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Long time Insteon & X10 user; new to ISY some Q's


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I started with Insteon using Houselinc.  When that went belly up, tried the hub.  Found it to be slow, not very stable, and the UI? The less said the better.  About a year ago I got a 994i + PLM, asked a few startup questions about H/W siteing, and whether the ISY could be managed from multiple PC's.  Then some other priorities got me sidetracked.  
So now back on track.  The first thing the instructions advised: install Java.  OK, I should mention I'm retired from Microsoft, and have been using the Edge browser since its beginning.  The Java download says that Edge does not support plugins, use IE11. So OK do that, but brings up the thought: am I gonna be stuck in IE to manage ISY?  The ISY launcher puts a shortcut on the desktop that seems to run (what appears to me) a desktop application, and if I click on the ID or URL field, a dialog appears asking me do I want the admin console, or the dashboard?  Much of my reading mentions the admin console; the dashboard not so much.
So some questions:
1.    My understanding is that Java is a language that is executed via a Java Virtual Machine.  Is the IE Java plugin installing a JVM? Does the JVM exist only within the context of IE, or can it be used standalone?
2.    The dashboard and Admin console selections in the popup appear to start standalone apps.  Are these, in fact, Java apps?
3.    What exactly is the dependency in the ISY tools and apps on Java?
4.    The documentation talks about an HTML user interface, and then in a further section talks about something called UDAJAX.  Are these in fact the same thing?  The doc says they don't require Java.  So presumably using this interface, I can manage the ISY over the internet?
5.    What are the feature differences between the HTML interface and the Admin Console/Dashboard apps?
6.    What (at a high level) is the Admin Console used for versus the dashboard? When do I use one, and when do I use the other?
7.    I do most of my daily work on a Surface Book (3000x2000 resolution).  The Admin Console and Dashboard are unreadable with my aged eyes.  My ISY is running 4.7.3 firmware.  I'm told that this font size problem is fixed in the 5.x.x firmware.  Is this correct?
8.    My home automation devices (about 50) are all very standard SWL's, KPL,s, lamplincs, etc -- no zwave or any none smarthome stuff.  So before I start adding devices, I'm wondering if I might be better off starting out with the 5.0.14 beta?  I will be factory resetting all my existing devices before I start. Especially if the 5.x.x firmware addresses the font sizing on high-resolution displays issue?
9.    Is there any kind of utility that can crawl (spider) my devices to see what's in their tables before I start? 
10.    Am I ever going to need to do anything ISY-wise with IE11 going forward?  Microsoft is slowly decommissioning all IE versions -- I'm hesitant to need to rely on IE going forward.
11.    Oracle is changing the way they make JAVA available.  A paid license will be needed by enterprises sometime in 2019, and for individuals, they are only committing to free JAVA through the end of 2020.  So what is UDI's position vis a vis JAVA going forward?

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Hi and welcome to the UDI Forums

4 hours ago, eboyhan said:

1.    My understanding is that Java is a language that is executed via a Java Virtual Machine.  Is the IE Java plugin installing a JVM? Does the JVM exist only within the context of IE, or can it be used standalone?
2.    The dashboard and Admin console selections in the popup appear to start standalone apps.  Are these, in fact, Java apps?
3.    What exactly is the dependency in the ISY tools and apps on Java?

The isy admin console and dashboard are standalone java console apps. They are written in java. You download them to your computer (desktop) and launch them by clicking them directly, no browser interaction required. Recently UDI released the the ISY Launcher. Follow the directions and it will load and execute the correct version of admin console or dashboard. You do not need the browser plugin.

 

4 hours ago, eboyhan said:

4.    The documentation talks about an HTML user interface, and then in a further section talks about something called UDAJAX.  Are these in fact the same thing?  The doc says they don't require Java.  So presumably using this interface, I can manage the ISY over the internet?
5.    What are the feature differences between the HTML interface and the Admin Console/Dashboard apps?
6.    What (at a high level) is the Admin Console used for versus the dashboard? When do I use one, and when do I use the other?
7.    I do most of my daily work on a Surface Book (3000x2000 resolution).  The Admin Console and Dashboard are unreadable with my aged eyes.  My ISY is running 4.7.3 firmware.  I'm told that this font size problem is fixed in the 5.x.x firmware.  Is this correct?

The ISY offers 2 forms of webpage that allow control of devices and programs on the ISY. You open a browser on your local network and type in the address of your ISY to access them. in addition to the default page (UDAJX), there is also one called the home automation dashboard that is more customizable. I continue to use HAD when I travel, I built a "house report" I can look at.  Most users, I believe, have moved to mobile apps instead of these interfaces, but they are still being used.

The admin console is used to connect to your ISY and program it for the automation that you want. The dashboard has some ancillary duties like configuring a connection to your AMI smartmeter (if you have the right plug in card), and for administering SSL certificates. You'll mostly use the admin console. The HTML interface is strictly a remote control mechanism, you do no programming with it.

Under the file menu of the admin console there is a themes sub menu. It allows changing the font size for high resolution monitors.

UDI is planning an html5 version of their tools, so eventually this problem goes away
 

4 hours ago, eboyhan said:

8.    My home automation devices (about 50) are all very standard SWL's, KPL,s, lamplincs, etc -- no zwave or any none smarthome stuff.  So before I start adding devices, I'm wondering if I might be better off starting out with the 5.0.14 beta?  I will be factory resetting all my existing devices before I start. Especially if the 5.x.x firmware addresses the font sizing on high-resolution displays issue?

Yes, I recommend going with the latest beta. I'm all insteon and have been using v5 for a while,  it will offer more features and avoid an upgrade to v5 later. 
Yes, factory reset all devices. I came from homeseer, and that's how I did. Do it a little at a time, room by room, function by function. Start small and do more as you get the hang of it.  The font issue was described above.

 

4 hours ago, eboyhan said:

9.    Is there any kind of utility that can crawl (spider) my devices to see what's in their tables before I start? 

The literal answer is yes, but it is used by not factory resetting and letting the ISY crawl your existing setup I strongly recommend against that. Use your current software as documentation of your set up; device names, scenes, etc. Then, as described above, start with one room and one set of functions/related switches. Factory reset them and set them up on the ISY. Keep things in scenes where possible and do not right ISY programs except where you need them. The move on to more things

There's a learning curve, give yourself a chance to learn the ISY's way of doing things

 

4 hours ago, eboyhan said:

10.    Am I ever going to need to do anything ISY-wise with IE11 going forward?  Microsoft is slowly decommissioning all IE versions -- I'm hesitant to need to rely on IE going forward.
11.    Oracle is changing the way they make JAVA available.  A paid license will be needed by enterprises sometime in 2019, and for individuals, they are only committing to free JAVA through the end of 2020.  So what is UDI's position vis a vis JAVA going forward?

I don't use IE. As described above, I followed the directions for the ISY Launcher and double click its icon on my desktop. For the web pages I described above, those are not browser dependent. I tend to use chrome, but have used chrome, firefox and safari on my phone 

UDI is aware of whats going on with java. as mentioned above, an HTML5 version of the tools is in the works. Currently they want to get V5 of firmware out of the gate
 

FWIW,  I've been using the ISY for 4 1/2 years after migrating from homeseer. I had this learning curve too, but once I got past it, I've been really productive in getting functionality programmed. I also get a lot of use of the the v5 nodeserver feature, integrating my thermostats, sprinkler controller and TV remote. 

I hope this helped

Paul

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Welcome @eboyhan.  As usual, it's very easy to concur with what @paulbates has described. 

The advice to create scenes before programs is likely good, as you may discover some initially perplexing trigger/execution patterns within your programs.  Creating scenes may lead to better initial outcomes, and you can always later re-imagine/re-implement what you're trying to do with programs/scenes in any combination that you like.

The device universe for the v 5.x.x firmware is greatly expanded over v 4.x.x.  Starting fresh with your ISY, I can think of few compelling reasons not to use the v 5.x.x firmware series.  The Beta classification does not mean that your ISY will lack system robustness or basic feature completeness, but IMHO is rather (at this stage in the Alpha/Beta process) due to adapting to the ever-changing device universe.  We've seen very few changes to the Insteon world in the v 5.x.x firmware, other than the addition of a couple of new devices.

Good luck!

 

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If start work the 5.0.14 to avoid issues and hassles later when you do decide to upgrade. No point in learning the old way of setting up to then need to adjust to the new way.  I can't see any reason to stick with the old software even if you don't use any of the features that 5.0 has. 

I too recommend against having the isy import old devices automatically as it will bring in old devices and half links as well. You can spend more time cleaning everything up vs factory resetting and starting fresh. 

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12 hours ago, eboyhan said:

I do most of my daily work on a Surface Book (3000x2000 resolution).  The Admin Console and Dashboard are unreadable with my aged eyes.  My ISY is running 4.7.3 firmware.  I'm told that this font size problem is fixed in the 5.x.x firmware.  Is this correct?

I agree with everything the previous posts indicated, but didn't see this addressed.  I don't know if there's a difference between 4.7.3 and 5.x as far as resolution/scaling issues.  I run strictly linux systems at home but didn't noticed any improvement between 4.7.3 and 5.0.14 as far as resolution/scaling behavior.  Having said that, from posts I've seen on the topic, I thought the issue is mostly fixable for Windows (either version) with the instructions in the the wiki, here.

I'm certainly anxiously waiting for the HTML5 version of the admin console...it should hopefully resolve both the java and scaling issues.

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7 hours ago, paulbates said:

Hi and welcome to the UDI Forums

The isy admin console and dashboard are standalone java console apps. They are written in java. You download them to your computer (desktop) and launch them by clicking them directly, no browser interaction required. Recently UDI released the the ISY Launcher. Follow the directions and it will load and execute the correct version of admin console or dashboard. You do not need the browser plugin.

21

If I use the ISY launcher, I can launch either the Admin Console (AC) or DashBoard (DB), but if I pin them to the taskbar (I'm running W10 1809) and then exit the apps, Icons remain pinned to the taskbar.  However, clicking on those Icons fails to start the apps -- have to go back to the ISY launcher.  You mentioned downloading the AC and DB apps -- how does one do this?  Neither of these appear as apps in the W10 Start menu list of installed apps.

How does one do the multi-quoting as you did in your response to me?  I can't figure it out, and there appears to be no documentation as to how to use this forum system that I could find.

 

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8 hours ago, paulbates said:

The ISY offers 2 forms of webpage that allow control of devices and programs on the ISY. You open a browser on your local network and type in the address of your ISY to access them. in addition to the default page (UDAJX), there is also one called the home automation dashboard that is more customizable. I continue to use HAD when I travel, I built a "house report" I can look at.  Most users, I believe, have moved to mobile apps instead of these interfaces, but they are still being used.

The admin console is used to connect to your ISY and program it for the automation that you want. The dashboard has some ancillary duties like configuring a connection to your AMI smartmeter (if you have the right plug in card), and for administering SSL certificates. You'll mostly use the admin console. The HTML interface is strictly a remote control mechanism, you do no programming with it.

Under the file menu of the admin console there is a themes sub menu. It allows changing the font size for high resolution monitors.

UDI is planning an html5 version of their tools, so eventually this problem goes away

8

I'm guessing from your reply that HAD and the Dashboard are two different things? HAD and UDAJAX are two different ways to get at AC-like functionality from a web page? Yes? What differences are there between the AC desktop app, and the web interfaces.  Up to this point I've been focusing on PC-based usage.  I also gather that there are Smartphone apps for ISY management.  I use Android 9 (PIE) -- so what are the choices there?

Back when I started using Insteon in place of X10, I spent a lot of time on the SmartHome Insteon forums.  Many there were advocating ISY over HouseLinc.  They pushed mostly on the programmability aspects.  I am a long time systems programmer; been there done that.  Had no interest (and still don't) in programming.  My automation needs are fairly simple -- I just can't think of anything that I want to do that would involve programming.  

I'm not sure that I'd ever use a smartphone to manage ISY, but sure to cause the Insteon devices to do stuff.  I also have over 10 Amazon Echo devices throughout the house (only having 4 wake words is a major pain :grin) 

Physically next to the 994i is a laptop whose display is FullHD.  AC and DB are much more readable there.  I tried the themes font feature on that machine -- it worked -- I'll try it on the Surface Book (as soon as I can see the file menu ?).  I also have a Surface Studio 2 (4500x3000) that might be good for topology displays (if such exist).

8 hours ago, paulbates said:

Yes, I recommend going with the latest beta. I'm all insteon and have been using v5 for a while,  it will offer more features and avoid an upgrade to v5 later. 
Yes, factory reset all devices. I came from homeseer, and that's how I did. Do it a little at a time, room by room, function by function. Start small and do more as you get the hang of it.  The font issue was described above.

Everyone who responded here recommends 5.0.14 -- so that's what I'll do.

 

8 hours ago, paulbates said:

The literal answer is yes, but it is used by not factory resetting and letting the ISY crawl your existing setup I strongly recommend against that. Use your current software as documentation of your set up; device names, scenes, etc. Then, as described above, start with one room and one set of functions/related switches. Factory reset them and set them up on the ISY. Keep things in scenes where possible and do not right ISY programs except where you need them. The move on to more things

There's a learning curve, give yourself a chance to learn the ISY's way of doing things

I'm NOT looking for something that ISY could use to add devices/themes.  All I want is something that will crawl my network and prepare a report -- so I can see what's there.  About a year ago the machine containing all the HouseLinc configuration had a hard doorstopper crash -- all was lost.  I was having problems with HL recognizing the latest PLM (the one I had been using failed).  I could probably reconstruct from OneDrive, but that seems a lot of work, and since the crash, I've been manually adding and linking devices, that wouldn't give me a complete picture.  It just seems to me that there ought to be some kind of diagnostic utility that could report on the state of all the Insteon device tables.

Oh, and lest I forget, Thank you very very much for your detailed responses -- I feel a lot more comfortable going forward.

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9 hours ago, paulbates said:

UDI is aware of whats going on with java. as mentioned above, an HTML5 version of the tools is in the works. Currently they want to get V5 of firmware out of the gat

Since I follow closely what Microsoft's plans are (especially with Edge), and since you mentioned that UDI has HTML5 on its to-do list, I would recommend that whatever they do be done as Progressive Web Apps (PWA).  PWA's are something that Google and Microsoft have been working on.  PWA's are web apps with virtually all of the benefits of dedicated desktop apps.  PWA's have the potential to alleviate much of the siloing we've seen in recent years in the mobile app universe -- just saying FWIW.

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2 hours ago, eboyhan said:

Physically next to the 994i is a laptop whose display is FullHD.  AC and DB are much more readable there.  I tried the themes font feature on that machine -- it worked -- I'll try it on the Surface Book (as soon as I can see the file menu ?).  I also have a Surface Studio 2 (4500x3000) that might be good for topology displays (if such exist).

I have a 4K display and was having problem with the font being too small to read.  The instructions here, which configure JAVA to respect the system setting to scale fonts, solved my issue.

 

3 hours ago, eboyhan said:

How does one do the multi-quoting as you did in your response to me?

If you select text within a previous post, you should see a "Quote selection" box (see image below).  Just click that, and the selected text will be quoted into your response box at the current location of the cursor.  Repeat for as many quotes as you want, even quotes from different people.

image.thumb.png.004f335aa493b19fba1d4a1f6e95457b.png

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