AJAX your House

Indigo 2.0 beta screenshotYou should check out Indigo 2.0, and the new, schnazzy, web interface.

I got to be a part of the development of the new web interface. It is leveraging Ajax to allow a user to easily, and dynamically, control their location (not just for your house) automation system through a web browser. Built on open-source technologies such as CherryPy, Python, Cheetah, Prototype, and Scriptaculous, the new interface shows you that you can do more with websites and Ajax than keep a calendar.

You setup "Control Pages", which are generic blank sheets for you to layout devices, applicances, controls, sensors, text, etc. You can place a background image, of say, a building floorplan, picture of your stereo, schematic of your security system. You then add the buttons for turning things on and off (lamp, coffee maker, TV, sprinklers), and sensors displays (temperature, weather, iTunes song listing). Controls and information are updated dynamically on the page. You can then link to other "Control Pages" to build up areas of a building, or subsystems, and so on.

For example, you may have a control page for the lighting and appliance in your house. Click on your TV and it may open another control page that shows an image of your stereo system with buttons for turning parts on and off, or starting up iTunes over an Airport Express. You can then go back and pull up your security or watering system. See what the weather prediction is for tomorrow, and so on. When you click on a lamp, a popup dialog (javascript, not *real* popup) with a slider and On/Off buttons let you quickly set the lamp brightness.

You can now also get an RSS feed of automation devices and sensor states to feed into your favorite RSS reader and get updates on your house/office/garage/shed/treehouse.

See also Gordon Meyer's article, Indigo gets webified.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.