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Modular, event-driven home automation library
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package.json Added additional documentation Sep 11, 2012


Modular, event-driven home automation library



Install using NPM

npm install automation

API Overview


node-automation is an event-driven, modular library designed to help developers and hobbyists build customized home automation solutions.

node-automation is built upon the idea that every device has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • the ability to receive and execute commands
  • the ability to emit a signal when a particular event occurs
  • and, the ability to respond to queries that inquire about its state

That is, any device (whether it be a physical device or a device implemented in software) can be sent a command to perform an action, can emit signals when an event occurs, or can communicate information about its current state.

Consider a temperature sensor, for example. A temperature sensor would likely not respond to commands, but rather, it would have the ability to respond to state queries. Or, perhaps, the sensor would emit temperature information once every 200 milliseconds. A more sophisticated temperature sensor might also have the ability to receive commands that configure it.


The purpose of some devices is to bridge communication between other "sub-devices." For example, the X10 CM11A is a device that attaches to a computer's RS-232 serial port and allows the computer to interface with other X10 devices over the power line (like appliance modules or lamp modules). When "bridging" devices like the CM11A are used, it is possible to use the sub-devices associated with that particular device.

Autumn8 Programming Language

When a device emits an event, any corresponding event handlers will be executed, as one might expect. In node-automation, one can program event handlers using JavaScript, or they can build event handlers using the Autumn8 (pronouned aw-tuh-meyt) programming language. Autumn8 is a very simple programming language that allows one to define event handlers, conditions under which the event handlers will be triggered, and the commands that will be sent to various devices. The purpose of Autumn8 is to provide a simple, cross-platform, independent language for defining the behavior of automation routines. In addition, *.otom8 files can be used to quickly configure node-automation servers.

An example Autumn8 file is shown below. This file defines an X10 CM11A module, which is a physical device connected to the computer's serial port, and it defines a PandoraMusicPlayer device, a third-party device implemented entirely in software. Notice how the inner-workings of each device is hidden from the user.

//Define a CM11A device connected to a USB-to-RS-232 port
Device `x10` CM11A("/dev/ttyUSB0") {
    /* Within the scope of CM11A, we can define its Sub-devices
        like an ApplicanceModule or LampModule.
    Device `stereo` ApplianceModule("A2") {
        Event "on" {
            //Allow A2 on to also allow the user to skip a song
        Event "off" {
        Event "dim" {
        Event "bright" {
/* The following line looks in /use/lib/node_modules/automation-pandora
    for the code that exposes the PandoraMusicPlayer node-automation device.
Device `pandora` automation-pandora/PandoraMusicPlayer("username", "pass") {}
Device `volume` automation-alsa/ALSAVolumeControl() {}

Built-in devices:

node-automation ships with built-in support for the following devices:

Built-in Physical Devices and Sub-devices:

  • X10 CM11A (CM17A might work)
    • Appliance Module (AM486, SR227 and similar devices)
    • Lamp Module (LM465 and similar devices)
    • MS16A ActiveEye Motion Sensor

Built-in Software Devices:

  • Pianobar interface (to stream music from Pandora in Linux)
  • ALSA Mixer controller (to change volume and other sound settings in Linux)
  • Bluetooth Device Proximity Sensor (to detect how far away a particular Bluetooth device is; works only in Linux)
  • Timer (emits an event after a fixed amount of time has passed)
  • Scheduler (emits events at regular time intervals)
    • Also emits sunrise/sunset events and dawn/dusk events (based on the definition of civil twilight)
    • Special thanks to node-schedule for making this an easy-add
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