Home Assistant – What is it & Why You Should Care?

Home Assistant is a fantastic tool for automating your life! We use it in our house to automate everything from our lights in every room right up to our home security system. 3 min

home assistant logo

Home assistant is a highly customisable system which allows Stevie & I to control the whole thing both at home and away using DDNS. We have set-up Home Assistant to connect with AppDaemon’s HADashboard which we log into via web connection on tablets dotted around the house.

Below is an example of one of the AppDaemon HADashboards we have in the house, these do use a completely unique method of programming which does require you to read & pay attention to, failing to do so WILL result in hours of frustration. The below is a screenshot taken from a web browser but on the tablet, it is set to boot into Kiosk mode & show only this interface.

SteJay HomeDash Bedroom Panel
BedDash By SteJay – this is our bedroom home control centre, this panel is on a tablet in the bedroom on the wall, beside the bed, I use it to control many aspects of the house, it even has some buttons which play announcements around the house!

 The entire system runs on a tiny Raspberry Pi which is concealed within our house for an added level of physical security (to protect it for the purposes of use as our security system).

The Home Assistant ecosystem is based on linux and can be written directly to a micro SD using Etcher or another ISO writer. I personally use Etcher because it is the only SD writer which I have found that works properly on MacOS 100% of the time. Many of the others I have used, I have found to be sketchy at best or to not work at all. 

We originally had a set of articles on the SteJay site before we moved web hosts about Home Assistant and home automation but unfortunately, these where lost in the transition. The plan is to have a new series of articles here with some of our creations, including our NODE MCU based multi sensor – which was created based on the guidance provided by Bruh Automation, An introduction to Home Assistant and its features & focuses on many of the plethora of features and functions we make use of in our home & many we plan to use in the future. 

Because the Home Assistant platform is so powerful, in my view and many others, it is by far, the leader of the open source home automation market at the moment and has been for quite some time. 

The Home Assistant environment relies heavily on the programming Language YAML. Which describes itself as the “human friendly data serialisation standard for all programming languages.” In truth, it takes a little bit of getting used too but once you understand the key flaws of it, you’ll be away and running with it in no time! 
The major thing to remember is that indentation, spacing and use of certain punctuation is super important! If you put too bigger or too smaller indentation on one line of the code which can cascade for several 100 lines, you will become frustrated, unless you use a great Text Editor like me! 

Image result for brackets text editor

Introducing Brackets!
Brackets is an Open Source (See the theme here?) software which seems to be able to edit almost any programming language (I am yet to find one it doesn’t understand the formatting of)! I use it for editing everything from YAML files for our Home Assistant implementation to editing the PHP templates for this website. Brackets is a crisp, clean interface which works on both Mac & PC, it allows for live editing of documents, showing the impact of each change (This is intended more for web development), it is super lightweight, features a crisp & easy to get used to interface & best of all, colour marks your code blocks, gives you line information and understands the indentation formatting which is needed for YAML to be written. I 100% recommend Brackets as your next text editor & am confident, you’ll never look back! 

Like it? Share with your friends!


What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
confused confused
fail fail
fun fun
geeky geeky
love love
lol lol
omg omg
win win


%d bloggers like this: