Home Control Assistant Newsletter for July 26

Have you looked over the version 16 release notes? Lots of changes that you can incorporate into your designs right away.

And if you are looking for answers to the most common questions about HCA check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Not a one day build

The last two weeks had a lot of info in each weekly message and I was planning on doing another one-day-build this week, but there was too much happening to get it done. I'll save my idea for next week. In the meantime, I have two items to pass on.

First, when the Visual Programmer was introduced (yes, it really was in version 1.0) the main reason was to make program construction easier for non-programmers. It eliminates the need for all that "syntax stuff" that can be difficult for non-programmers. But another equally important reason was to visualize what a program does. Visualization has two aspects: First you can see the flow of the program – just follow the arrows. But there is a second often overlooked reason. Look at this section of a program I worked on this week.


If you look closely, you can maybe see the problem even if you don't know what it is doing. You need only one hint: Each one of the three section is supposed to do the same operation.

This is like one of those old-school kids' games: which one of the sections is not like the others? No suspense, it's the middle one. It looks different then the first and third sections because I mistakenly didn't connect the Compute element at the center of the above image to the correct element.

Whenever I "finish" a program, I take a minute to look it all over before I even try running it and I visually saw the problem. Since I knew these three operations were supposed to be the same, the difference in appearance told there was a problem.

For just this reason, when I work in the programmer I try and take care with the layout of the program. Not just because it looks neater, but because "neat" shows errors just like this one. 

New technical note
Recently, I got some questions about the "Aux log tool". Rather than answer just that user, I created
technical note #138 that provides all the details.

Next week I promise another one-day-build.

V17 Open beta now available - beta 21 now available
The HCA 17 open beta this week gets a new release:17.0.21. 

Please remember after installing to carefully read the release notes for the changes in this build and previous builds if you skipped any.

Want in on the version 17 beta? All you need do is to enter your HCA registration code into the online form as usual, and the resulting page contains a link to the beta page for download. The beta zip file password is the same as your V16 password. Please read fully and carefully the build notes. One suggestion: If you are using SmartThings or Hubitat you really should get on board with the beta as there is new stuff heading your way that needs this beta version.
User-to-User forum

An HCA User who wanted to set up a forum for user-to-user communication. I'm passing this on, but please know that this is not a HCA company project and I will not be spending much time there so I don't know how this will work out. Here is a link to what he set up.

Want to take the next step in automation? Want to get started with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and control HCA by voice commands? Even if you are a long-time user of HCA, the Getting Started guides have all the info you need on client-server, mobile applications, DDNS, and voice assistants.

All of the
Getting Started Guides are available on the support website.
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