Home Assistant saves my smart home from a lobotomy

So my automated home was highly dependent upon Stringify for underlying smarts. And all was good until Stringify announced it was shutting down. And my smart home was about to get a lobotomy.

I cast around for something similar to Stringify but there was nothing quite as good, and in any case I was getting increasingly wary of relying on a cloud-based solution for my home automation. And that lead me to Home Assistant.

Part of my Home Assistant dash

Home Assistant has some major pros and cons compared to Stringify, but overall it is awsome.

First the cons. Number one is that Home Assistant requires some coding knowledge and a pile of patience. It is open source and the documentation is extremely variable in quality and accuracy. On the other hand there is an active and friendly community to call upon for help.

But with the coding and the complexity comes power, real power. A few lines of code allows you to string multiple sensors and entities together in amazing ways. One press of a button, or change in a senor, or verbal instruction, can unleash a cascade of reactions in your house. This is real granular control, limited mostly by what you are willing and capable of coding.

Of course being open source also means that Home Assistant is free.

The other good thing is that Home Assistant runs on a Raspberry Pi (or some other platforms) inside your network – so no more being dependent upon a third-party in the cloud. In a worst case, say if the community gets bored with supporting it, what I have today could run pretty much forever.

And the final good thing… it looks fantastic. The native dashboard interface in not bad at all and quite configurable. Add in TileBoard as your interface and you get a stunning dashboard completely configurable in HTML, Javascript and CSS.

Thus far I haven’t found any gotcha’s in the move from Stringify to Home Assistant. All I have found are positives. But I relish doing a bit of coding and figuring things out. If you don’t have the time or the willingness to fiddle at a fairly granular level, Home Assistant isn’t going to be your solution. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a viable mid-level solution between the binary simplicity of IFTTT and the depth of Home Assistant.

However, if you’re looking for the ultimate home automation hub right now, that has to be Home Assistant.

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