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Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) constitute a new pervasive and ubiquitous technology. They have been successfully used in various application areas and in future computing environments, WSNs will play an increasingly important role. However, programming sensor networks and applications to be deployed in them is extremely challenging. It has traditionally been an error-prone task since it requires programming individual nodes, using low-level programming issues and interfacing with the hardware and the network. This aspect is currently changing as different high-level programming abstractions and middleware solutions are coming into the arena. Nevertheless, many research challenges are still open. This paper presents a survey of the current state-of-the-art in the field, establishing a classification and highlighting some likely research challenges and future directions.