Homey Community Forum

Athom support and Homey apps from the community

Hello everybody, I’m using ioBroker at the moment and I’m thinking about switching to Homey. My problem with ioBroker is that unpaid developers write plugins for the system in their spare time. Nobody can demand them to fix bugs or support new devices. You have to rely on the willingness of the developers to help. For me, that’s ok, because it doesn’t cost anything.
At first I was enthusiastic about Homey because there is a commercial company behind it. But now it seems to me that there are also volunteers programming the apps and as a customer you have no claim that the system works properly.

My question is, why you have to pay up to 400€ as a customer, if it is another project where you depend on the good will of the volunteer developers?
Does Athom have control over the app developers?
Are they paid?
Can the customer expect the apps to work properly? And what if the don’t?
What happens if I extend my Smarthome for years and then a developer decides not to continue his project anymore?

Cheers,
MDN

1 Like

Because you’re paying up to €400 for a hardware platform that ties together common RF technology (Zigbee, Z-Wave, WiFi, BLE, 433, 868) with software to manage the device in an easy way. It’s a device meant for regular consumers (not necessarily power users) that want to start with automating their home.

To some extend:

  • Athom develops and publishes the API’s that app developers have to use
  • Athom controls the app store, and apps (including updates) are verified by Athom before they are published
  • because Athom controls the app store, they have the absolute right to refuse or reject apps from the store

Most of them aren’t. Some of them get paid by hardware companies to develop apps for their devices, or get donations from users, but Athom itself doesn’t pay any third-party developers.

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that most app developers use their own apps, so they have an incentive to publish working apps. No in the sense that the verification process that Athom imposes for the app store doesn’t actually check if the app will work properly, so app updates may break functionality or don’t work altogether (although in those situations, the app developer will typically rush to fix the problem and get it published asap).

Also, in may happen that apps support devices that the app developer doesn’t own themselves, and they have to rely on other users to test the app. In that case, not every use case may have been tested properly.

You typically contact the app developer and tell them that you have a problem with their app. Most app developers will gladly try and help.

All third-party apps have to be open source, so you may be able to fix the app yourself, or find another developer that can fix it. Some apps have changed developer over the years because the original developer stopped working on it and transferred the app to another developer.

3 Likes

In general it is a weakness and a strenght off this system. Most apps even work better as Athoms own developed apps. The weakness is that if a developer stops maintaining his app it could not work anymore. Luckily there is a big community and this does not happen often. Sometimes Athom decides to implement some features of that app. For instance the candy app. I used it a lot. But is wasn’t maintained. Athom has implemented many features off the candy app now. For me the candy app isn’t nescesarry anymore. So the strenght is that many devices are supported(more than Athom can do at this moment). The weakness is you have to depend on those developers for maintaining the app. In practice it works quite well. Maybe this weakness is a strenght too.