HomeKit support for the impatient
JavaScript
Latest commit efda0fa Jan 13, 2017 @maplesteve maplesteve committed with KhaosT Added serverVersion to API; bumped API version to 2.2 (#1064)
* Added serverVersion to API; bumped API version to 2.1.1

* Fixed version number to 2.2

README.md

Slack Status

Homebridge

Homebridge is a lightweight NodeJS server you can run on your home network that emulates the iOS HomeKit API. It supports Plugins, which are community-contributed modules that provide a basic bridge from HomeKit to various 3rd-party APIs provided by manufacturers of "smart home" devices.

Since Siri supports devices added through HomeKit, this means that with Homebridge you can ask Siri to control devices that don't have any support for HomeKit at all. For instance, using just some of the available plugins, you can say:

  • Siri, unlock the back door. [pictured above]
  • Siri, open the garage door.
  • Siri, turn on the coffee maker.
  • Siri, turn on the living room lights.
  • Siri, good morning!

You can explore all available plugins at the NPM website by searching for the keyword homebridge-plugin.

Community

If you're having an issue with a particular plugin, open an issue in that plugin's Github repository. If you're having an issue with Homebridge itself, feel free to open issues and PRs here.

You can also chat with us in our nascent Slack instance.

Installation

Note: If you're running on Linux, you'll need to make sure you have the libavahi-compat-libdnssd-dev package installed. If you're running on a Raspberry Pi, you should have a look at the Wiki.

Homebridge is published through NPM and should be installed "globally" by typing:

sudo npm install -g --unsafe-perm homebridge

You may need to use the --unsafe-perm flag if you receive an error similar to this:

gyp WARN EACCES user "root" does not have permission to access the dev dir "/root/.node-gyp/5.5.0"

Now you should be able to run Homebridge:

$ homebridge
No plugins found. See the README for information on installing plugins.

Homebridge will complain if you don't have any Plugins installed, since it will essentially be useless, although you can still "pair" with it. See the next section "Installing Plugins" for more info.

Once you've installed a Plugin or two, you can run Homebridge again:

$ homebridge
Couldn't find a config.json file [snip]

However, Homebridge won't do anything until you've created a config.json file containing your accessories and/or platforms. You can start by copying and modifying the included config-sample.json file which includes declarations for some example accessories and platforms. Each Plugin will have its own expected configuration; the documentation for Plugins should give you some real-world examples for that plugin.

NOTE: Your config.json file MUST be inside of .homebridge, which is inside of your home folder. On MacOS and Linux, the full path for your config.json would be ~/.homebridge/config.json. Any error messages will contain the exact path where your config is expected to be found.

REALLY IMPORTANT: You must use a "plain text" editor to create or modify config.json. Do NOT use apps like TextEdit on Mac or Wordpad on Windows. Apps like these will corrupt the formatting of the file in hard-to-debug ways, making improper " signs is an example. I suggest using the free Atom text editor.

Once you've added your config file, you should be able to run Homebridge again:

$ homebridge
Loaded plugin: homebridge-lockitron
Registering accessory 'Lockitron'
---
Loaded config.json with 1 accessories and 0 platforms.
---
Loading 0 platforms...
Loading 1 accessories...
[Back Door] Initializing Lockitron accessory...

Homebridge is now ready to receive commands from iOS.

Installing Plugins

Plugins are NodeJS modules published through NPM and tagged with the keyword homebridge-plugin. They must have a name with the prefix homebridge-, like homebridge-mysmartlock.

Plugins can publish Accessories and/or Platforms. Accessories are individual devices, like a smart switch or a garage door. Platforms act like a single device but can expose a set of devices, like a house full of smart lightbulbs.

You install Plugins the same way you installed Homebridge - as a global NPM module. For example:

sudo npm install -g homebridge-lockitron

You can explore all available plugins at the NPM website by searching for the keyword homebridge-plugin.

IMPORTANT: Many of the plugins that Homebridge used to include with its default installation have been moved to the single plugin homebridge-legacy-plugins.

Adding Homebridge to iOS

HomeKit itself is actually not an app; it's a "database" similar to HealthKit and PassKit. Where HealthKit has the companion Health app and PassKit has Passbook, HomeKit has the Home app, introduced with iOS 10.

If you are a member of the iOS developer program, you might also find Apple's HomeKit Catalog app to be useful, as it provides straightforward and comprehensive management of all HomeKit database "objects".

Using the Home app (or most other HomeKit apps), you should be able to add the single accessory "Homebridge", assuming that you're still running Homebridge and you're on the same Wifi network. Adding this accessory will automatically add all accessories and platforms defined in config.json.

When you attempt to add Homebridge, it will ask for a "PIN code". The default code is 031-45-154 (but this can be changed, see config-sample.json).

Interacting with your Devices

Once your device has been added to HomeKit, you should be able to tell Siri to control your devices. However, realize that Siri is a cloud service, and iOS may need some time to synchronize your device information with iCloud.

One final thing to remember is that Siri will almost always prefer its default phrase handling over HomeKit devices. For instance, if you name your Sonos device "Radio" and try saying "Siri, turn on the Radio" then Siri will probably start playing an iTunes Radio station on your phone. Even if you name it "Sonos" and say "Siri, turn on the Sonos", Siri will probably just launch the Sonos app instead. This is why, for instance, the suggested name for the Sonos accessory is "Speakers".

Writing Plugins

We don't have a lot of documentation right now for creating plugins, but there are many existing plugins you can study.

The best place to start is the included Example Plugins. Right now this contains a single plugin that registers a platform that offers fake light accessories. This will show you how to use the Homebridge Plugin API.

For more example on how to construct HomeKit Services and Characteristics, see the many Accessories in the Legacy Plugins repository.

You can also view the full list of supported HomeKit Services and Characteristics in the HAP-NodeJS protocol repository.

And you can find an example plugin that publishes an individual accessory at here.

See more examples on how to create Platform classes in the Legacy Plugins repository.

Plugin Development

When writing your plugin, you'll want Homebridge to load it from your development directory instead of publishing it to npm each time. You can tell Homebridge to look for your plugin at a specific location using the command-line parameter -P. For example, if you are in the Homebridge directory (as checked out from Github), you might type:

DEBUG=* ./bin/homebridge -D -P ../my-great-plugin/

This will start up Homebridge and load your in-development plugin from a nearby directory. Note that you can also direct Homebridge to load your configuration from somewhere besides the default ~/.homebridge, for example:

DEBUG=* ./bin/homebridge -D -U ~/.homebridge-dev -P ../my-great-plugin/

This is very useful when you are already using your development machine to host a "real" Homebridge instance (with all your accessories) that you don't want to disturb.

Common Issues

My iOS App Can't Find Homebridge

Two reasons why Homebridge may not be discoverable:

  1. Homebridge server thinks it's been paired with, but iOS thinks otherwise. Fix: deleted persist/ directory which is next to your config.json.

  2. iOS device has gotten your Homebridge username (looks like a MAC address) "stuck" somehow, where it's in the database but inactive. Fix: change your username in the "bridge" section of config.json to be some new value.

Errors on startup

The following errors are experienced when starting Homebridge and can be safely ignored. The cost of removing the issue at the core of the errors isn't worth the effort.

*** WARNING *** The program 'nodejs' uses the Apple Bonjour compatibility layer of Avahi
*** WARNING *** Please fix your application to use the native API of Avahi!
*** WARNING *** For more information see http://0pointerde/avahi-compat?s=libdns_sd&e=nodejs
*** WARNING *** The program 'nodejs' called 'DNSServiceRegister()' which is not supported (or only supported partially) in the Apple Bonjour compatibility layer of Avahi
*** WARNING *** Please fix your application to use the native API of Avahi!
*** WARNING *** For more information see http://0pointerde/avahi-compat?s=libdns_sd&e=nodejs&f=DNSServiceRegister

Why Homebridge?

Technically, the device manufacturers should be the ones implementing the HomeKit API. And I'm sure they will - eventually. When they do, this project will be obsolete, and I hope that happens soon. In the meantime, Homebridge is a fun way to get a taste of the future, for those who just can't bear to wait until "real" HomeKit devices are on the market.

Credit

The original HomeKit API work was done by KhaosT in his HAP-NodeJS project.