March 11, 2013

Philips Delivers Promised Dev Docs for Colorful Hue LED Lights

We reviewed the Hue LED-powered lightbulbs late last year, and the programmable lights have since become a major part of my life. I wake up with their help in the morning and go to bed with their help in the evening, and the 11 bulbs I've got throughout my home change colors as the day advances—from morning gold to daytime bright to evening dim, and finally to nighttime blues.

Philips Hue light shifting colors

They do this, though, without the help of the official app, which can best be characterized as "cute but ultimately useless." Enterprising Hue users discovered ways into the Hue system's RESTful API some time ago, and the only way to finely control Hue lights is with cron-triggered (or Task Scheduler-triggered) scripts speaking JSON directly to the system. Less-savvy Hue users like my poor parents are stuck manually resetting timers and schedules every night on the official app, which is, frankly, ridiculous.

Since the system's release, Philips has promised that the API and SDK for the lights would be made available for royalty-free use, and that has finally happened. is live as of early this morning, though before you're able to see anything you must agree to Philips conditions of use. Most of the terms are reasonable and they for the most part eschew lawyer language, but a few are worth taking note of:

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