0.20: Roku, Last.fm, AWS, Twilio

Tons of new supported things in 0.20.

Breaking changes

  • Asus WRT will now default to SSH with Telnet being an option
  platform: asuswrt
  protocol: telnet

Why we use web components and Polymer

I’ve been planning to write this post for a while now as we get questions like this a lot: “Why does Home Assistant use Polymer? Why not React, Redux and what not?”

It’s understandable, Polymer is quite the underdog in the world of web frameworks. A corporate backer does not guarantee popularity or an active community and this shows in the number of projects using Polymer.

Still, we use Polymer and it’s awesome. To explain why, I’ll be referencing the React workflow quite a bit, as they do a lot of things right, and show how it is done in Polymer.

Polymer gives us components for the web, just like React, but based on web standards: web components, CSS variables. These standards don’t have wide browser support yet but it’s being implemented by every major browser: It’s the future. For now they are being polyfilled and that works just fine but in the future the Home Assistant web app will be able to run native in the browsers == fast.

Read on →

0.19: Empowering scripts and Alexa

This release is big. Until now, our automations and scripts have been very static. Starting today it should all be a bit more dynamic.

Scripts are now available in automations and when responding to Alexa/Amazon Echo. Both of these components will now expose data to be used in script templates (including from_state !). Passing data to script entities is available by passing the data to the script services.

    platform: mqtt
    topic: some/notify/topic
    service: notify.notify

automation 2:
    platform: state
    entity_id: light.hue
    service: notify.notify
      message:  is now 

Entity Namespaces allow you to influence the entity ids for a specific platform. For example you can turn light.living_room into light.holiday_home_living_room with the following config:

  platform: hue
  entity_namespace: holiday_home


  • Conditions in automations should now specify which condition to use with condition: instead of platform:. For example condition: state.
  • RFXtrx has a new config format.

Old RFXtrx config format:

      name: My DI.0 light device
      packetid: 1b2200000890efab1213f60

New RFXtrx config format:

      name: My DI.0 light device

iBeacons: Making presence detection work better (part I)

This post is by Home Assistant contributor Greg Dowling.

In 2013 Apple introduced iBeacons: a class of Bluetooth low energy (LE) devices that broadcast their identifier to nearby devices, including most smartphones. At first glance it’s hard to imagine why they might be useful. In this two part blog I’ll try and explain why they are useful and how you can use them with Home Assistant.

The reason I started using iBeacons was to improve presence detection (and I think that’s the case with most people) so that’s what I’ll discuss in part 1. In part 2 I’ll talk about using iBeacons to track devices that can’t track themselves.

Using beacons to improve OwnTracks location data

When you use OwnTracks in standard major move mode (which is kind to your phone battery) it sometimes fails to update when you’d like it to. In my case I found that it would often send a location update as I was on my way home, but then not update when I got home. The result would be that Home Assistant would think I was 500M away from home, and take quite a while to notice I was home. It would also mean that the automation that should turn on my lights when I got home didn’t work very well! There were a few times when my phone location updated at 2am and turned the lights on for me. Fortunately my wife is very patient!

Luckily, OwnTracks supports iBeacons so I could use them to make presence detection more reliable. When OwnTracks sees a beacon it recognizes, it will send an update. This means that if you put a beacon at your front door - OwnTracks will see it within a few seconds of you arriving home - and send an update saying it has seen this iBeacon.

Read on →

0.18: Bluetooth, LG WebOS TVs and Roombas.

It’s time for 0.18. This release cycle is 2 days shorter than usual as I’ll be traveling to Europe. This also means that it can take some more time before you get feedback on PRs.

Since the last release we have moved all Home Assistant source code etc into its own organization on GitHub. We’re growing up! This sadly did cause us to have to move all Docker images. Check the breaking changes section for more info.

Breaking changes

  • We have migrated our datetime format to be iso8601. This will only impact you if you are consuming the date times from the API directly. You can ignore this if you are just using Home Assistant via configuration and the frontend.
  • The constant TEMP_CELCIUS is now correctly called TEMP_CELSIUS. Old one is deprecated and will eventually be removed.
  • The location of the Docker image has changed. There was no possibility for us to keep maintaining the old image (as it was bound to the GitHub repo under my name) or to make a redirect. So if you are using the Home Assistant Docker image, change it to run homeassistant/home-assistant:latest for the latest release and homeassistant/home-assistant:dev for the latest dev version.
  • MySensors received two big changes that will cause you to update your configs. See component page for new example config.
    1. All MySensors entity IDs are different! There was an error in the naming that caused MySensors to append node ID and child ID instead of separating them with an underscore. This has been fixed but will cause all your MySensors entity IDs to change. This is a one time breaking change.
    2. The second change is that we now support the TCP ethernet gateway. This is causing a slight change to the config format: you have to change port: under gateways to device:.

To Infinity and Beyond 🚀

After 2.5 years I think we can proudly say: Home Assistant is a success. I write we because Home Assistant is no longer a one-person side project. It has become the side project of many people who spend countless hours on making Home Assistant the best home automation software out there. To acknowledge this we migrated the repositories from being under my name to be under our own organization on GitHub.

On our journey we’ve reached many noteworthy milestones:

  • #1 on HackerNews
  • Featured on ProductHunt
  • Trending repository on GitHub
  • 3000 stars on GitHub
  • 1.5 million page views on our website
  • Speaker at OpenIoT Summit 2016

All these accomplishments are a nice pat on the back but our journey is far from over. There are a lot of challenges ahead if we want to become the go to solution for home automation for everyone.

Until now the focus has been on making a platform that developers love to use. A platform that is simple but customizable. A platform that is both powerful and reliable. But most important: a platform that is local and open. Home Assistant does a great job at all these things.

There will be some major challenges ahead of us to target groups other than developers. Easy installation and easy configuration being the #1. I’m sure that we’ll be able to eventually achieve these goals. I can’t say yet how or when. As with everything Home Assistant, we’ll take tiny steps, gathering feedback along the way to make sure we’re solving the right problems.

I am confident that we will get there because we are set up for success: we have a robust architecture, high test coverage and an active community of world class developers and users. On top of that, we use Python which allows us to move fast and tackle complex problems in elegant ways. It is so easy to learn that it allows any programmer, experienced or not, to contribute support for devices and services. It’s as simple as filling in the blanks.

I would like to put out a big thank you to all our contributors who make Home Assistant what it is today. It doesn’t matter if it is form of code, documentation or giving support in our chat room or forums. You. all. rock.

Cheers to the future!


Updated documentation

One of the main complaints that we receive is something along the lines “I read that X is possible yet I am unable to find it on the website.”. This post is to announce that we have taken the first steps to improve it by revamping the getting started and developers sections. It’s still a work in progress but we now have a solid foundation to build on for the future 👍.

Our documentation has been going through various phases. Initially it was just the README in our GitHub repository. I discovered Jekyll and GitHub pages in December 2014 and created home-assistant.io. I more or less broke the README in 5 pages and called it a website. Back then we had a whopping 11 components!

As Home Assistant grew, so did our documentation. Fabian Affolter does an amazing job in making sure there is at least a documentation stub for each new feature that lands. And that’s quite a feat given our frequent releases! But despite all the efforts, the documentation outgrew our existing documentation organization.

Today it has been almost 1.5 years since we started the website. We now have 264 components and platforms under our belt and have been honored with 1.5 million page views ✨. And hopefully we now also have documentation that our community deserves.

Finally, if you see some content that could use more clarifcation or is outdated, don’t hesitate to use the ‘Edit in GitHub’ link that is present on each page.

0.17: Onkyo, Panasonic, GTFS and config validation

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 its 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.