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Updating an application

There are two ways to update an MBL application:

MBL provides a wrapper around the Device Management firmware update service and manifest tool. This means you can use the same file type (tar, containing the ipk) for both processes, allowing you to pick the update method independently of your packaging process. It also means that any file that MBL CLI manages to update, the manifest tool should also be able to update, so you can use MBL CLI as a proxy for testing on Device Management.

First, you need to prepare the update payload for the application.

Prepare the update payload

You need a build environment of MBL because this contains the scripts needed to create the update payload for applications. You can either reuse a full build of MBL or create a new environment just for the application update.

  1. If you are going to create a new build environment - set up the build-mbl tools, and create an outputdir directory:

    git clone git@github.com:ARMmbed/mbl-tools.git --branch mbl-os-0.9
    mkdir /path/to/artifacts
  2. Copy the application ipk file into the build outputdir directory:

    cp /path/to/application/package.ipk /path/to/artifacts
  3. Enter the mbl-tools interactive mode for the build. For example, for PICO-PI with IMX7D:

    ./mbl-tools/build-mbl/run-me.sh --builddir /path/to/build --outputdir /path/to/artifacts -- --machine imx7d-pico-mbl --branch mbl-os-0.9  interactive

    Please see the other build examples.

  4. Use the create-update-payload tool to create a tar file containing the application package.

    These are the arguments that the tool accepts:

    Name Value Information
    --app APPLICATION_PATH Specifies the application package name and path to add to the payload.
    --output-tar-path FILE_PATH File name and path for the payload tar file to be created.

    Note: The create-update-payload tool needs the bitbake environment to work. When using the interactive mode, only the builddir (/path/to/build) or outputdir (/path/to/artifacts) directories are available in the build environment, so you must use them as the paths for the APPLICATION_PATH and FILE_PATH arguments.

    For example, to create an update payload file /path/to/artifacts/payload-app.tar containing package.ipk, run:

    user01@dev-machine:~$ create-update-payload --app /path/to/artifacts/package.ipk --output-tar-path /path/to/artifacts/payload-boot2.tar

Using MBL CLI to update

You can find installation and use instructions for MBL CLI in the application development section.

To install or update an application:

  1. Transfer an application update tar file to the /scratch partition on the device:

    $ mbl-cli [-a address] put <application update payload> <destination on device under the /scratch partition>

    For example, if payload.tar is the payload name for an application update, and is a link-local IPv4 address on the device:

    $ mbl-cli -a put payload.tar /scratch

    You can use mbl-cli select to choose your device, instead of using the -a address option.

  2. Use the MBL CLI shell command to get shell access on the device:

    $ mbl-cli [-a address] shell

    For example:

    $ mbl-cli -a shell
  3. Run mbl-firmware-update-manager:

    $ mbl-firmware-update-manager /absolute/path/to/payload.tar

    The application is installed.

    Note: To keep the update package after a successful update, use the optional argument --keep.

  4. The application starts automatically, without a device reboot.

Using the manifest tool to update

  1. Find the device ID in the mbl-cloud-client log file at /var/log/mbl-cloud-client.log, using the following command on the device's console:

    root@mbed-linux-os-1234:~# grep -i 'device id' /var/log/mbl-cloud-client.log

    If you only have one registered device, or if each device has been assigned a descriptive name in Portal, you can go to Device Management Portal > Device Directory to find the device ID.

  2. Change the current working directory to the directory where the manifest tool was initialized. You initialized the manifest tool when you created the update_default_resources.c file.

  3. Run the following command:

    user01@dev-machine:manifests$ manifest-tool update device --device-id <device-id> --payload <payload-file> --api-key <api-key>


    • <device-id> is the device ID.
    • <payload-file> is the update payload (.tar file).
    • <api-key> is the Pelion API key you generated as a prerequisite.

The system does not reboot after an application update.

Identifying the running applications

You can use runc list to list all the active applications and their status.

  1. The first steps of an application update include stopping and terminating a running instance of the application (if one exists).

    If you perform runc list when the application is stopped, you will see:

    root@mbed-linux-os-1234:/home/app# runc list
    ID                        PID         STATUS      BUNDLE                                CREATED                          OWNER
    user-sample-app-package   0           stopped     /home/app/user-sample-app-package/0   2018-12-07T08:23:36.742467741Z   root

    If you perform runc list when the application is terminated, the application will not appear on the list.

  2. When the application is installed or updated, it starts automatically.

    If you perform runc list for a running application, you will see:

    root@mbed-linux-os-1234:/home/app# runc list
    ID                        PID         STATUS      BUNDLE                                CREATED                          OWNER
    user-sample-app-package   3654        running     /home/app/user-sample-app-package/0   2018-12-07T08:23:36.742467741Z   root

    Note: The Hello World application runs for about 20 seconds. When it finishes, it once again appears as stopped.

Monitoring progress

  • You can monitor the update payload download progress by tailing the mbl-cloud-client log file:

    root@mbed-linux-os-1234:~# tail -f /var/log/mbl-cloud-client.log
  • You can monitor the update payload installation progress by tailing:

    • /var/log/arm_update_activate.log: for messages about the overall progress of the installation, and messages specific to rootfs, kernel or boot component updates.
    • /var/log/mbl-app-update-manager-daemon.log: for messages about application updates.
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