Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020

schedule

Building Homebridge with the Yocto Project


Homebridge is a lightweight NodeJS server that emulates Apple HomeKit API. Combined with versatile plugins it allows you to make any device Homekit-compatible. In the presentation you will understand how Homebridge works and how to integrated it in a custom embedded Linux distribution built with the Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded. We will go through the exact steps for leveraging the latest release of Poky, the reference system of the Yocto Project, with systemd, X11, openbox, surf web browser, nodejs, npm, Homebridge and some of its most popular plugins. Only open source software will be used, without any commercial licenses. Practical examples for home automation with Homebridge on Raspberry Pi and the new STM32MP1 development boards will be demonstrated. The end result is an embedded device mounted in rack with a DIN rail that provides simple and user-friendly way to manage and configure Homebridge out of the box. The talk is appropriate for beginners.

Homebridge is a lightweight NodeJS server that you can run on your home network and emulate Apple HomeKit API. Started more than 5 years ago and available at GitHub under Apache License 2.0, Homebridge has a large and vibrant open source community. Multiple plugins allow Homebridge to handle user's requests either via Siri or the Home app and this way to make any device Homekit-compatible. Raspberry Pi is the perfect platforms for hobbyists to install a local Homebridge instance. However, the installation of Homebridge on Raspbian requires numerous steps and despite the excellent tutorials, users without previous Linux experience face difficulties. Another disadvantage is that Raspbian is available only as 32-bit images which doesn’t use the full capabilities of the ARMv8 64-bit processors on Raspberry Pi 3 and 4. The Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded provide all required tools to create a custom Linux distribution that out of the box offers user-friendly experience for configuring Homebridge in just a few easy steps. In the this presentation we do a code review of meta-homebridge Yocto/OE layer and we will walk through the exact steps for creating a lightweight Linux distribution with graphical user interface and a web browser that acts like a kiosk. We will integrated and configure popular open source software tools such as the Linux kernel, systemd, X11, openbox, surf web browser, nodejs, npm and of course Homebridge. Thanks to the meta-raspberrypi BSP Yocto/OE layer we will be able to unleash the full power of Raspberry Pi 3 and 4 by building 64-bit images. At the end of the presentation demonstrations and tips for making an embedded device mounted in rack with a DIN rail will be shared. We will also mention the new STM32MP1 industrial grade development boards as alternatives of Raspberry Pi for this and similar projects in the maker community. This talk brings benefits to the ecosystems of several open source communities. It will spread the word about Homebridge and significantly improve the getting started experience for user. Practical examples for using the Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded for makers will be revealed. As part of the development efforts for meta-homebridge Yocto/OE, a couple of new recipes, surf (simple web browser) and stalonetray (X11 system tray), have been contributed to the upstream of meta-openembedded. The talk is appropriate for beginners. No previous experience is required. Hopefully, this presentation will encourage the audience to try out Homebridge and leverage their knowledge about the Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded with the example of this real-world entirely open source project.

Speakers

Photo of Leon Anavi Leon Anavi

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