0.17: Onkyo, Panasonic, GTFS and config validation

1 minute reading time
  • Release-Notes
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Another awesome release ready to hit your homes. YAML can be hard for beginners and more experienced automators. So to help catch those pesky errors that sneak into your files we’ve been hard at work to introduce config validation! Especially huge thanks to @jaharkes for his hard work on this. Config validation is still in it’s early stages. More common platforms and components have been added but we didn’t do everything yet.

When we encounter an invalid config we will now write a warning to your logs. You can see those in the frontend by clicking on the last developer tool. We’re looking into options to make it more clear - it is a work in progress.

Another big thing is the addition of GTFS support. You probably don’t know it, but GTFS is the standard that public transit companies all over the world use to distribute their schedule. This means that you can now have the time of the next bus/train/etc right in your frontend.

Breaking changes

As of now we are not aware of any breaking changes. However, it might be that Home Assistant will not start for you because of an invalid configuration. A common mistake that people are making is that they are still referring to execute_service in their script configs. This should be service.


Static website

1 minute reading time
  • How-To
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The frontend of Home Assistant is served with the help of a local web server. If you have customized your installation you already use this functionality. The content of your folder www in your Home Assistant configuration directory (.homeassistant) is available under /local (eg. https://localhost:8123/local).

But there is more you can do! You can not only host images for customization there but HTML files or even web applications including CSS and Javascript.

Read on →

Your hub should be local and open

1 minute reading time
  • Internet-of-Things
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Today the news spread that Google will be shutting down the Revolv hubs. And shutting down here doesn’t mean they stop selling or supporting them - no, they are sending an update to each hub to turn your perfectly fine home automation hub into a useless piece of plastic. The fact that this seemed like a good idea by Google astonishes me. If anything, they should have gone the same route as ninjasphere: open it all up and let people decide on the fate of their own hub.

I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it again:

The cloud should be treated as an extension to your smart home instead of running it.

Your hub should not be affected when your internet breaks down or the company that sold you your hub goes out of business. It should work locally so that it can continue to work even long after the vendor goes out of business or decides to kill it. Preferably, your hub should also be open so that the community can take over development after the vendor stops caring.

Unless you can afford losing a product here and there, be cautious when buying IoT products that depend on the cloud from companies that are not well established. The chances are high that they go bankrupt or get acquired and closed. This however is easier said than done as Gartner predicts that by 2017, 50 percent of IoT solutions will originate in startups that are less than three years old.


0.16: Embedded MQTT broker, Uber, Yamaha receivers and Growl

two minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes
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Party people, 0.16 is here! The big thing with this release is that we have completely removed the barrier to get started by MQTT by being able to launch an embedded MQTT server: hbMQTT. Just add mqtt: to your config and a broker is launched and connected with Home Assistant. See the documentation for more info.

Further in this release a bunch of cool new stuff, bug fixes and rewrites for the Vera and Tellstick component (see breaking changes section at bottom for this!).

Rock on.

Breaking changes

  • Automation: support for old deprecated config has been removed

  • Tellstick configuration has changed

tellstick:
  signal_repetitions: X
  • Vera configuration has changed
vera:
  vera_controller_url: http://192.168.1.161:3480/
  # Optional to exclude devices - this is a list of vera device ids
  exclude: [ 13, 14, 16, 20, 23, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 88, 89, 99]
  # Optional to import switches as lights - this is a list of vera device ids
  lights: [15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 43, 64, 70, 87]

0.15: Unforked Open Z-Wave, templated service calls, extended scene support and PEP257 compliance.

1 minute reading time
  • Release-Notes
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Two weeks has past so here is 0.15! We have been focussing a lot on quality. Making sure the system is more stable and reliable. I usually try to highlight one cool thing in the release notes but this release has 4 exciting announcements!

  • @fabaff has upgraded the codebase to follow the PEP257 documentation standard.
  • @partofthething has migrated us to use the main Python Open Z-Wave library instead of our forked version.
  • To make our automations more powerful, @persandstrom added the option to use templates to dynamically create service calls. This works for automation, Alexa, universal media player, template switch. Learn more.
  • @MartinHjelmare has upgraded our scene support to now support all built-in services and components.

Besides bug fixes, this release also brings:

# Example using templates for service and data in service call.
# Works for automation, Alexa, universal media player, template switch.
automation:
  - trigger:
      - platform: state
        entity_id: switch.bathroom
    action:
      service_template: >
        {% if is_state('switch.bathroom', 'on') %}
          switch.turn_on
        {% else %}
          switch.turn_off
        {% endif %}
      data_template:
        entity_id: switch.{{ states('input_select.is') }}

Breaking Changes

  • Media Player: Attributes to call service play_media has been renamed to media_content_type and media_content_id, to match the corresponding media player state attributes. This change affects automations, scripts and scenes.

0.14: Steam, D-Link smart plugs and Neurio Energy Sensors

two minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes
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It’s been another two weeks which means it’s time for release: 0.14!

Camera feeds are now directly embedded in the frontend.

Backwards incompatible changes

  • Component: Simple Alarm has been removed. Still available in the cookbook.
  • Script: Turning on a script that is already on is now a no-op instead of skipping current delay.
  • Wemo switches now have to be set up via the main Wemo component
  • Command line platforms for switch, sensor and binary_sensor have been renamed to command_line.
  • The rfxtrx sensors entity ids will incur a one time change to move to a stable format. See the docs for more details.

Community Highlights

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  • Community
  • Video
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Home Assistant land has been busy and a lot of people have been creating awesome stuff. We’ve added a cookbook section to the website full of examples how you can automate different things. Make sure you take a look and share your own recipes too!

Home automation demo by Part of the Thing

Haaska - Alexa Skill Adapter for Home Assistant

Haaska allows you to control lights, switches, and scenes exposed by your Home Assistant instance using an Amazon Echo. This is different from our own Alexa component because it will teach the Amazon Echo directly about the devices instead of teaching it to talk to Home Assistant. It will not allow you to use custom sentences but it will allow you to skip the ‘Ask Home Assistant’ part when giving commands:

  • “Alexa, set kitchen to twenty percent”
  • “Alexa, turn on evening scene”
  • “Alexa, turn off bedroom light”

Haaska on GitHub

Integrating Home Assistant with HomeKit

Contributor Maddox has created a plugin for HomeBridge, an open-source HomeKit bridge. This will allow you to control your home using Siri on your Apple devices. HomeBridge has recently restructured so you’ll have to install the plugin separately with the homebridge-homeassistant npm package.

Example config.json entry to load Home Assistant:

"platforms": [
    {
        "platform": "HomeAssistant",
        "name": "HomeAssistant",
        "host": "http://192.168.1.50:8123",
        "password": "xxx",
        "supported_types": ["light", "switch", "media_player", "scene"]
    }
]

HomeBridge on GitHub HomeBridge Home Assistant Plugin

Custom alarm system with Home Assistant

User thaijames describes in the Home Assistant forums how he has created his own NFC-based alarm system using Home Assistant, DIY components and Garfield dolls.

Hold your NFC tag against the belly of Garfield to unlock the alarm.


Multi-room audio with Snapcast, Mopidy, and Home Assistant

four minutes reading time
  • How-To
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Would you like to listen to music in every room in your home, controlled from one source? Then multi-room audio is for you.

Multi-room audio can be achieved by having a computer attached to speakers in every room. On each computer, services run to play and/or control the audio. With this DIY approach, the kind of computer and speakers is very much up to you. It could be your desktop computer with attached powered speakers, your HTPC hooked up to your TV and receiver, a Raspberry Pi with Amp or DAC, or even an Android device.

You’ll need two key software packages, besides Home Assistant. The first is Mopidy, a music server that can play local files, or connect to streaming music services like Spotify. The second is Snapcast, which enables synchronized audio streaming across your network. Both can be integrated into Home Assistant. Each room audio device will run an instance of the Snapcast client, and optionally a Mopidy instance. Your server will run a special instance of Mopidy and the Snapcast server.

Finally, you also need a player to control Mopidy. Any MPD-compatible player will work, and there are several Mopidy-only web-based options available. On Android, Remotedy is particularly nice since you can access multiple Mopidy instances in one place.

Home Assistant will provide device status, and volume control for each room. If you want to play music in all your rooms (on all your clients), access the server instance of Mopidy. If you want to play music only in a specific room, access that specific Mopidy instance. If you’re using a web UI for Mopidy, you can add links to each instance in Home Assistant with the weblink component.

Read on →

0.13: Speedtest.net, Bloomsky, Splunk and Garage Doors

two minutes reading time
  • Release-Notes
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The focus of 0.13 was on test coverage, big cheers to @rmkraus for his hard work on this. I’m proud to announce that we’ve hit the 90% test coverage of the core + important components. A big milestone for the project.

Examples of the new input_select and weblink components.

Not only did we gain a lot of test coverage, we also attracted a lot of new developers that contributed a variety of components and platforms:


Classifying the Internet of Things

seven minutes reading time
  • Internet-of-Things
Comments

The core of home automation is knowing what’s going on. The faster we know about a state change, the better we can serve the user. If you want to have your lights to turn on when you arrive at home, it doesn’t help if it only knows about it after you’ve already opened the door and manually (!!) turned on the light.

Each smart device consists of the ‘normal’ device and the piece that makes it ‘smart’: the connectivity. The connectivity part of a device can consists of either control, state or both.

State describes what a device is up to right now. For example, a light can be on with a red color and a medium brightness.

Control is about controlling the smart device by sending commands via an API. These commands can vary from configuring how a device works till mimicking how a user would interact with a device. A media player can allow skipping to the next track and a sensor could allow to configure its sensitivity or polling interval.

The Home Assistant APIs are setup to be as convenient as possible. However, a network is always as weak as it’s weakest link. In our case these are the integrations. Take for example controlling a light that does not report state. The only state Home Assistant can report on after sending a command is the assumed state: what do we expect the state of the light to be if the command worked.

We want our users to get the best home automation experience out there and this starts with making sure they have devices that work well with Home Assistant. That’s why we will start applying the following classifiers to our integrations:

Classifier Description
Assumed State We are unable to get the state of the device. Best we can do is to assume the state based on our last command.
Cloud Polling Integration of this device happens via the cloud and requires an active internet connection. Polling the state means that an update might be noticed later.
Cloud Push Integration of this device happens via the cloud and requires an active internet connection. Home Assistant will be notified as soon as a new state is available.
Local Polling Offers direct communication with device. Polling the state means that an update might be noticed later.
Local Push Offers direct communication with device. Home Assistant will be notified as soon as a new state is available.

The background to how we got to these classifiers can be read after the break.

Read on →