Joe Hanson
Senior Content Strategist, PubNub

    This tutorial was originally published on Rex St John is a mobile software engineer living in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood who has worked on a wide variety of enterprise and consumer mobile applications including touch walls, games, mobile sales tools and more.

    raspberry pi

    What follows is a tutorial outlining how to get up and running with PubNub on a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian. I have created this tutorial to walk through the process of getting up and running with PubNub for the purpose of connected device / embedded device demonstrations at the upcoming Wearable Computing AT&T Hackathon.

    Step 1: Have a Raspberry Pi configured and running Raspbian

    This should be relatively straightforward, your OS does not honestly have to be Raspbian but that is what I am using to go through this process. More than likely any common Linux distribution will be fine.

    In my case I ordered a basic Raspberry Pi development kit which comes complete with an HDMI cable, an SD card, a mini-usb power supply and a plastic shell to keep you from shorting out the motherboard.

    You will need to have a PubNub account…logged in and activated as a developer (free!).

    Also make sure you have (obviously) some type of internet connection whether it be a WiFi Nub or ethernet cable. Assuming your Pi is plugged in, turned on and connected to the internet…proceed from there.

    raspberry pi

    Step 2: Clone into the PubNub C-Library GitHub Account

    Create and navigate to a folder on your Desktop or other such desired location in the terminal. Much of this information can already be found on the GitHub page for the Raspberry Pi C client for PubNub here:

    On your standard command line run:

    You will also need to run the following commands to install the libraries necessary to “make” or build the PubNub C libary

    Next, browse to your “C” folder which you just cloned from GitHub where the PubNub C libraries now should reside

    Step 3: Test Your Pub / Sub Connection

    Time to try a publish / subscribe communication between your Pi and PubNub.

    Open example-sync-demo.c with your favorite editor

    Now change the following lines to match your PubNub pub / sub credentials. These credentials should be on your PubNub API dashboard:

    raspberry pi

    Replace the demo publish and subscribe tags below with your actual credentials in the example-sync-demo.c file.

    Next, customize your message which you are publishing to something you will recognize (line 27):

    Next, you will need to build a “.o” file by running “make” while in the examples directory. The result should be example-sync-demo.o.

    Run this file in the terminal with: ./example-sync-demo

    You should see the following:


    mBed, Arduino, Raspberry Pi & PubNub Links – Rex St John

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