A Brief Discussion on OpenHAB
A great home automation platform, OpenHAB’s popularity is owed to its technology and vendor agnostic nature. Therefore, when a device becomes popular, it has a good chance of being supported by this open-source platform.
Since OpenHAB was designed in Java, it is almost completely platform-independent and can run on many different devices without issues. It is capable of supporting a network of various smart home appliances through its bindings. It is completely modular and can large network can be built up piece by piece.
Add-ons extend the capabilities of OpenHAB. Distributions openHAB1 and OpenHAB2 are where they come from. Quick development processes ensure that updates arrive in short intervals.
Benefits and Drawbacks of OpenHAB
- Open-HAB’s capabilities can be enhanced with Add-ons.
- Installation and setup of OpenHAB is pretty easy.
- Users are allowed to customize every little detail by setting the Automation rules.
- Raspberry Pi is a great mini-computer that can be used as the central hardware for Home-Automation. Open-HAB can be easily installed with a Raspberry PI with at least 2GB of RAM.
- Open-HAB has its very own HTTP server called Jetty. It is capable of working on most of the popular operating systems like Windows, Linux and MacOSx.
- Both Google Assistant and Alexa can be used along with Open-HAB.
- The User-Interface is simple and easy to use for novices.
- Updating Open-HAB can be a hassle for non-programmers as it requires the use of command line
- Limited RAM on older versions of Raspberry Pi would struggle to run Open-HAB.
- Topic updates happen every week. However, the number of topics published is less than what happens for Home Assistant.
- Open-HAB has a simple user-interface that does not need any configuration files.
- It’s User-Interface may not be the prettiest to look at but it is easy to use and can be customized easily according to the user’s preferences.
- As a platform, openHAB is quite stable and has a matured software.
- It supports most of the popular operating systems like Windows, MacOS and Linux.
- The configuration can be done using a web-interface. The number of steps involved can be a little bit too much for some users.
- Updating the Open-HAB device can be a little complex and time-intensive as it requires a command line.
- Updates are provided as Add ON.
3. Supported Devices
- Z-wave, Zigbee and Bluetooth are some of the IoT protocols that are supported by Open-HAB.
- Open-HAB is intelligent enough to seamlessly integrate all the devices that are connected to its network.
- Bindings is an in-built service provided by Open-HAB that supports Z wave devices. It supports a massive 792 devices from different manufacturers.
4. Automation Rules
- OpenHAB uses Xtends to design the automations and deploy them. Xtends is nothing but a dialect of Java and can be converted into Java 8 readable source code.
5. User Interface
- Paper UI: Paper UI is used for system administration purposes.
- Basic UI: It is used to create site maps and access them.
- HABmin: HABmin is a modern user-interface that is capable of both administrative and user functions.
6. Mobile Apps
- OpenHAB has both an iOS app and an Android app that is well developed. They provide innovative ways to customize the server as well as get notifications.
- The apps are very user-friendly as well as easy to understand and use.
A Brief Discussion on Home Assistant
Unlike Open-HAB, the backend of Home Assistant has been developed using Python 3 and the front using Polymer. It is also an open-source home automation system and has an Apache 2.0 license. Its improved quality is due to its bi-monthly release and another week dedicated for bug fixing and beta testing. But even still, some of the recent versions have been known to be buggy at times.
A web-interface is used to configure Home Assistant. It is much more lightweight when compared to Open-HAB. Plugins can be used to enhance the functionalities.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Home Assistant
- User data gets more privacy as cloud storage is not mandatory
- The website has step by step guidelines for easy installation. It is less tricky than Open-HAB.
- Automation rules can be customized as much as you want.
- Every source code or library-related to Home Automation can be found on Git Hub.
- It can be used with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
- The notifications from Home Assistant is much more stable as compared to Open-HAB.
- The amount of content published on the Home Assistant community is huge. It is a very active community.
- YAML is a difficult language for novices. It has some complex indentation rules that can trouble many users.
- Case sensitivity can also cause problems for programmers.
- Novices will find it difficult to understand and customize.
- Home assistant is more flexible and allows the scope for greater innovation for controlling smart devices.
- It is possible to create and save different configurations with ease. It is also possible to restore previously loaded configurations very easily. All configuration can be done using Home Assistant’s UI that is simple to understand and use.
- Home Assistant is also intelligent enough to perform a couple of things by itself. The discovery option is especially useful.
- The initial configuration can be achieved using a feature called “Integration” that is a push for web user interface.
- Just downloading and burning the image of HassBian will get you started with the installation of Home Assistant.
- It only requires the click of a button to update Home Assistant. The web-interface for Hass.io manages the updates.
- Supported Devices
- The control panel for Home Assistant is built-in. It is based on Z-wave and is not as convenient for Zigbee.
- Since it has a smart hub, a massive 1400 components are supported and can be integrated by Home Assistant.
- Automation Rules
- YAML can be used to define and configure the automation rules.
- You can also use Node-RED for automation management. It is a visual programming language that is flow-based and easier to use for people with a non-programming background.
- Xtend is a collection of complex functions and structures and is very flexible and powerful. Unfortunately, lack of clear-cut documentation and odd syntaxes can put off some programmers.
- YAML is not exactly a programming language. It can be thought of as a data serialization standard instead. It applies to any or all programming languages.
- User Interface
- The User Interface of Home Assistant is much less complicated and easier to understand than that of Open-HAB. It does not require any configuration to start out.
- Mobile Apps
- Both the iOS and the Android apps for Home Assistant are neither as flexible nor as stable as the ones offered by Open-HAB.
OpenHAB vs Home Assistant add-ons:
1. Home Assistant add-ons
Home Assistant provides the following add-ons:
- CEC Scanner
- Git Pull
- DHCP Server
2. OpenHAB add-ons
OpenHAB provides much more add-ons as compared to Home Assistant. They are listed below:
- Binding addons: IKEA, ZigBee, Binding Astro, Hue
- Action addons: Telegram, MQTT, XMPP, Twitter
- Data persistence addons: Influx DB, MySQL, Jbdc, MongoDB
- System Integration addons: HomeKit, Google, openHAB cloud connector
- Voice addons: PICO, Google Cloud Text-to-speech and MacOS
Recommendation: Home Assistant vs OpenHAB What Is Best
If you are a newcomer to the world of home automation and want something that is easy to understand and can be programmed without any hassles, then go for Home Assistant. It is an outstanding community for support and a coding style that is admired by even advanced programmers.
However, if you have complex and advanced ideas that you need to execute, OpenHAB is the platform for you. Its programming style is powerful and flexible.