Fitbit still retains its foothold in the fitness band and smartwatch industry, which is evident through its strong market performance. The brand made $1.21 billion in revenue last year, a value indicated by Business of Apps as a 7% improvement versus the previous year. With such high consumer sales, it’s not surprising that as many as 31 million people use Fitbit at least once a week.

That’s even more impressive considering all the alternatives available on the market right now. This ranges from premium options like the Apple Watch to budget offerings such as the Mi Smart Band 6. Fitbit, however, continues to stand out from the crowd with its ever-increasing slew of features, most of which are still geared towards the wellness category. What essentially began as a device for monitoring movement and calorie intake didn’t fall behind in terms of innovation. They were among the first consumer fitness bands to be capable of tracking sleep cycles, temperature, and even electrodermal activity (EDA), which Fitbit claims determine the wearer’s stress level.

Beyond features, Fitbit is well-regarded in terms of user experience and aesthetics. Owners have the freedom to play around with settings like watch faces and display stats. One good way to achieve this is through Fitbit modification using MongoDB, a database platform. It gives you more flexibility than the Fitbit app in modifying your device but doesn’t require as much work as a professional dev’s Fitbit OS code.

Below are the steps you need to follow if you go down this route:

Prepare the necessary support tools

Start with making a Fitbit Studio account. It’s a browser-based development tool for creating watch faces. You can register using the details of your Fitbit device or link an existing Google account. The tool also has the Fitbit Simulator that lets you make watch faces even if you don’t have a Fitbit device. It’s handy if you like to do a test project first, instead of making modifications directly using your gadget right away.

The other tool needed is a MongoDB database, which is where your Fitbit data will be logged and retrieved. MongoDB’s features include database triggers and time series data management, both of which are vital for this project. Triggers commence actions based on commands inputted via your device. An example is using the interface to check your sleep-wake records in the past week. Meanwhile, time series data is a series of entries recorded in the database over time. These include the number of steps you reached at a particular date and time.

Define core stats you want to see

Next is to define the values you want to see on your watch face. The usual options are date and time, battery level, and a number of steps in the day. It’s done in different sectors, namely index.view, style.css, and index.js, all of which are inside the Fitbit Studio project environment. This process also lets you configure things such as font sizes, colors, text position, and time/date formats.

Set dynamic layout

The values above are initially set as fixed, and this part lets the data get updated accordingly, such as when the step counter moves up. On index.view for instance, this is accomplished by adding a series of “dynamic” scripts like <text class=”dynamicvalue” id=”dv0″/> followed by <text class=”dynamicvalue” id=”dv1″/> and so on until “dv7”.

Establish and run database connection

The first part of the final step is to set up your database to receive, apply, and send updates – tasks done right on MongoDB’s GUI. This phase is where the previously mentioned features like database triggers and time series data perform their functions.

The second part is to configure your Fitbit such that it sends and requests data from MongoDB on a preset frequency, e.g. every minute. Create a directory on your Fitbit Studio workspace which will serve as the junction point of transactions. In other words, this directory receives a command from your Fitbit, sends it to your database, receives the corresponding data, then sends it back to your Fitbit to be shown. This all occurs in real-time, virtually instantaneously.

To sum it up, modifying your Fitbit using MongoDB requires patience and effort, but the rewards are worth it. You can have a Fitbit with a watch face designed exactly according to your taste, and deliver data down to the last detail as often as you prefer.

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