Good add-ons

After the installation of Home Assistant, the next step was to setup the different integrations to the smart home products we have.

There is two ways of setting up integrations:

  • Setup through the user interface (preferable)
    This is the best way to secure your installation when upgrading along the way.
    The team behind Home Assistant has stated that by doing it through the user interface, they will secure that the integrations will work after an upgrade.

  • Setup through “code”
    This is done by doing the integration configuration through YAML code. Some integrations can only be setup this way, because they don’t have a user interface setup.

All integrations we have that can be setup through the user interface, is done this way. The others is done by “code”. This way I’m not so scared when upgrading to new versions of Home Assistant (upgrades available at least once a month).

But back to the add-ons. I mainly searched for add-ons to handle the last of the above options – setup through “code”. I used the add-on store in Home Assistant Core to search and install through. I took no time, and needed no configuration.

I installed the following add-ons:

  • File Editor
    Home Assistants configuration is placed in YAML files. This is not really programming, but more or less a “code configuration” on how – in this case Home Assistant – should act or do in different situations.

    I started with installing File Editor to do only basic and simple changes to the YAML files in Home Assistant, but also use the extra features of easy restart of HASS or reload of different elements like automations, scripts etc.

    The editor is OK, but not something I would use if I would do a lot of YAML. Most will be fine using this, but me as a developer, I need something extra. Something with intellisense, syntax highlighting, but also a better file list.

  • Visual Studio Code
    I’m use to work with Visual Studio Code, and I prefer that I have intellisense to help remember names of global variables and services, which is something Visual Studio Code has.

    Furthermore is give a much better file list / file browser, better syntax highlighting and having multiple files open at the same time.

    Of course I installed this right away as an add-on. All my changes to YAML files happens through Visual Studio Code, and afterwards I use the File Editor to reload my configuration or reboot my Home Assistant.

There is a lot of other add-ons too in the add-on store. If you for example want to make changes to your files in your Windows-environment, then that possible by installing the “Samba share” add-on, that make your Home Assistant configuration folder reachable as a network share.

You could also install a SSH server, which make it possible to login to your Home Assistant through a SSH client. This way you can do various changes. This actually help me out one time where I made an critical error in a configuration file.

Common for all add-ons is that there is a good description of them in the add-on store. A good advice: Don’t just install them to install. Only install what you need. Read about them and see which fits your needs, and only install these.

Have fun!

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