Xively, Thingspeak and Open.Sen.Se - a hard choice

Guys, more of us have been flexing between the three prominent data-reporting services that I know of. And I am tired of always ending up in the conclusion: There has to be something better.

Xively, only the sandbox is good, and there is missing features. Works really well, but only for yourself. A paid model with some large scale deployment support, which is nice for some.

Open.Sen.Se, a good idea with built-in apps and more visualization and data-treatment options, but still, its buggy, and not all apps are working well. Great ideas, but it feels like they have fallen asleep. No support at all.

Thingspeak, rather sparse, working but missing features, and buggy as well.

I have been considering moving to some cloud DIY service - Azure or something like that. But that looks too complex for a quick visualization of some temperature readings or some counts for a door-sensor.

What are you using for your simple data-collection and visualization needs?

What would the requirements be for such service? I am very curious since we had built something 2 years ago but never finished it.

I agree three has to be something better. I’ve tried both Xively and ThingSpeak. Each have their pros and cons, but both suffer from a dearth of features. If you’re interested in rolling your (or our) own Azure service, let me know. I got a very basic RESTful service going this summer on Azure using Web API and a Sql Server backend. It would be a good foundation for building something more feature rich. I have been meaning to clean it up and share here, and any interest would motivate me to do so.

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@ ransomhall - I would definitely be interested, as long as its not too complex to setup and keep running. I would prefer the flexibility of just loading all readings into a database that can be queried - but I am also humble about the challenges involved in storing millions of readings and visualizing specific sections within reasonable amounts of time.

@ Gus - Tell us what you have, and we can comment on it, or compare it to the three mentioned services, and we can give feedback. Sounds great btw.

@ Microsoft - Why not create a Gadgeteer cloud package for tinkerers?

I would be willing to pay.

Thanks for the lively discussion about the different IoT platforms.

I wanted to jump in and ask what features that you are looking for and what would help? I ask because ThingSpeak is under continual development and this is the community that we want to be a part of. That is why the API is open source and modifiable.

We spent the last month making the infrastructure stable for ThingSpeak and adding more resources as ThingSpeak has been under a significant load for the past 8 months.

Please be candid and we will continue to improve.

@ ThingSpeak - Awsome seeing you here, and welcome!

I have experienced radical instability and weird browser-lockups using thingspeak lately. I think there is something wrong with the javescript that runs really bad in some browsers.

I love the openness of the Thingspeak concept, and they are my preferred data-site currently.

Can you elaborate some more on your plans and coming features. Thanks again!

Could you specify what features have been added to ThingSpeak during the past 12 months? I check your blog, website and forums from time to time, but haven’t seen anything I would consider “an awesome new feature”. In fact, it feels pretty stagnant. Last activity on your GitHub is 8 months old!..

And there are some awesome features around. For example, I really like open.sen.se approach to controls: custom layout, many different ways to display the same data, and colors.

@ njbuch - Glad we are the preferred place for storing data for you. Can you elaborate on the browser lockups and stability? Is recent, like before Dec 4th? Or this past week? Did fix a major issue that was causing a server to become bogged down when you are were navigating the channel pages. I am hoping this is fixed now.

@ Simon - The main feature added to ThingSpeak is the customizable Public and Private views. You drag the order of your windows around, add plugins, show a map, show a video, and customize what is public and what is private.


We are currently working on a new API that allows you to manage ThingSpeak without having to log in. API calls that return your channels and their info. API calls to create channels. This will make it easier for app developers to integrate with ThingSpeak accounts.

API to retrieve and search Public ThingSpeak Channels

Updating to latest Rails

Last items: two new (secret) apps to

Once we have the new features developed, we will be doing a complete refresh of the open source repository on GitHub.

What features are important?

Ok, so you are alive after all! Nice to hear :slight_smile: Hope you’ll finish work under the hood and make ThinkSpeak really fancy!

Now that you asked about features…

  1. The showstopper for me is no Unicode support. If you want to take over the world, please add it…
  2. Only 8 fields for a channel — why to limit yourselves?.. when I was playing with ThingSpeak I found that very displeasing.
  3. And of course, more plugins, more fancy controls. Like multiple lines in one graph, line and bar in one graph, indicator with min/max values…

There’s really no excuse nowadays to not be using UTF-8. Doesn’t Ruby use Unicode internally anyway?

I use ThingSpeak and OpenSense


To be honest as much as I like both of them, what I’d like to see fixed is why my monitor seems to crap out after a couple days.

Is it just me or the open.sen.se link is not working? Out of the game, just like Cosm? :slight_smile:

Cosm, formerly Pachube, is now called Xively (www.xively.com). Not out of the game; just an unhealthy tendency to change from one unpronounceable name to another every couple of years.


That and they’ve started cranking up the fees and cranking down what’s available to devs for free with the switch to the latest incarnation (Xively). The inevitable monetization of a good idea.

Open.Sen.se is back today as I suspect it was a site upgrade/maintenance yesterday.

I know who they are. But when I see their plircing model, they are out of game for me. I actually have no idea who buys their services?..

Hey ThingSpeak guy, any comments on this?

@ Simon - We have looked into Unicode and we do support it if the HTTP POST is URL formencoded. Can you describe what you are looking for? We might be talking about two different things.

We built the 8 fields + 4 location fields + 1 status field model to be very efficient on the backend and for backend analysis by our math functions and React app. Does increasing the number of fields help? Or is it more about being able to define an unlimited number under a channel?

@ ThingSpeak - check attached image for problem #1.

Concerning #2, just right now I’m designing a system that has 11+ sensors, and I cannot put them all in a single channel. Very inconvenient, as I have to split the same logical unit into multiple channels. Although if the frontend allowed showing graphs from multiple channels, that would be fine for me.

But I would still vote for a design change to unlimited number of fields. Limits have a bad trait: one day they bite you. When I design things, I usually allow at least 10x expansion. If I do not, I know sooner or later (usually sooner) I’ll be in trouble…

@ Simon - Okay, I now know what you mean about Unicode support. I was thinking of data inside the channel. We will get on this.