What does it do?
Put simply, xAP provides the glue to interconnect different applications and devices within the home. It's an open standard, so anyone can create a xAP aware applications or devices. Any xAP device can potentially communicate with any other xAP device with the minimum of fuss, allowing you to, say, control your heating from a Slim MP3 player or display the name of a person calling your home phone on your TV screen.
While there are many ways xAP devices and software can communicate the majority of times you will be using a standard IP network. So making sure your network is working ok will be the first step, a good rule is if you are on the internet it's probably fine.
The next step is to install the one piece of xAP infrastructure you will need, a hub. You should install a hub on each PC you intend to install a piece of xAP software on. A hub typically runs in the background and has very little, if anything, to configure so installation is quick and simple. There are various different hubs available depending on the type of system you have. You can get more info here including download links and more info on how the hub actually works.
Most computers nowadays have some kind of firewall running and as xAP communicates via a network you will need to tell your firewalls to allow xAP messages through. Usually all you have to do is click Allow on the firewall dialog box when you first run an application. In case this doesn't occur, and all firewalls will be slightly different, you should ensure that any xAP application is listed as an allowed application. Nearly all the times that problems have been reported where xAP isn't working have been down to firewalls blocking messages so it's worth checking.
How it works
While the technicalities are unimportant the conecpt on how xAP works is.
Every time any xAP application says something all other xAP applictions hear it.
This is quite diffenet to other systems. Take, for example, a simple CallerID device. You would normally connect it to an application and all use of it would go via that application. If you wanted to use a second application with it you couldn't as the device could not be shared. The same setup with xAP would not only allow the device to be shared with other applications on the same computer but would, as in xAP everything hears everything, share the device with your entire network. A side effect of this is that typically xAP applications do not have plugins, they tend to run as seperate applications. So don't worry if you find you are running lots of small applications rather than one big application with lots of addins, this is prefectly normal and also more reliable as it removes that single point of failiure that most systems face.
There are many xAP_Applications and what you will install fist is going to depend on what you want to achieve but the applications will be mainly one of 2 types:
- A connector. These connect to a piece of hardware or software and allow it to function on a xAP network. They often allow the reporting of information to a xAP network but also allow the xAP network to control the softare/hardware. An example would be a modem connector that will report incoming calls but also allow outgoing calls to be dialed.
- A pure xAP app. As the name suggests these applictions work purely on xAP and rely on connectors to gather information and control things. A typical example is a scripting application, to apply logic to how things interconnect or a timer application to trigger something to happen at a preset time.
Viewer is a Windows application that is worth a special mention. When you are setting up software or hardware using xAP there comes a point when you will want to check things, to see what devices are reporting, to monitor how things are behaving or just being inquisitive as to what is going on. Viewer lists all xAP applictions on you network and shows every message sent, it is highly recommended to have it installed somewhere on your network. more info
Hopefully this page will have given an overview on how to get started but there many other places to get more information. The first place is this wiki, use the links from the homepage or search for your topic. There are also links on the home page to the various developer's homepages. The xAP Yahoo Groups are the place to ask questions and to see questions asked by others as well as the answers given. Most of the xAP developers are on these lists so they really are the best place to ask.