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A method for the storage of configuration information for devices with little or no persistent storage

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132351D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Dec-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Dec-09
Document File: 2 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

With the proliferation of Pervasive Computing devices, such as smart phones, PDAs, and embedded computer systems, it is often found that an application running on such a device wants to save some configuration or other state data between sessions of that application. It is the nature of such devices that permanent storage on the device is one of: non-existent, limited in size, or complicated and non-standard to gain access to. This disclosure proposes a mechanism for applications running on computers such as Pervasive Computing devices to store configuration and other state information "in the network" using the capabilities of the publish/subscribe messaging system.

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A method for the storage of configuration information for devices with little or no persistent storage

With the proliferation of Pervasive Computing devices, such as smart phones, PDAs, and embedded computer systems, it is often found that an application running on such a device wants to save some configuration or other state data between sessions of that application. It is the nature of such devices that permanent storage on the device is one of: non-existent, limited in size, or complicated and non-standard to gain access to.

    Often, these devices are able to run a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), even if only a reduced function one such as MIDP (e.g. smart phones), and this often imposes harsh restrictions on access to local storage due to the Java* security model, though a JVM is not a prerequisite of this invention.

    Such devices are often connected to the outside world by means of a lightweight publish/subscribe messaging protocol such as MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT), by means of which the device can send and receive data to and from remote applications and other devices by communicating with a central message broker such as WebSphere** Business Integration Message Broker (WBIMB).

    These devices are sometimes "disposable", in that there is a high risk of the owner losing the device, and needing to re-establish operations on another similar device. In this scenario, any state information persisted on the device would be lost, which would be unacceptable.

    This disclosure proposes a mechanism for applications running on computers such as Pervasive Computing devices to store configuration and other state information "in the network" using the capabilities of the publish/subscribe messaging system.

    Clearly the mechanism is applicable to other (non-Pervasive) types of computing systems, but it is in the Pervasive area that this has proved particularly useful and powerful.

    This method uses the "retained" publication feature of publish/subscribe messaging systems such as MQ Telemetry Transport and the WebSphere Business Integration Message Broker. This feature, selected by the publisher of a message, causes the last message published on a particular topic to be stored in the message broker. When a new subscriber connects to the broker and subscribes to a topic on which there is a retained publication, the subscriber immediately receives that retained message as its first message matching its new subscription.

    The application uses a unique identifier to publish a retained message containing its configuration information, to a topic that it can later subscribe to in order to receive that retained message and hence retrieve its configuration information.

    For this mechanism to work, the device must know some sort of unique identifier - this can take two forms:
1) a unique identifier for the device itself, such as the MAC address of a network card, or perhaps the phone number or SIM number of a mobile phone, or a serial number that is available...