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The Connected Mirror

The iPads that display information in the Magic Mirror are displaying information through their web browsers. The browsers are loading up webpages that respond in real-time to events sent from the Photons. Since the Photons cannot connect directly to the iPads, events are routed through an intermediary system built on our web server. PHP, JS/jQuery, and Server Sent Events (SSE) are the core technologies used. When an event is fired from a photon, the following sequence is executed:

1 - A Photon pings the command file on our web server using a GET request. Data is passed via URL parameters. This is our makeshift API.

2 - The command file interprets the Photon's request and records the passed data to a static text file. This is our makeshift database.

3 - A special data stream script is set up to watch the data file. If it notices any changes, it will broadcast the new data out to any listening web clients.

4 - The iPads receive the data and respond by updating what they show on their screens.
We chose SSE over Websockets because we did not need bidirectional communication. We chose SSE over AJAX polling because we wanted faster response times and a reduced server load.  

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