[Update ] Check out our Indigo Review here.
Perceptive Automation have announced the next major release of their Mac Home Automation software – Indigo v5.0. The OSX application forms the centre of a sophisticated whole-house control system. Of note in the new release is the addition of a plugin architecture allowing anyone to implement a connection to the software using Python. A new “Condition Editor” (see screen shot below) allows users to easily build complex rule based macros in a similar way to creating a smart play list in iTunes.
New with this release is a Python-based Plugin API. This API gives 3rd Party developers the ability to add native device types, trigger events, and actions which are fully integrated into the Indigo User Interface and server. Indigo is the first Mac home automation software to provide developers with a clearly documented and thorough plugin mechanism. Plugins are implemented in the popular Python programming language and are sandboxed to help ensure that no single plugin can interfere with the operation of the server.
“With the new API, Indigo Pro users will have access to a much wider range of devices and data integrations without the need for us to release a new version of Indigo for each new technology,” said Matt Bendiksen, president of Perceptive Automation. “Development of new features has accelerated significantly through new functionality added by 3rd party developers. Internally we can also deliver functionality much more quickly given that we can deliver plugins outside of a full Indigo release.” Indigo 5 includes several plugins, such as:
- Support for EasyDAQ relay devices
- Native support for iTunes which allows Indigo to control any number of iTunes servers
- Weather data integration via NOAA and the popular WeatherSnoop application, providing support for personal weather station hardware as well as WeatherUnderground
- Control of DIRECTV DVRs via simple Indigo actions
There are several 3rd party plugins available as well which cover integrations like the Global Caché infrared and relay devices, various alarm systems and other security-related products, energy monitoring systems, thermostats, and smartphone based location and proximity detection.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working on AppleScripts to control the Jandy Aqualink automated pool/spa system, but always had to troubleshoot problems others had, especially with setting up the scripts, that I hoped might be cured with the new plugin architecture,” said Jim Yergey, Research Manager at Merck & Company. “In a span of a month or so I learned Python programming and was able to develop functional plugins to control both the Jandy and Pentair pool systems. Great plugin foundation, great documentation online, and great help on the discussion boards!”
Indigo 5 also includes a new condition editor for creating arbitrarily complex hierarchical rules using a simple and intuitive Mac OS user interface. Rules can include device state value comparisons, date and time ranges, and variable to variable comparisons in addition to daylight/dark and traditional variable comparisons.
Along with the new Plugin API, a new Python-based scripting environment has also been added. Scripts can now be written in either AppleScript or Python. “The new Python Indigo object model enables users to write scripts that can take advantage of the wealth of publicly available Python libraries while retaining complete access to objects on the Indigo server,” said Jay Martin, a partner at Perceptive Automation. “Adding a more popular scripting environment to Indigo will lead to more complete and diverse solutions by drawing on the active Python development community.”
Indigo 5 also introduces several new usability features: keyboard shortcuts that are context sensitive to what’s being displayed; user customizable columns in all UI tables, context-sensitive menus on all major objects, and an expanded and revised Help menu. Additional help buttons are spread throughout the UI to help guide users through the various features. Drag-and-drop and copy/paste have been implemented in the Control Page Editor to enable moving elements from one control page to another and to facilitate import/export.
Other new functionality includes support for video cameras via auto-refreshing images on control pages, improved INSTEON KeypadLinc button LED management, native actions to remove delayed actions, and the ability to enable/disable communication on a per-device basis. Support for new INSTEON hardware modules includes: iMeter Solo, v2 Thermostat Adaptor with support for new broadcast messages, and compatibility with new firmware updates on several other devices.
Pricing and Availability – Indigo 5 Pro is available now for $179.95 and Indigo 5 Lite for $89.95, both through the Perceptive Automation website. Owners of previous versions of Indigo can get an upgrade discount to Indigo 5. Also available online is a 30 day trial copy of Indigo 5 Pro. Indigo runs on Mac OS X 10.5 or greater.”