NTK Alpha Version Released

Posted on: 03/08/2015


As of 12/23/2015 the 1.0 version has been released!

We’re happy to announce that the Alpha version (v0.5.0) of the new HTML5 NTK is now available. This is the first official version we’ve released, and shows the new direction we’re heading for the toolkit. NTK is now based on HTML5 and Javascript, with authoring available in any web browser. It’s also designed to run on both computers and embedded Linux systems such as the Intel Galileo, Arduino Tre, and Raspberry PI.  This initial version features 13 different widgets, with more on the way.

To get started, see our documentation, and post questions on our forum.

NTK Features

  • Drag and Drop, Connected Widgets – Use the sidebar to add a widget to the stage, and drag them to where you want. Connect any widget to any other widget to create a project. One widget can feed several other widgets, allowing you to easily create projects with multiple outcomes (unlike simpler systems like IFTTT).
  • Node.js Headless Server – The system is designed so that once authoring is finished, the web browser can be closed and the project will continue to run. In the case of embedded Linux systems, this means that you can have NTK running on an Intel Galileo, and author using just a browser on a tablet or chromebook. The project continues as you configured after you disconnect the browser, and doesn’t require any computer to run. As of this release, NTK on embedded systems is still unstable, but we hope to have this resolved within the next month.
  • Plays Media – Three media widgets are already included in the system – Image, Audio, and Video. This allows you to integrate tangible interactions using sensors and actuators with any kind of media. Much more is planned, including an HTML widget that will enable you to embed your own HTML in a project, and feed it with text.
  • Cloud Integration – The CloudIn/CloudOut widgets allow your project to get and send data to a cloud service. Initially we’re supporting data.sparkfun.com and the hardware/cloud combination Spark.io, and plan to add ThingSpeak and Xively soon.
  • UI Widgets – This initial release has Button and Knob widgets that allow you to quickly create a user interface to your project. Much more is planned for screen based interactions.
  • Extensibility – The toolkit is easy to extend. If you need to use a little custom code, you can enter Javascript right in the Code widget. If you have some Javascript and HTML skills, it’s easy to create your own widget.
  • Share your Project – Projects are stored as plain text (JSON) files which you can download and easily share.
  • Based on HTML5 & Node.js – NTK is build on modern technologies and is open-source.


This alpha version requires installation on the command line in a terminal app. In the future we’ll be releasing a standard double-clickable application for Mac and PC, and an easy to install disk image for for embedded Linux devices like the Intel Galileo and Raspberry Pi.

For now, you’ll need to do some Linux stuff to complete your installation, including installing Nodejs and NPM:


What’s Next

Now that we’ve released the alpha version, we have both short term and long term goals to advance the project.

Short Term – Next 4 Months

  • Continue to improve stability and usability
  • Make a functional release for embedded systems like Intel Galileo & Raspberry PI and provide ready to run NTK disk images for easily installation.
  • Add more widgets and add features to existing widgets
    • Text oriented widgets (HTML, DisplayLiveText)
    • Time based widgets (e.g. Tween, Periodic, Alarm)
    • Logic and processing widgets (e.g. IfThen, Gate, Random)
    • More protocols (e.g. OSC, DMX, Midi)
    • Let us know what you would like in the forum!
  • Get other developers involved to broaden the project – let us know if you are interested
  • Create downloadable, double-click versions of NTK. Currently, you have to install NTK via the command line (we know this is too complicated, and we’re working hard to make it simpler).

Long Term – Summer 2015

  • Redesign the widgets for better function and full mobile compatibility
  • Beta Release in summer of 2015 with full suite of widgets and new design

Quick How-To GIF

alpha release2_1

Overview of NTK Capabilities

NETLabTK - Tangible IoT