great starting point for finding out how to connect to any BLE device you may have (not just the ones covered by the example apps).

Check out the tutorials page, which lists many articles and blog posts that are relevant to Bluetooth Low Energy enabled mobile apps.

The Evothings BLE API documentation contains reference documentation for the BLE API.

Visit the Cordova BLE plugin Release Notes for the latest updates on the BLE API (note that the version of the plugin included in Evothings Viewer may not be the very latest one, but we aim at releasing a new Viewer version when a new version of the BLE plugin is released).

Example apps

Many of the Evothings example apps that ship with Evothings Studio use BLE to communicate to microcontrollers and other hardware. Browse the dokumentation and have a look at the list of examples in Evothings Workbench.

Click the COPY button in Evothings Workbench to make a copy of the example app(s) you wish to run. Note that some examples need some configuration before they are usable. Edit the code and modify to your needs. The documentation pages contain the instructions you need to get started.

The Cordova BLE plugin contains several example apps that show how to use the Evothings BLE API. Download these examples from GitHub, then drag and drop the corresponding app folder into Evothings Workbench and click RUN to launch an app in Evothings Viewer.

How to connect to any BLE device

Evothings Studio comes with several example apps that connect to various BLE devices. If your device is not in the list of examples, consult the Evothings BLE API Guide to learn how to connect to any BLE device you may have. Usually it is enough to update the example code with the UUIDs of the services and characteristics of your device to get a basic app up and running.

Note about EasyBLE

We are phasing out the EasyBLE library in favour of the BLE plugin API. The API that comes with the Cordova BLE plugin has been updated and now contains new functionality that makes it just as easy to use as EasyBLE. The benefit is that you don't need a separate add-on library, and if you install the BLE plugin you can be sure to get the most recent API updates.

Learn about the updated BLE plugin API in the Evothings BLE API Guide.

Get started quickly with scanning for BLE devices from your phone

The quickest and easiest way to get started with a BLE app is to download Evothings Studio and run the "BLE Scan" example app. You will find in under the "Examples" tab in Evothings Workbench. The app is included with the download. You will be up and running in just 5 minutes!