Posted on January 11, 2016
Besides the bindings, one important improvement is the replacement of the Google calender integration by a generic CalDAV integration. This makes it possible to use any CalDAV-compatible calender for triggering actions, like e.g. OwnCloud.
Work has also been done on my.openHAB, which has a much improved communication layer that should make the remote access to openHAB instances faster and more reliable. It is now also possible to send broadcast notifications to all your connected devices and you can clean up your account by deleting items that are not used anymore.
Updates of the Android and iOS apps will also follow in due course, while the Pebble app has already been updated with a couple of bug fixes.
openHAB 1.8 is the last release which comes with a runtime and a designer. While development of the 1.x branch will continue, it will from now on purely address the add-ons. Future 1.9 add-ons can then be used on a 1.8 runtime and a 2.0 runtime likewise.
One of the biggest changes that the 2.0 beta1 runtime brings over alpha2 is that it now uses Apache Karaf underneath. This lets us implement many features that were not possible before: We now e.g. have a proper dependency management in place for all add-ons, through which the runtime will automatically resolve and install all required dependencies of an add-on to install. The distribution also comes in two flavors: An "offline" and an "online" version, where the offline-distribution is a self-contained zip, which installs add-ons from the local filesystem, while the online-distribution download sthem from a remote repository on demand.
Besides these major changes to the runtime, there are also new features in openHAB 2, like bindings for SMA Energy Meter, the Lutron system or Samsung TVs. The Paper UI has made some good progress, which you can check out in this screencast. One of my personal highlights is the new Basic UI, which is meant as a replacement for the Classic UI. Besides using Material Design instead of early iOS webapp style, it also uses the modern REST API with SSE support.
From a user perspective, the focus for now is making the transition from openHAB 1 to openHAB 2 as smooth as possible. This means that no paradigms of openHAB 1 are broken, but rather evolved. As a consequence, users are still required to use textual configuration just like before - items, sitemap, rules etc. are all configured through according files. Lowering the entry barriers for non-technical users is something that will be worked on for the final 2.0 release, but has a lower priority than offering a smooth transition for existing users.
I am looking forward to your feedback about the new distribution and I hope that all openHAB developers will join me in making it the best openHAB version ever!
This blog contains post from different openHAB Foundation members - any member is free to share knowledge, news and information about events etc. here.