Moving to indigo

Posted on
Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:53 pm
Chameleon offline
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Moving to indigo

I thought I'd spend a little time telling potential users my experiences moving to Indigo. I'd used Fibaro HCL for about 6 months and I was impressed by the advertising and the design of what they could do. The graphics were great and it looked the business. It wasn't cheap but you get what you pay for I guessed. But I had trouble with the software, dead nodes and non-existent or at best really limited support. I was also quickly unimpressed with the device coverage and the limitations of the HCL (no language support) so I became frustrated. Clearly from the forums I wasn't the only one.

I decided to look around and was overwhelmed with the choices (I'm easily confused). Indigo was mentioned on the Fibaro forum by a user called Shapa (he's also on Indigo now) and I decided it was worth testing along with a couple of others. Given my experiences I had support, coverage and reliability high on my list and to be frank I didn't expect Indigo to score well. How could two guys based somewhere "over the pond" build, support, market and deliver great customer service to me in the UK? But hey, I decided I give all of the solutions a fair crack of the whip and started with Indigo.

Well that's where my trial started and finished. I migrated all of my units (about 50) from Fibaro to my second hand Mac Mini (£128 on ebay) with z-stick in about an hour. Most of that time was spent pairing the fibaro door/window sensors which are impossible even on Fibaro's system and the Fibaro Smoke Alarms. I was a bit confused by the LED controller but I kind of got an idea of how it might work. I then started to "programme" all of the scenes I'd created over the last 6 months. Wow, that took me about 30 mins. The triggers, scheduler and conditional action groups meant that I didn't need to programme anything. Just a little logic but that's all.

As it had been all too easy, there must be a catch I thought, I decided to enter the world of programming and started with Applescript. The Indigo IOM is simple to understand, there are lots of examples and plenty of support. How Matt and Jay build the system and provide such rapid responses I've no idea but I'm very grateful for their efforts. Within a day I'd written my first scripts - LED Controller (using a mouse and sliders) and Extracting data from the Southwest Trains site as alarm triggers. I decided to learn python, a great choice by the way as it only took a couple of weeks, and I've now developed some programmes using 2.5 now.

Between the dedication of the authors, the really helpful & fun forum and the coverage where Fibaro devices are better controller in Indigo with many more devices Indigo met all of my criteria and I just didn't need to look anywhere else.

Cons:
- Fibaro Smoke Sensors were even harder to include after 6.0.20 - in fact they were really c**p - what was changed? I've got them working now tho
- I had to build my own control pages (but as you'll see that's a Pro as well because it's so flexible)
- I wish I could include more folders for variables. They're the heart of indigo but only one layer of folders means I'm constantly searching for that variable I need
- Triggers would be simpler if they could have multiple trigger conditions (I know we have conditional operation but that doesn't work for me). I can programme more complex workflows tho
- Apple only (I'm really a Windows guy)
- Indigoplot and SQL server go crazy once in a while and I have to delete and restore them from scratch
- No app for Windows Phones (but I prefer my web/indigo control pages anyway). I guess if I want one I should write a plugin
- Nest plugin can be well … flaky at times but does the job
- Wish I'd started on Indigo :-)

Pros:
- Great development team (no idea how they do it)
- Reliable and consistent experience (nothing is broken from release to release)
- Helpful forums
- Easy migration (and I really mean that - two days and it's all complete and completely reliable except for one glitch in 8 months)
- Great plugins
- Supports all devices - and if it doesn't the team will include as soon as they can
- I was able to build my control pages in a way that made sense to me and my family (my greatest critics). I wish I could make them even more dynamic (e.g. display this text if this scenario or that text if this other scenario) without java or html programming (as I'm not learning that!)
- Has been a great example of how to develop solutions. As a job I'm a trouble shooting project manager for IS disasters. Everything I've seen shows me how professional they are

Am I being paid for this review? I wish. But actually I'll say that I'm being paid through the reduction in time I'm spending "sorting things out" and getting great value from my devices. I'm looking forward to the next 12 months.

Thanks Matt & Jay you rock :-)

Posted on
Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:34 pm
Korey offline
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Re: Moving to indigo

Chameleon wrote:
Thanks Matt & Jay you rock :-)


+1000000

--
Korey

Posted on
Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:59 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Moving to indigo

Great insights and kind words, thanks much. Just to comment on the Cons list:

- Fibaro Smoke Sensors were even harder to include after 6.0.20 - in fact they were really c**p - what was changed? I've got them working now tho


Don't know - maybe Matt can address that.

- I had to build my own control pages (but as you'll see that's a Pro as well because it's so flexible)


Versus who building them for you?

- I wish I could include more folders for variables. They're the heart of indigo but only one layer of folders means I'm constantly searching for that variable I need


Variables are certainly one tool, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they're the heart (they're actually the second least used major feature). We've had a lot of comments about folders in all areas and we'll continue to look at those as the product advances.

- Triggers would be simpler if they could have multiple trigger conditions (I know we have conditional operation but that doesn't work for me). I can programme more complex workflows tho


Actually, triggers would be significantly more complex if you added multiple events to cause a trigger to fire. The UI would be more complex and trying to understand why a trigger fired would be more complex. That's not to say that it's something we wouldn't do (and it's been requested before) but rather just to point out that it would increase complexity, not simplify.

- Apple only (I'm really a Windows guy)


Heh - sorry, we won't be doing a Windows version...

- Indigoplot and SQL server go crazy once in a while and I have to delete and restore them from scratch


Have you talked to the developer of that plugin about the issue?

- No app for Windows Phones (but I prefer my web/indigo control pages anyway). I guess if I want one I should write a plugin


You can always use the web pages on any platform - they should render fine on the various browsers including any custom control pages.

- Nest plugin can be well … flaky at times but does the job


Yep - the implementation of that 3rd party plugin predates the Nest API I believe (I don't really know anything about it). We really would like to do an official Nest plugin someday.

- Wish I'd started on Indigo


At least you saw the error of your ways! :)

Thanks again for the very kind words.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:37 pm
Seeker offline
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Re: Moving to indigo

Chameleon wrote:
- Triggers would be simpler if they could have multiple trigger conditions (I know we have conditional operation but that doesn't work for me). I can programme more complex workflows tho


I find it really simple and uncluttered to simply COPY a trigger action and change the inputs. Heck of a lot easier than other systems I've used.

Posted on
Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:54 am
Chameleon offline
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Joined: Oct 04, 2014

Re: Moving to indigo

Hi Jay - My comment about control pages was that I'd come from the Fibaro stable so they already had a fix control page format on iPad, Web and iPhone (and to be fair a cool looking one) so as a noob I didn't have to do anything. I know you're already working on a new version of Indigo Touch and I'm sure that'll be cool too :). I thought that was a problem until I actually started to build my own and then realised how flexible indigo is even if I have to put in the effort and ultimately it's a better use case solution.

Fair point on the triggers and I've implemented solutions in exactly the way that Seeker suggests and they're easy to create but a little less easy for me to maintain. Anyway I've started replacing more complex use cases with Python now that just works so well with the IOM - and it's more fun.

SQLogger and Indigoplot work well enough - you're right I should contact the developers direct to get their help never through of that. I'm too self-independent when I'm coding and I forgot the one place who probably have the answer - Doh :)

I'd love to do a plugin for Nest using their API (and I actually started developing one) but I always hit the same issue that Python 2.5 doesn't like ssl sites and returns a SLL23 get_server_hello alert handshake failure I know its a known Python 2.5 issue with ssl pages and protocols and others have solved it but for the life of me despite searching on the web I couldn't find a solution. It impacts my other developments whenever I try to access a secure site using python 2.5. I don't want to use a later version of python as too many users wouldn't be able to port the code. If you, or anyone else, has any idea what I need to do to resolve this run error then I'd be really grateful - I should have asked for that help earlier shouldn't I? I'll post it in the right forum now :-)

Anyway thanks for your response and just in case I confused any potential user - "Don't waste your time - just adopt Indigo - like an Apple product it just works"

Posted on
Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:42 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Moving to indigo

Out of curiosity, from a functional perspective what does the Fibaro's built-in control UI have that's not available in the Devices, Actions, and Variables tabs in Indigo Touch?

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:58 am
Chameleon offline
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Re: Moving to indigo

Nothing really except for the fact I need to operate in a Windows Phone eco system at the moment so Indigo Touch doesn't work for me there. I use an iPhone and iPod touches in the house but the kids will often want to access the HA system via their own phones. I've discovered that what renders well in Indigo Touch doesn't render the same in Windows or Safari. Not sure why. It's a minor irritation to say the most but I have to have two versions of most control pages to manage the two use cases. Functionally I guess the Indigo Tabs are the same as the control pages but aesthetically I'd say poles apart. It really is a minor issue - unlike the SSL23 Handshake errors that really driving me around the bend :?
Attachments
Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 17.48.17.png
Disparity between control page drawing and rendering in safari (and IE)
Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 17.48.17.png (500.9 KiB) Viewed 6027 times

Posted on
Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:46 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Moving to indigo

Try restarting the server, then select a different image then reselect the original image. That type of offset problem can be caused by an out of date image cache.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:33 am
durosity offline
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Re: Moving to indigo

jay (support) wrote:
Try restarting the server, then select a different image then reselect the original image. That type of offset problem can be caused by an out of date image cache.


Just another wishlist item to add to that ever expanding list.. it'd be lovely if there was a button on the control page editor to refresh all images rather than just the background image that it can do now. I've often wanted to replace an existing image with a new one using the same name (but the new image might be a slightly different size) and get the system to update it but it's such a pain to do!

Computer says no.

Posted on
Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:05 am
Chameleon158 offline
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UPDATE: Moving to indigo

Just a quick update to mention a few great developments.

    Indigo 6.1 has gone live with some great improvements and extra functionality
    Indigo Touch 2.0 solves the pretty interface question I mentioned - it now works great "out of the box" and control pages are now extremely powerful and easy to develop using the in-house editor
    Updates in Indigo 6.1 means that secure websites can be interrogated
    At Matt & Jay's suggestion I've been working on a multiple NESTs plugin for thermostats & protects that's scheduled for release soon

Don't think I had any other observations :o

Thanks to Matt/Jay for building such a great HA solution :P

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