Version 2.3.2 of Ask Alexa
I am pleased to announce the 2.3.2 version of Ask Alexa! In this version I continue (along with help from the community) to evolve the application to allow more conversational syntax, along with adding more functionality for existing and new devices.
This will be a simple upgrade…simple the main app, the voice reports and the rooms/groups extension have changed…everything else (including the Lambda code) can remain the same. I DO recommend (especially if you use the any UV devices) to update your developer slots as new functionality is enabled in this version. This is a “Scenario 1” update…please see http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Ask_Alexa#Frequently_Asked_Questions_.28FAQ for that meaning (just IDE updates!)
PLEASE NOTE: Now that this app is rather stable (Close to 2 years old!) now I will be updating it less frequently except for bugs and new features. I am waiting for Amazon to release their ‘push’ notifications where some amazing stuff will happen with this app. Until then, if you do have a great feature idea for this app, just let me know.
Other additions to this new version include:
Bug Fixes - The normal things…silly misspellings, logic errors, bug reports.
Code Optimization - Always finding better ways to do things in a shorter about of code.
UV Index devices - Upon another great suggestion from Matt (@Matthew_Freestone), I have added devices that comply with the “ultravioletIndex” capability. For Matt, this was the Bloomsky device (device DTH by @slagle). For others with devices that read UV index as well I am interested to hear your experience as the UV index is a non-standard capability and I want to make sure it works with the range of devices out there, not just the Bloomsky device. The UV index can be called as an individual device, and an attribute to other devices, along with being able to be included in the voice reports as well. Great suggestion, Matt!
Voice Reports Voice reports can also give you UV readings, and to accommodate this I have renamed the Thermostats/Temperature/Humidity report item to simply an ‘environmental’ report. Just the GUI changed…the functionality remains the same. In addition, I have added a threshold to the Foobot air quality report. It will now only report based on the GPI level. So if you only want it to report when it is fair or below, you can have that!
Rooms/Groups Based on some great feedback from too many people to recognize, I added some additional features to the Rooms/Groups extension. First, I added discrete groups of switches that can be ignored with either on or off commands. This gives you a bit of flexibility when turning groups of devices on or off without having all of them respond. In addition, there is now an option to turn on every switch if you issue a 100% command. This can be used to override the exclusions mentioned above. These commands really let you customize the experience you seem to already be loving with this new extension.
While I don’t have any new partners to announce, I will in the coming weeks as there is a new integration in the works.
For those with IDE integration with GitHub, simply update the repository and you will have the latest code for the SmartApp itself. However, for ALL aspects of the application follow the original instructions for installation to ensure you get everything updated properly:
The wiki for this app is here: http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Ask_Alexa
All of you have been great in asking very relevant questions and making suggestions that I end up using. Here are some helpful tips on usage and support:
- Sometimes it works best if I can work real time with you. To facilitate this, I have created a Slack channel: https://askalexa.slack.com. Using this tool is easy and will allow for real-time collaboration to solve the problems faster. To use this feature, I must invite you to the Slack channel. This will not be for normal questions; please use this forum for that function.
- The Echo, as it is designed currently, cannot react to switches opening or other actions within SmartThings. She will do things for you, but only at your direction and at the time of the request. The delay timer mentioned in the control macro happens at the SmartThings hub, not within the Amazon Alexa control. See the new Message Queue functions for similar functionality with Big Talker!
- When evaluating new features I will typically ask for a valid use case. If it can be used by others to bring them value I will put it on my list of future revisions. Not all suggestions will be used and many times I add aspects of the request.
- There are no dumb questions, but many of the questions you may have were probably answered in the year since the initial release. Please take some time to go through the forum and the wiki if you have issues. And don’t be offended if I give you the specific area of the manual that answers your question. I have spent almost as much time on the documentation as I have on the app. Finally, there are some big fans of Ask Alexa that know almost as much as I do. They can also help.
- Feel free to send me forks of utterances or even code revisions. As mentioned above, if it adds value to the overall program I will try to include it. This also goes for the wiki documentation…while I have spent over a year creating this document, I am open to it being improved; I know there are probably still grammatical errors or syntax issues…If you find them, fix them…I will include your name (if I can) in any fixes submitted.
- If you find a bug or a consistent crash please help me track it down by giving me repeatable steps to reproduce it. A non-reproducible bug, many times, indicates other areas that may be at fault besides the app. If you watch the live logging and see a red error with a line number, that is very helpful to me! However, I will need a full screenshot and not a copy/paste of the text. But be careful about revealing your OAuth and AppToken in your public posts. People can control you house with that information. You may want to blur that out.
As mentioned above, revisions will be less and less now. And with the code base now unified, I expect less and less additions…especially as I partner with other application developers to ensure their strengths can be brought into the notification model of Ask Alexa . Any and all suggestions are still on the table for addition.
To prep for the next version, be sure to take some good notes about any weather voice reports you have set up…I will be moving the weather piece to it own extension app. However, it will still be able to work in any voice report you have set up. Then, the fun begins with addition another extension after the next one!
As always, I appreciate any public accolades or even donations to my PayPal account: https://www.paypal.me/mstruck . And, if you are so inclined, I also will accept bitcoins (or fractions thereof) if you have any laying around. My wallet ID is: 1CMgaiKgBfojTBCLpHLfa9KvcrW3cNxVpm