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Indigo 6 Beta 1 Released


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#1 Jay Martin

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:18 PM

Indigo 6 beta 1

We're extremely pleased to announce the immediate availability of Indigo 6 beta 1. Indigo 6 has been in the works for quite a long time and we're very happy to finally be able to ship the beta. We know that you'll be as excited as we are about it. Read on to find out the details.

A little history

Before we talk about new stuff, a little history: in 2003, we introduced Indigo 1.0, which supported the most popular do-it-yourself home automation technology of the time: X10. As we all know, X10 is less than perfect in terms of reliability and many of you were less than enthusiastic about trying to use it. In 2006, we introduced support for the new INSTEON technology. INSTEON promised to improve many of the shortfalls of X10 and in many respects did so. Over the next few years, we hardened our support for INSTEON so that we're one of the few products on the market that supports most of the INSTEON feature set (remote linking, remote configuration, automatic link replacement on devices and controllers, etc).

Unfortunately, our friends outside of North America couldn't really benefit from the increased reliability of INSTEON since it was not available in those markets. We have been evaluating various technologies (Z-Wave, Zigbee, KNX, CeBUS, etc.) while at the same time hoping INSTEON would become available globally. In the meantime, we started work on Indigo 5. We made significant changes that would allow 3rd parties (and us) to create plugins which would allow rapidly extending Indigo to support new hardware and provide additional functionality. This has worked out extremely well: thanks to some of our talented Indigo users we now have over 40 3rd party plugins available that offer a wide range of hardware support, integration features, and new functionality.

About a year ago, after we were satisfied that Indigo 5 was quite solid, we began working on some more changes in anticipation of adding a 3rd major home automation technology to Indigo. This required a rethink to several aspects of Indigo. We also wanted plugins to feel less bolted-on and more directly integrated into the Indigo UI. At this time, we also made the decision of which new technology we were going to support: Z-Wave.

Z-Wave

Z-Wave is a wireless (Radio Frequency) home automation technology. It meets all the requirements that we had laid out for our evaluation (in no particular order):
  • It's available internationally - we really needed a technology that would allow us to expand globally.
  • It's available in North America as well - we want to expand the breadth of supported hardware globally.
  • It's wireless. After many years of fighting with power line signal noise, we felt very strongly that we needed to support a technology that was RF-based. We're quite sure that we'll find issues that are somewhat synonymous to power line signal noise, but at the very least they'll be different problems. Some homes will work better with RF technologies (lots of power line gremlins), whereas others may work better with power line technologies.
  • There is a wide variety of modules available: switches, plug-in modules, thermostats, sensors of various types, LOCKS, etc. (lots of you have been asking about locks).
  • There is a variety of vendors making the modules - you'll have many options from which to choose based on the features you desire.
  • It's available - the hardware is readily available to consumers (not just professionals).
  • It's reliable.
  • It's affordable.
So, the focus of Indigo 6 beta 1 is support for Z-Wave. We've done much of the plumbing necessary to get Z-Wave working in Indigo, so during the beta period we'll be working on adding additional device support and features. So, along those lines, here's a list of what's currently working in beta 1:
  • The tested and supported Z-Wave interface for Indigo 6 is the Aeotec Z-Stick Series 2. Like the other technologies that we support, you need an interface that plugs into your Mac that allows Indigo to communicate with the device network. We think the Z-Stick offers the best functionality for the price. Other interfaces may work (they generally use the same/similar serial API) but we're only officially supporting the Z-Stick at this time. It's also widely available internationally: UK, Mainland Europe, Australia/New Zealand.
  • Dimmer and relay devices - these are the typical switches and plug-in modules (wall-warts). Relay devices only support ON/OFF and are used to control non-dimmable loads like coffee makers, fluorescent fixtures, low-power transformers, etc. Dimmers should only be used to control dimmable loads (incandescent bulbs, dimmable LED and CFL bulbs, etc.). We've tested a limited quantity of these types of devices, but the Z-Wave API basic control should work across different manufactures and models.
  • Sensors - devices that will detect some condition and report it. We've tested door/window sensors (contact closure) currently, and will be adding support for some motion sensors, multi-sensors, leak sensors, and temperature sensors very soon.
  • Associations - this is one of the features of Z-Wave that allow devices to more directly control other devices. If a device supports associations, then Indigo can help you manage them.
  • Network Healing - Indigo supports network healing (fixing routing tables) to devices during the define/sync process. A more global network healing feature will be added soon.
We are hard at work adding additional Z-Wave capabilities. During the Indigo 6 beta cycle we hope to add:
  • Thermostats - supporting thermostats is very high on our list.
  • Energy monitors - there are a lot of these available, and we plan to support whole home energy monitoring.
  • More network healing - we'll be looking at ways to improve optimizing the Z-Wave network automatically.
  • Scenes - scenes are in some respects similar to associations so we hope to add the ability to manage them directly from Indigo.
  • Device Configuration - just like with other home automation technologies, Z-Wave devices can present their own custom options (changing how buttons work, turning on/off features, setting ramp rates, etc.). These configuration settings are specific to each device model. We'll be looking at ways to allow you to set these special features.
  • Locks - we know a lot of people are interested in adding locks to their home automation system. The downside is that adding locks is quite complicated so it may take more time.
We can't yet guarantee that we'll support all of the above by the final release of Indigo 6, but we're confident we can get much of the above list done. And after we finish Indigo 6 we will continue to improve Z-Wave support in free minor releases. This process is very similar to how we rolled out INSTEON support (if not somewhat accelerated). And because of the quantity of available devices, we'll be needing your help to get as many devices working as possible - it's a joint effort from our entire community!

Some of you may be asking yourself: I have a big investment in INSTEON - what does this mean for me? Nothing. We'll continue to support INSTEON as we have in the past - we'll add new devices that make sense for our customers (we're supporting the new INSTEON Leak Sensor in this release and are working on others) and continue to support it as we have before. In fact, we think many of you will find that a combination of the two technologies may well suit your needs even better. For instance, we've yet to find a Z-Wave sprinkler controller that parallels the EZFlora and the INSTEON switches and keypads are high quality and very thin (so easy to install). On the other hand, Z-Wave has some interesting and reliable sensor modules, and several modules report energy usage and temperature. Because you use Indigo as your home automation hub, you can have both technologies installed and running in a single integrated fashion. And with some of the other features of Indigo 6 that we discuss below, we're building even more tools to help make integrating between technologies even easier.

Check out the Getting Started guide to see how to connect the Z-Stick to Indigo and the Managing Your Z-Wave Network guide for details on setting up your Z-Wave network. Over the next several weeks these documents will be updated with more information.

But wait, there's more!

Of course Z-Wave isn't the only new feature in Indigo 6. We have a bunch of other changes that we think you'll be excited about:
  • Basic INSTEON Leak Sensor support is included.
  • INSTEON FanLinc now has improved UI.
  • New contextual menu for Devices, Triggers, Schedules, Action Groups, and Variables to Show Dependencies (double-click to edit the dependents).
  • New deletion warning dialog for Devices, Triggers, Schedules, Action Groups, and Variables which shows all dependent objects (double-click to edit the dependents).
  • (Pro Only) New Plugin: Timers and Pesters - This plugin adds a new "Timer" device type works like a kitchen timer. You can set how long the timer runs, pause, continue, reset, etc. You can trigger off of changes to the timer status and show how much time is left on a control page. It's a very useful new object type when a Schedule is not quite what you are after.
  • (Pro Only) New Plugin: Device Collection - This plugin exposes two new device types: Device Groups, which will track a group of devices and allow you to easily record their current settings to use later, and Pseudo On/Off Devices, which allow users to easily create custom devices without having to build a full plugin.
  • The Action selection UI is now a hierarchical menu with several groupings for more easily finding actions.
  • Condition Editor now supports contains and does not contain comparisons in device states and variable values.
  • Condition Editor UI performance has been improved.
  • (Pro Only) Control Page Editor now has page size presets for iPhones and iPads, portrait and landscape, both for normal and retina displays.
  • Action delays are now be specified in hours, minutes, and seconds using the standard time UI control. No longer do you have to specify seconds as hundredths of a minute!
  • The description field in the Device, Trigger, Schedule and Action Group dialogs is now titled Notes and is displayed with multiple lines. You can now enter much longer and more descriptive information.
  • (Pro Only) Plugin Improvements:
  • INSTEON Commands plugin has been directly integrated into the various Insteon menus and is no longer a separate plugin.
  • WeatherSnoop plugin now has new leaf and soil sensor data.
  • Action Collection now has a Email Log... menu item so you can interactively email the log - useful for support requests.
  • Action Collection now has a new Toggle Variable action (in the Variable Actions group) that will toggle a variable value between 2 values.
  • Airfoil plugin has two new actions: Connect All Speakers and Disconnect All Speakers
  • All plugins are now more integrated into the UI. Selecting plugin devices, triggers, and actions is now much easier with more direct integration into the UI, and you can now manage your plugins directly from the preferences window.
  • Plugins can now add menu items that can run actions interactively, including actions that target devices.
  • Plugin configuration dialog boxes that collect passwords can now be configured by the developer to only show bullets (•) to avoid exposing passwords in the UI.
Purchasing and OS Requirements

As with the Indigo 5 beta, every purchase from MacHomeStore (for new customers or upgrades) beginning immediately will be for Indigo 6. While we believe it's extremely stable and usable, we understand that some folks who just purchased Indigo for the first time may prefer running the latest Indigo 5.1 release until Indigo 6 is out of beta. Therefore, after purchasing Indigo 6 we include information in the registration email on how to retrieve a Indigo 5.1 registration code (at no additonal charge).

We are also extending our free trial period to 45 days. This will allow users to try the beta while waiting to purchase until the final version is shipping.

IMPORTANT: Indigo 6 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard) or better. Any Mac hardware that's officially supported by Mac OS X 10.5.8 is supported. These are the same requirements as Indigo 5.

IMPORTANT: This version is only compatible with Indigo Touch 1.7 or higher. This is the same requirement as Indigo 5.

Notes about Trials

As with Indigo 5, we are only offering a Pro trial; no Lite trial. However, while the trial is active, you'll notice PRO icons in various places in the UI. These indicate a feature that is Pro-only, so plan accordingly. If you use Pro features during the trial, then decide to purchase Lite, everything will remain saved in your database even -- those settings that use Pro-only features. However, they will not be active. Devices that aren't supported in Lite will be disabled as will triggers and any plugin devices and triggers. Action Groups will continue to execute, but any actions that are Pro-only (including plugin actions) will be skipped. Schedule actions that have advanced scheduling options will not fire. Also, when using a Lite installation that has Pro features in the database, you'll see those items in red text so you can more easily decide what to do with them.

Beta Notes

This is a beta, so you may run across a bug or two: we work very hard to make sure our software is always stable and usable, but we need your help. If you run across a bug, please post it to this forum. A few things to remember when reporting a bug:

  • Describe the issue very thoroughly. Don't just say, for instance, "an action group doesn't work": please add as much detail about the issue as possible.
  • List the steps to reproduce. It's extremely important that you outline, with as exact detail as you can, HOW you trigger the bug.
  • Let us know if there is a workaround for the bug that you've found (if needed). Workarounds sometimes help provide clues to the problem itself.
  • Include your hardware setup: Mac, OS version, interface(s), devices, and any relevant Indigo bits (triggers, actions, variables, etc). If errors are showing up in the log, include them in the post.
  • Don't forget to include the beta version you're using.
Known Issues
  • None yet!
We appreciate your feedback and hope you enjoy using the new and improved Indigo 6!

Matt & Jay

Edited by Jay Martin, 13 November 2012 - 09:04 PM.


#2 roussell

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:52 PM

Congratulations on the milestone Jay and Matt, great work on an awesome product! Your support and attention to Indigo and it's community constantly surprises me.

Terry




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