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Interesting new bindings in tow

openHAB 2.1 is here

Kai Kreuzer
openHAB 2.1

© Shutterstock / kenary820

In this post, Kai Kreuzer, founder of openHAB.org and Project Lead of Eclipse SmartHome, reveals what’s under the hood of the newly-released openHAB 2.1.

A few months have passed since the initial openHAB 2 release and the community has been incredibly active meanwhile. It is, therefore, time to push out a new stable release, so here it is: openHAB 2.1!

You can go through the official Release Notes to get a detailed idea of what is in this release, but as usual, I will mention some of my personal highlights.

New device integrations

First of all, there are of course again very interesting new bindings available. Just right for the season, we have now support for two connected lawn mowers through the Gardena binding and the Bosch Indego binding. Finally you can tell Alexa to mow your lawn!

Looking at more widespread use cases, there are some good news for all connected light fans: There is not only support for all the new products from LIFX like the LED strips or the LIFX+, which comes with an extra infrared channel to light up rooms for IP cameras, while they still appear dark for humans. Much more important for the mainstream is the support for the brand new IKEA Trådfri system, which will for sure quickly gain a significant marketshare with prices of less than 10€ for a dimmable bulb.

IKEA Trådfri and LIFX+

Talking about affordable home automation hardware, a very popular example is the Chinese Xiaomi Mi Smart Home product suite which ranges from wall buttons. temperature sensors and plugs to curtains, human body sensors, and smart cubes – all of which are now covered by openHAB as well.

There are further interesting integrations, which are not directly smart home related: Think of things like Folding@home through which you can use your computer as electric heating while helping to fight diseases – a pretty cool thing to do for everyone who heats electrically anyhow. Another example is the traffic-related integrations of OneBusAway for live information of public transport and Tankerkönig for the fuel prices of nearby gas stations.

Last but not least, I am happy that we eventually also have an initial version of a ZigBee binding through which it is already possible to access Philips Hue lights without requiring a Hue bridge and to use plugs from SmartThings with openHAB – many more devices to come!

SEE ALSO: openHAB 2 has arrived

Eclipse IoT Marketplace

For everyone who is longing for even more integrations than the official openHAB distro can offer, the new Eclipse IoT Marketplace integration comes in handy: The Eclipse Marketplace provides a catalog of add-ons from third parties, which can be browsed and installed easily – there might be many reasons for add-ons not being part of the official distro: Closed source, incompatible licenses, alpha versions, etc. The Eclipse IoT Marketplace is a wonderful service to make them visible to our users and to have a central place where everybody can publish add-ons easily.

Third Party Add-ons from the Eclipse IoT Marketplace

System administration

Many improvements are available for the overall system administration. We not only released a new version of the hassle-free installer openHABian for the Raspberry Pi and PINE A64 that provides many new options for tweaking the system setup. It certainly also offers the option to smoothly upgrade a 2.0 installation to the new 2.1 release (using the APT upgrade mechanism, which is also available to all other Linux setups).

For the first time we now also offer upgrade scripts for manual installations, which should make the upgrade process pretty straight-forward.

Another cool new project is the openHAB Extension for Visual Studio Code. This is a viable alternative for editing configuration files to the Designer or plain text editors. The VS Code extension supports syntax highlighting for all openHAB configuration files, code snippets, documentation search integration and a live preview using the Basic UI.

VS Code Extension with Live Preview in Basic UI

This is just the start and the development of this extension is very active – so expect many more cool features to become available soon!

Summary & Outlook

I would recommend browsing the release notes in detail in order to find out many more interesting changes. Also note that there are many more contributions in the pipeline, which did not make it into the release, but will appear soon in the nightly development snapshots. To account for the fact that we see a growing number of contributions, we plan to increase the release frequency in future and thus we put efforts into automating the release process. As always, please remember that openHAB is a project that is run by volunteers – so every help is welcome and highly appreciated! A very simple first step could be to give us a like at alternativeTo – thanks!

This post was originally published on Kai Kreuzer’s personal website.

Author
Kai Kreuzer
Kai Kreuzer is a Java Software Architect and Home Automation Professional. He is also the founder of openHAB.org and Project Lead of Eclipse SmartHome. Find him on Twitter: @kaikreuzer