Almost everything new in Home Assistant Core 0.115

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

It’s Home Assistant’s seventh birthday and to celebrate we get an absolutely massive update to Home Assistant Core. In fact, the changes and new features introduced in Home Assistant Core 0.155 are so wide-reaching it’s almost impossible for me to cover everything in a single blog post.

Instead I will focus on the most important new features and changes to the interface Home Assistant Core 0.155 brings with it. This list obviously is highly subjective. The full changelog is, as always, available on the Home Assistant website.

Table of Contents

New features to Home Assistant Core

A bunch of new and very useful features have been introduced in this update. These are not just software features, such as the new Media Browser, but also DIY hardware features.

Media Browser for Plex, Spotify, Sonos, and more

I wrote about it in a previous post and now it’s official: Home Assistant finally has a Media Browser. Because I wasn’t willing to beta test Home Assistant I couldn’t confirm which services the Media Browser supports. The Media Browser supports Arcam FMJ, Kodi, Philips JS, Plex, Roku, Sonos and Spotify. And as mentioned previously, there is no extra setup required on the users side.

Home Assistant has posted a video on their YouTube channel for anyone interested in how this feature works and looks. I’ve got to say, it looks a lot better than I expected it too. The Media Browser will be useful for those who want to manage everything (lights, vacuums, music etc) from a single interface. No longer will you have to open the Spotify app to select a certain playlist, you can do it all from Home Assistant.

YouTube video

The Media Browser can not only cast media to your smart speakers and TVs, it can also play media in the Home Assistant interface. For example, this could be used for viewing captured video from a security camera.

Home Assistant Tags

I’ve been using NFC tags for my bedtime automation for some time. I set these using a combination of Tasker and Sleep as Android on my Android phone. Unfortunately connecting Tasker to Home Assistant wasn’t the simplest of setups and took quite a bit of trial and error. But that is no longer the case! With Home Assistant Core 0.155 NFC tags are a first-class citizen.

The Home Assistant Companion Apps can now read and write NFC tags and Home Assistant can use them for automations. The Home Assistant team has even posted instructions on how to build a DIY NFC reader. Using Home Assistant Tags you can build your very own jukebox and the reader will automatically know, on which device to play music.

The main advantage NFC tags or cards have over switches are pricing and versatility. You can buy NFC tags or cards for next to nothing and they can be read by multiple devices such as dedicated readers and smartphones.

Fewer restarts required

Previously you had to restart Home Assistant every time you made changes to YAML code. This could get quite tedious. Especially when testing things. For certain integrations you can now simply reload the YAML in the configuration server control page. This doesn’t cover every integration yet but it is a start and will make testing so much more efficient.

See more in the logbook

The logbook has long been a pretty useless feature for me. Why? Because you couldn’t see what script or automation caused a certain light to turn on or media player to start playing. That changes in Home Assistant 0.155. In the logbook you can now see all of that information.

Changes to the Home Assistant interface

This update doesn’t just add new features. There are some significant changes to the Lovelace interface. These changes seem to be focused on usability. You can now do more from the interface without having to resort to coding. And there’s a new card!

Customising the Home Assistant sidebar

With this release, it is finally possible to customise the sidebar. Simply click and hold down on the sidebar’s header, and you’ll be able to not only rearrange the sidebar, but also remove items you don’t want or need.

Items you remove will be visible at the bottom of the list. To add them back into your sidebar, you can simply click on the plus icon.

Calendar Lovelace card

There’s a new Lovelace card that will be useful for those who use Home Assistant as a dashboard for just about everything. This new card is of course the Calendar Card. This Calendar Card works perfectly with the Google Calendar integration and will give you a nice overview over the current month and highlight days on which you have entries. There are three different view modes: The first will display your month as shown in the screenshot down below, the second will display entries from the current day, and the third is an agenda view for the current month.

Uploading profile images

You can now upload profile images for your person right from the interface. And you don’t have to follow any requirements! The image can be cropped in the interface without having to open any external editor.

Streamlined more info dialog

The more info dialog which pops up when you click on any device in your Lovelace interface has been updated. If a device has controls (e.g. lights and media players) there will be two panels visible: One will display the controls and the other will display history and a list of logbook entries.

Wrapping up

The changes detailed in this article are just those I hand-selected. There are many more which might be relevant to you and your setup. As always, I suggest you go through the complete changelog on the Home Assistant website.

A word of caution

Most updates also bring with them a list of breaking changes. This one is no different. Go through that list and make sure you address any issues you might have. It is also frequently suggested in the many Home Assistant communities that you wait for a follow-up to a big update such as this one. If you want to experience all the new things immediately you’re free to install this update. But if stability is important for you, wait for the follow-up updates.

Liam Alexander Colman, the author and maintainer of Home Assistant Guides.

About Liam Alexander Colman

Liam Alexander Colman has been using Home Assistant for various projects for quite some time. What started off with a Raspberry Pi quickly became three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-blown server. I now use Unraid as my operating system, and Home Assistant happily runs in a Docker container. My personal setup includes many Zigbee devices as well as integrations with existing products such as my Android TV box. Read on to find out more on how I got started with Home Assistant.

Leave a comment

Share to...