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New iOS App: zHome

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    New iOS App: zHome

    I gave up on all the weak iOS Apps. HSBuddy and ImperiHome move over (ImiperiHome actually rolled over dead long ago). There's a new kid in town. I started using zHome from the App Store, and I couldn't be happier. Dan, who is the developer is super helpful and very responsive.


    Glad you like it, I've been using it for about 2-3 months now as one of the original beta testers. Dan is very responsive and very open to suggestions.


      Originally posted by George View Post
      Glad you like it, I've been using it for about 2-3 months now as one of the original beta testers. Dan is very responsive and very open to suggestions.
      True, he really is always looking for suggestions and asks for feedback.


        That's good because there is feedback.

        Apps like zHome are also used by our wife and kids. Therefore the user experience should be fantastic.
        And right now the zHome GUI is bad, really bad.

        Just one example:
        The settings buttons cannot be pressed like any other button on an iphone.
        No, you have to keep it pressed for the settings pages to open.
        Who has ever seen this?

        And some more:
        - The graphics, colors and fonts are absolutely horrible.
        - customizability should be a lot better: per device I want to select which information is shown (which text, which icons, which controls, which control type (button, toggle, slider), etc)
        - username: has to be filled out (on my local network I don't want to use that, but it may have to do with the way the app interacts with HS (on port 11000 which may need an authenticated user?)

        However, I do applaude the fact that people write applications for Homeseer.


          Thanks Sami for the kind words. I'm working on your suggestion for a way to have certain devices confirm that you actually want an action to be performed... Ie turn a device on / off... I will start a new thread on the forums soon ... as I want to get feedback from the other TestFlight users on this.

          I'm not sure what DJF3 is referencing as far as the settings button... Settings is a tab control at the botton of the screen. Or are you referencing the individual settings after going to the settings screen? Haven't had any other complaints about this... so I'm confused as to what you think it should be doing. I tap on a setting and it will go to the screen. There is a settings option for Touch Settings where you can set the amount of time a long press gesture requires to fire off the touch.

          The complaints about graphics.. well we use the graphics for devices and such that are configured in a HomeSeer system... its not our graphics... so if they are horrible then they need to look at how they have configured their HomeSeer graphics for a device. We may someday look at letting colors be configured... but for now it's the Henry Ford model... you can have any colors you want as long as they are the ones we use. I will never be able to please everyone in regards to colors and such. So I chose to please my wife.

          The text and control types are configurable via your HomeSeer status graphics pages for a device.... we display what yo have configured in HomeSeer... You set the control types in HomeSeer. I'm not going to write a different approach to configuring the control types when you can do this already in HomeSeer. We actually have done this for the classic interface as far as slider controls go... you can configure the slider to be a stepper type control for z-wave interface devices. Most people seem to be using the tiled interface style.

          Yes you have to authenticate with HomeSeer so you have to give the app a username and password that will let it authenticate with HomeSeer. Not sure why this is an issue...



            I think he means on the settings screen the setting boxes should be touch to go to next screen not 'press' to go to next screen. That also was a quirk that I noticed, but once configured I hardly ever go into the settings page. But when I do, it just touch it and then remember I have to long press it.

            I'll be responding to your email on the TestFlight changes. I may have a couple of other suggestions.


              Probably a leftover from when I originally coded it.. back then I was using 3D Touch... but stopped supporting that and defaulted to long press. I really liked the 3D Touch but Apple decided to drop that. I will look at it.


                I have a build now for the TestFlight users that has the change for allowing the user to flag a device / feature to require a confirmation from the user before sending to HomeSeer. I also looked and tweaked the settings buttons so they now act like a single tap without requiring a longer press to open the window.

                No idea exactly why the person feels the GUI is bad, really bad... It's pretty much standard fonts so not clear to me what the complaint is on that issue. Posting things here doesn't usually get them seen by me.. There is a link on the About section under settings for email and that is the best way to send complaints, suggestions, etc. I never intended originally to even release this app on the App Store. I appreciate suggestions and ideas though. I just need to understand what is truly being asked for. Subjective comments of not liking a choice doesn't tell me what someone is wanting instead of the options I chose. If it's possible to provide choices then I'm happy to do so.

                I am confused about the complaint that the graphics are bad. Not sure what exactly they are referring to that they don't have control of. If its the lack of graphic images for rooms then I probably will never fix that as the app lets you set your own graphics either from your photo library or by using the iPhone camera to use your own custom photo for a room icon. To legally use other peoples images for these tings and include them in the app means to get quality I have to pay for the images. No matter what choices I make someone will find them not to their liking. So they have total control of that by either using the camera or chasing an image from their own photo library. If they have an image they want to use they just need to add it to their photo library and then select it as the graphic they want to use.

                As far as the icons used for devices and status they have compete control of that via HomeSeer. We use whatever graphics they have configured via the Status / Graphics screen for the device in HomeSeer.

                I really am confused about the statement that it's not customizable enough. The text and control types are controlled by how you configure a device / feature in HomeSeer.

                I also don't get what the issue is with configuring the username and password that HomeSeer requires us to use for being able to communicate with their ascii control port. We could by pass this if we bypass using only the local network control via JSON, but then its not a great user experience. Our ability to reflect status changes and such are much better using the ascii control port. We have to authenticate with HomeSeer to do so.

                We try and leverage as much as we can from the configurations of devices and such in HomeSeer. This way we have one place to make changes and they will reflect then across all the devices that are using the app. So instead of having to configure your iPhone, iPad, and even macOS device separately you can set many things in HomeSeer and it will be the same across all your devices. Changing the layout of the buttons for a control on the Status / Graphics page will affect how we lay out the buttons on the pop up controls for devices. So if you want button A to appear after button B in the app then changing their layout in the HomeSeer screen will also reflect in zHome Plus. There are a few caveats on that ... if the control type is a slider stye device then it will alway be on a row by itself.

                I am sure there are lots of tings that can be improved. I just need to clearly understand what the underlying issue is and what exactly someone thinks should be changed. All of us have different tastes in UI and I'm happy to provide choices... I just need to understand what the actual choice that someone wants. Some of the issues raised are things that can be controlled by the user via HomeSeer.

                I believe that if we can leverage HomeSeer configurations is the right place to do so.


                  Originally posted by lakehawk View Post
                  No idea exactly why the person feels the GUI is bad, really bad... It's pretty much standard fonts so not clear to me what the complaint is on that issue. Posting things here doesn't usually get them seen by me.. There is a link on the About section under settings for email and that is the best way to send complaints, suggestions, etc. I never intended originally to even release this app on the App Store. I appreciate suggestions and ideas though. I just need to understand what is truly being asked for. Subjective comments of not liking a choice doesn't tell me what someone is wanting instead of the options I chose. If it's possible to provide choices then I'm happy to do so.
                  Note that I think it's great that you have written this application. It's fantastic that the community is building things that help others. Also remember that the "tone" of a message can easily be interpreted more negative than it actually was ment to be.

                  Just to be sure, we are talking about "zHome Plus", right?
                  Right now I can't test the application anymore because I ran out of my 7-day trial so some things I can't re-test or

                  > "Posting things here doesn't usually get them seen by me"
                  I was unaware of this and should have send a direct message with my feedback.

                  Status icons: agree, they are coming from what you configure in HS
                  Connectivity: in the "Homeseer Mobile" app I connect to HS directly without username/pwd. For me the experience is quite good. It's not a big thing.
                  Graphics: What I am referring to is generic user interface choices: colors usage, lines around buttons, I see approx 3 different fonts used (title, buttons, settings buttons) and there was more but I can't remember or test it.

                  Nowadays we are spoiled with fantastic user interfaces all over the place that create certain expectations. User-experience is something I can get very passionate about :-)
                  but at the end of the day we can't all be user experience designers and functionality is more important than looks.

                  Please continue to develop the application and turn negative feedback into something positive that helps you to understand a growing group of users.


                    Yes you are correct, we are talking about zHome Plus. I really don't think you understand what goes on behind the scenes when you use the HS Mobile App without having to enter into its configuration your username and password. You already have. They are reading it directly from your system. By using this type of system you have opened up your system to whoever could have access or potentially hack HomeSeer and get your credentials. This is why I implemented the ability to use a VPN to encrypt and use your HomeSeer safely. You can chose to use it in the open but I have never recommended that. So you set it up to be on your local network and then if you are not on that network zHome will use the VPN credentials and info you configure into it to establish a safe and secure connection over the internet back to your HomeSeer system. It works quite well.

                    As for the details that you don't care for regarding colors, fonts, etc... I'm sure I could improve on that. However, it's not my priority. I would rather focus on function over the form. You are right... there are lots of options out there. I developed this for myself and the people who joined me in the development of testing and bringing suggestions of new features for the app. I've not received any feedback asking me to change fonts or colors. They are more focused on what it can do, they are not focused on the paint job. Function is my priority.

                    If you follow all the threads on here, one of the first people who tried it had a large list of complaints on the UI. That is why we now have multiple interface styles, of classic, tiled, and combo user interfaces. This person now is one of my testers and has worked with me to improve things as we go along. Someday the interface may be more to your liking. It will continue to evolve over time.

                    Right now my next goal is to implement a subsystem where I can create "scenes" or "events" ... pick the word you like best... that will let you set up what you want to happen when you execute the scene and actually show you if all the devices / features have invoked the setting you want. It's a work in progress and will be released when I'm happy with it. It's still in the design phase. I think that adds more value to my customers than letting them select a different background / foreground color or font. This isn't a word processor. I can't believe that anyone really cares about the color when they want to turn a light on or off. If they do.. well then as you said.. there are lots of fantastic interfaces out there. Im really not caring how many customers I have, just how many happy customers I have. I'm 64. I retired from developing software professionally when I was 48. I do this to keep my mind sharp and I enjoy it, not to make money. And I love when I can write something that others enjoy. Yes, it could be better. That's why I have my TestFlight users and if you talked to them they would tell you how much influence they have had on the app. Some of your criticisms will someday be addressed as well. Just right now they are way down the line from things that actually would add value to a user.


                      We have released version 3.6 of zHome Plus today. It is available now on the App Store for iOS. The macOS aversion is awaiting review. This version includes the ability to configure a device / feature or a custom room to require a confirmation for devices that you want to absolutely make sure you do not change the state of. We had a customer who accidentally had turned off a z-wave water valve and cut water to their home and requested this feature.

                      So now if you have a device / feature that you want to make sure that we confirm before requesting HomeSeer to change the state of the device you can add a "#" character to the beginning of the device / feature name. So if you have one named "Main Water Valve", you can edit the name in HomeSeer and make it "#Main Water Valve" and then zHome will request you to confirm when trying to change the state of the device / feature. The "#" character will not show up in our app when you load your configuration.

                      You also have the option if you have a group of devices that you want to put into a special room that requires confirmation to change the state of that set of devices / features then you can create the custom room with a "#" as the first character of the room name. So if you create a custom room named "#Utility Controls" then all the devices you put into this room will require a confirmation when you execute a state change for them.

                      Note that if you put a device in a custom room using the "#" prefix for the custom room name then this only will require the confirmation when you execute a state change in that room. It you execute the device / feature in another room that doesn't have the "#" prefix then it will not require a confirmation. The only way to guarantee that a device / feature will require a confirmation regardless of the room it is in will require you to use the "#" prefix on the device / feature name itself. But many users have told us that they only display custom rooms in their zHome Plus app, so this method lets them group those devices / features into a custom room that will require the confirmation.


                        Well, Dan, whatever you did with the latest version, it cleared up the random startup sync problems I was having. Sometimes it would launch and give the error of unable too connect to the network even though I am at home on the local subnet. I needed to close the app, just close not force close and reopen it and it would connect. It now behaves itself, so far, perfectly. I get a connection to my local HS3 system on every app launch. So that's a bug which I forgot to talk to you about that you can also put to bed.


                          Thanks George... I like fixing things I didn't know were broken. :-)

                          I haven't had any issues with connecting at my home. Recently another user had some issues but it turned out to be a router configuration problem with port forwarding. I keep looking at things though to see if I can improve. Well I'm not looking at colors right now.. I'm too busy having to respond to reviews on the app stores where I get lovely reviews from people who didn't even buy the app... Unfortunately you get more complaints than you get atta boys these days no matter what choices you make.

                          I am hoping to get back to work now on my event / scene implementation. I'm taking my time on it. Not sure when it will be ready for TestFlight users. Have you updated yet from the App Store or are you using the version I last sent to TestFlight? The new version should be available now on the App Store for iOS. Hoping the macOS gets reviewed soon and released as well.

                          Oh I did make a change though to the Settings screens... The buttons there now no longer require the long press... a tap will open up the setting screen for any of those buttons. So you may or may not notice that change... I'm not sure I can tell the difference myself, but one other test person did notice it. I guess all my taps are long presses... LOL


                            I noticed the buttons, nice but I wasn't in settings a lot. I have a weird one I'm trying to trouble shoot right now about a regular old X10 appliance module not showing up in the room it's in. In fact, not showing up anywhere in the app, but it's in the web view. No special characters and the hide in mobile is not ticked. I may resort to sending you the JSON and or looking at it myself to see if it's in the JSON.



                              Send me the JSON. I can quickly figure that one out from that. Also check to see if hide from view is checked. Either that or hide in mobile will both prevent us from showing the device. I've never quire figured out what hide from view is all about... It never hides it from the HomeSeer web view. Go figure. LOL.