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eWeLink released beta version of Home Assistant support: users criticize

eWeLink Home Assistant logo mock-up
eWeLink Home Assistant logo mock-up by Telegram-user Mikelgalaxy

eWeLink themself is completely new to Home Assistant and asked a very small userbase for some input on how to build their official Home Assistant plugin from scratch. A few days ago eWeLink released their beta version of that plugin. Instructions for adding the add-on manually can be found at https://appcms-src.coolkit.cn/uncategorized/9213.html. A Docker version can be found at https://github.com/CoolKit-Technologies/ha-addon.

WARNING!

Most people in the community advise against using this beta release of the Home Assistant support of eWeLink because it doesn’t follow the guidelines for using hardware within Home Assistant and also interacts with Home Assistant in the wrong way.

Users were not happy with the solution eWeLink chose. eWeLink wrote the plugin as an add-on to Home Assistant instead of an integration. It turns out that eWeLink supported devices are hard to automate with Home Assistant in this way. Unfortunately the writer of this article doesn’t have experience with Home Assistant yet so to the writer it is a bit hard to judge and to go in-depth.

Even the founder of Home Assistant (Paulus Schoutsen, Reddit user balloob) is not happy with the solution eWeLink chose. He described the way eWeLink built the add-on has the appearance of vendor lock-in and it misuses the Home Assistant API. He offered to setup a call with him so that eWeLink can receive some pointers on where to start building a correct official integration for Home Assistant:

Home Assistant founder Paulus Schoutsen at Reddit

eWeLink’s statement to the critics given on their eWeLink beta add-on for Home Assistant

eWeLink came up with a statement to the critics people gave on the beta version of the add-on for Home Assistant:

Please read our statement in responding to HA founder:

Hi Paulus

We’d like to clear up some misunderstandings here.

We constantly get a lot of feedback about Home Assistant support for eWeLink devices.
After reviewing the integration and add-ons docs, our team decided to develop an add-on version to support Home Assistant as soon as possible. We chose Add-ons instead of Integrations simply because we’re not familiar with Python. We believe that the Add-on is easy to install and upgrade. Eventually we used Home Assistant’s existing REST API to add and SOCKET API to control devices.
Seems like there are misuses here, and we would very much like to fix them.
Hopefully we can clarify the fact that we didn’t implement a proprietary API to add entities.

We hope to support and grow up with makers, and more Home Assistant users can control eWeLink devices on HA easily. This add-on is open source, we put the code on GitHub, so that anyone can access to the code and customize their own add-on version.

Vendor lock-in is never our intention. On the contrary, we offer an open API to allow makers to create their own smart home projects. Projects like SonoffLAN work because our API is always open. We don’t intend to prevent access to third-party integrations.

We look forward to further conversations to discuss how we can work better with Home Assistant. We would like to schedule a call or video meeting at your convenience.

Regards,
eWeLink Team

Source: eWeLink employee Lily Caiwen at the semi-public Telegram group for beta testers of the eWeLink Home Asssistant support, May 12th, 2021, 15:25 GMT+1

We are very happy to schedule a meeting with the founder. We hope this statement can clarify your doubts as well. There is no selfish intention and we are open to advices and further discussions to make a better HA integration.

Source: eWeLink employee Lily Caiwen at the semi-public Telegram group for beta testers of the eWeLink Home Asssistant support, May 12th, 2021, 15:28 GMT+1

Above statement and addition has been made in the semi-public Telegram group “eWeLink & Home Assistant”. People can join this group at this invitation link as long as the invitation link remain valid: https://t.me/joinchat/RkXAHh47kmI2Y2Nl

Apologies accepted by users

Many members of the above mentioned Telegram group accept the apologies of eWeLink and hope to see something great will come out of it. Some comments of the users:

It’s a good start, I’m hoping something great comes out of this 👍🏻

Source: User Carlos Vitorio Roque at the semi-public Telegram group for beta testers of the eWeLink Home Asssistant support, May 12th, 2021, 15:28 GMT+1

Wow! @lilycai , @AlexxIT and @frenck_dev all together in a Telegram group about eWeLink & Home Assistant. You three are all legends! Something good must be coming from this. 😃

Source: User ResonatorPlus at the semi-public Telegram group for beta testers of the eWeLink Home Asssistant support, May 12th, 2021, 15:28 GMT+1

Please note Alex X (creator of the well-known existing community driven eWeLink integration for Home Assistant called “SonoffLAN“) also joined the group about the eWeLink plugin for Home Assistant. Frank Nijhof (@frenck_dev) is a co-founder of Home Assistant.

And user Vita Fasano replied to that:

[Answer to ResonatorPlus]
We all hope this 🤞

Source: User Vito Fasano at the semi-public Telegram group for beta testers of the eWeLink Home Asssistant support, May 12th, 2021, 15:28 GMT+1

What’s next?

We don’t exactly know. It is clear eWeLink will have a few calls / discussion with both the founder of Home Assistant and the creator of the already popular SonoffLAN integration to get started with building an integration in the correct way. We are curious what exactly will come out of this and how users will react to the endresult.

What are your thoughts on this story? Let us know below in the comments!

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