It's been some time since Home Assistant Blueprints were introduced in what should have been Home Assistant Core 1.0. Despite that, I haven't had any reason to use one so far, as most of my devices in my setup had already been configured. But, ever-curious as I am, I decided to configure a new Aqara Cube using a Blueprint provided by the Home Assistant community.
On a sidenote, despite occasionally being called a gimmick, I really like my Aqara Cubes. Depending on your configuration, the Aqara Cube gives you about 50 actions you can execute. You can slide it, flip it, shake it, drop it, and rotate it. And depending on which side is facing upwards, you can control different devices. Some will add stickers to their Aqara Cube as an indication to which side controls what device. This article isn't meant to be a review, so I will leave it at that.
In this short guide on how I set up my new Aqara Cube using a Home Assistant Blueprint. I will also be sharing my thoughts on the process and telling you why I think Blueprints is the most important feature to have been added to Home Assistant in recent times.
Adding a Blueprint to Home Assistant
The Home Assistant Blueprint I am using for my Aqara Cube is provided by community member luckypoppy and is specific to Zigbee2MQTT. If you are using a different application to control your Zigbee devices, you will be glad to know that there are also Blueprints for ZHA and deCONZ available.
To add the Blueprint to your Home Assistant, all you have to do is copy the appropriate URL (yes, you actually copy the forum post's URL), enter the Blueprints section in the Home Assistant Configuration, click on
IMPORT BLUEPRINT and paste the URL. Before importing, you can have a quick preview though that will only show you the code and not how it will be like to configure.
Once loaded, you can create an automation based on the Blueprint you imported by clicking on
CREATE AUTOMATION. In the following window, you will be able to configure your automation using nothing more than the web interface. There is no need for complicated YAML code, as everything can be configured using basic inputs.
In the example I'm using, there are many options available, as each action is unique to the Aqara Cube's upward facing side. The Blueprint spared me the work of having to configure each side manually. And no, you don't have to fill in every field. If you have no use for a certain action, just leave it as it is.
Blueprints make Home Assistant more open
Home Assistant is all about being open and inviting to anyone. It is an open-source application, after all. There is a great community supporting the project, and that is partially what makes Home Assistant so special. Blueprints now allow community members to take their support one step further and easily share their setups as templates with others. This development will also make Home Assistant much more welcoming to absolute beginners.
With proprietary and paid-for services, such as Wink, going down for days on end, it is ever more important to spread the word on how important local control is. The more users Home Assistant has, the more pressured big companies will be to open up their products. At least, that's what I'm hoping for.