Fauxmo README

BuildStatus

Python 3 module that emulates Belkin WeMo devices for use with the Amazon Echo.

Originally forked from https://github.com/makermusings/fauxmo, unforked to enable GitHub code search (which currently doesn’t work in a fork), and because the libraries have diverged substantially.

Introduction

The Amazon Echo is able to control certain types of home automation devices by voice. Fauxmo provides emulated Belkin Wemo devices that the Echo can turn on and off by voice, locally, and with minimal lag time. Currently these Fauxmo devices can be configured to make requests to an HTTP server or to a Home Assistant instance via its Python API and only require a JSON config file for setup.

As of version v0.4.0, Fauxmo uses several API features and f-strings that require Python 3.6+. I highly recommend looking into pyenv if you’re currently on an older Python version and willing to upgrade. Otherwise, check out the FAQ section at the bottom for tips on installing an older Fauxmo version (though note that I will not be continuing development or support for older versions).

Terminology

faux (\ˈfō\): imitation WeMo: Belkin home automation product with which the Amazon Echo can interface

Fauxmo (\ˈfō-mō\): Python 3 module that emulates Belkin WeMo devices for use with the Amazon Echo.

Fauxmo has a server component that helps register “devices” with the Echo (which may be referred to as the Fauxmo server or Fauxmo core). These devices are then exposed individually, each requiring its own port, and may be referred to as a Fauxmo device or a Fauxmo instance. The Echo interacts with each Fauxmo device as if it were a separate WeMo device.

Usage

Installation into a venv is highly recommended, especially since it’s baked into the recent Python versions that Fauxmo requires.

Simple install: From PyPI

  1. python3 -m venv venv
  2. source venv/bin/activate
  3. python3 -m pip install fauxmo
  4. Make a config.json based on config-sample.json
  5. fauxmo -c config.json [-v]

Simple install of dev branch from GitHub (for testing features in

development – for actually contributing to development clone the repo as per below)

  1. python3 -m venv venv
  2. source venv/bin/activate
  3. pip install [-e] git+https://github.com/n8henrie/fauxmo.git@dev

Install for development from GitHub

  1. git clone https://github.com/n8henrie/fauxmo.git
  2. cd fauxmo
  3. python3 -m venv venv
  4. source venv/bin/activate
  5. pip install -e .[dev]
  6. cp config-sample.json config.json
  7. Edit config.json
  8. fauxmo [-v]

Set up the Echo

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa webapp to the Smart Home page
  2. With Fauxmo running, click “Discover devices” (or tell Alexa to “find connected devices”)
  3. Ensure that your Fauxmo devices were discovered and appear with their names in the web interface
  4. Test: “Alexa, turn on [the kitchen light]“

Set fauxmo to run automatically in the background

NB: As discussed in #20, the example files in extras/ are not included when you install from PyPI* (using pip). If you want to use them, you either need to clone the repo or you can download them individually using tools like wget or curl by navigating to the file in your web browser, clicking the Raw button, and using the resulting URL in your address bar.

* As of Fauxmo v0.4.0 extras/ has been added to MANIFEST.in and may be included somewhere depending on installation from the .tar.gz vs whl format – if you can’t find them, you should probably just get the files manually as described above.

systemd (e.g. Raspbian Jessie)

  1. Recommended: add an unprivileged user to run Fauxmo: sudo useradd -r -s /bin/false fauxmo
    • NB: Fauxmo may require root privileges if you’re using ports below 1024
  2. sudo cp extras/fauxmo.service /etc/systemd/system/fauxmo.service
  3. Edit the paths in /etc/systemd/system/fauxmo.service
  4. sudo systemctl enable fauxmo.service
  5. sudo systemctl start fauxmo.service

launchd (OS X)

  1. cp extras/com.n8henrie.fauxmo.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.n8henrie.fauxmo.plist
  2. Edit the paths in ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.n8henrie.fauxmo.plist
    • You can remove the StandardOutPath and StandardErrorPath sections if desired
  3. launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.n8henrie.fauxmo.plist
  4. launchctl start com.n8henrie.fauxmo

Plugins

Plugins are small user-extendible classes that allow users to easily make their own actions for Fauxmo to run by way of Alexa commands. They were previously called Handlers and may be referred to as such in places in the code and documentation.

Fauxmo v0.4.0 implements a new and breaking change in the way Handlers were implemented in previous versions, which requires modification of the config.json file (as described below).

A few plugins and the ABC from which the plugins are required to inherit are included and installed by default in the fauxmo.plugins package. The pre-installed plugins, like the rest of the core Fauxmo code, have no third party dependencies.

The pre-installed plugins include

  • fauxmo.plugins.simplehttpplugin.SimpleHTTPPlugin
  • fauxmo.plugins.command_line.CommandLinePlugin

SimpleHTTPPlugin responds to Alexa’s on and off commands by making requests to URL endpoints by way of urllib. Example uses cases relevant to the IOT community might be a Flask server served from localhost that provides a nice web interface for toggling switches, whose endpoints could be added as the on_cmd and off_cmd args to a SimpleHTTPPlugin instance to allow activation by way of Alexa -> Fauxmo.

Please see details regarding SimpleHTTPPlugin configuration in the class’s docstring, which I intend to continue as a convention for Fauxmo plugins. Users hoping to make more complicated requests may be interested in looking at RESTAPIPlugin in the fauxmo-plugins repository, which uses Requests for a much friendlier API.

User plugins

Users can easily create their own plugins, which is the motivation behind most of the changes in Fauxmo v0.4.0.

To get started:

  1. Decide on a name for your plugin class. I highly recommend something descriptive, CamelCase and a Plugin suffix, e.g. FooSwitcherPlugin.
  2. I strongly recommend naming your module the same as the plugin, but in all lower case, e.g. fooswitcherplugin.py.
  3. Note the path to your plugin, which will need to be included in your config.json as path (absolute path recommended, ~ for homedir is okay).
  4. Write your class, which should at minimum:
    • inherit from fauxmo.plugins.FauxmoPlugin.
    • provide the methods on() and off().
  5. Any required settings will be read from your config.json and passed into your plugin as kwargs at initialization, see below.

In addition to the above, if you intend to share your plugin with others, I strongly recommend that you:

  • Include generous documentation as a module level docstring.
  • Note specific versions of any dependencies in that docstring.
    • Because these user plugins are kind of “side-loaded,” you will need to manually install their dependencies into the appropriate environment, so it’s important to let other users know exactly what versions you use.

Notable plugin examples

NB: You may need to manually install additional dependencies for these to work – look for the dependencies in the module level docstring.

  • https://github.com/n8henrie/fauxmo-plugins
    • RESTAPIPlugin
      • Trigger HTTP requests with your Echo.
      • Similar to SimpleHTTPPlugin, but uses Requests for a simpler API and easier modification.
    • HassAPIPlugin
    • CommandLinePlugin
      • Run a shell command on the local machine.
    • User contributions of interesting plugins are more than welcome!

Configuration

I recommend that you copy and modify config-sample.json. Fauxmo will use whatever config file you specify with -c or will search for config.json in the current directory, ~/.fauxmo/, and /etc/fauxmo/ (in that order). The minimal configuration settings are:

  • FAUXMO: General Fauxmo settings
    • ip_address: Optional[str] - Manually set the server’s IP address. Recommended value: "auto".
  • PLUGINS: Top level key for your plugins, values should be a dictionary of (likely CamelCase) class names, spelled identically to the plugin class, with each plugin’s settings as a subdictionary.
    • ExamplePlugin: Your plugin class name here, case sensitive.
      • path: The absolute path to the Python file in which the plugin class is defined (please see the section on user plugins above). Required for user plugins / plugins not pre-installed in the fauxmo.plugins subpackage.
      • example_var1: For convenience and to avoid redundancy, your plugin class can optionally use config variables at this level that will be shared for all DEVICES listed in the next section (e.g. an api key that would be shared for all devices of this plugin type). If provided, your plugin class must consume this variable in a custom __init__.
      • DEVICES: List of devices that will employ ExamplePlugin
        • name: Optional[str] – Name for this device. Optional in the sense that you can leave it out of the config as long as you set it in your plugin code as the _name attribute, but it does need to be set somewhere. If you omit it from config you will also need to override the __init__ method, which expects a name kwarg.
        • port: Optional[int] – Port that Echo will use connect to device. Should be different for each device, Fauxmo will attempt to set automatically if absent from config. NB: Like name, you can choose to set manually in your plugin code by overriding the _port attribute (and the __init__ method, which expects a port kwarg otherwise).
        • example_var2: Config variables for individual Fauxmo devices can go here if needed (e.g. the URL that should be triggered when a device is activated). Again, your plugin class will need to consume them in a custom __init__.

Each user plugin should describe its required configuration in its module-level docstring. The only required config variables for all plugins is DEVICES, which is a List[dict] of configuration variables for each device of that plugin type. Under DEVICES it is a good idea to set a fixed, high, free port for each device, but if you don’t set one, Fauxmo will try to pick a reasonable port automatically (though it will change for each run).

Please see config-sample for a more concrete idea of the structure of the config file, using the built-in SimpleHTTPPlugin for demonstration purposes. Below is a description of the kwargs that SimpleHTTPPlugin accepts.

  • name: What you want to call the device (how to activate by Echo)
  • port: Port the Fauxmo device will run on
  • on_cmd: str – URL that should be requested to turn device on.
  • off_cmd: str – URL that should be requested to turn device off.
  • method: Optional[str] = GET – GET, POST, PUT, etc.
  • headers: Optional[dict] – Extra headers
  • on_data / off_data: Optional[dict] – POST data
  • user / password: Optional[str] – Enables HTTP authentication (basic or digest only)

Security considerations

Because Fauxmo v0.4.0+ loads any user plugin specified in their config, it will run untested and potentially unsafe code. If an intruder were to have write access to your config.json, they could cause you all kinds of trouble. Then again, if they already have write access to your computer, you probably have bigger problems. Consider making your config.json 0600 for your user, or perhaps 0644 root:YourFauxmoUser. Use Fauxmo at your own risk, with or without user plugins.

Troubleshooting / FAQ

  • How can I increase my logging verbosity?
    • -v[vv]
  • How can I ensure my config is valid JSON?
    • python -m json.tool < config.json
    • Use jsonlint or one of numerous online tools
  • How can I install an older / specific version of Fauxmo?
    • Install from a tag:
      • pip install git+git://github.com/n8henrie/fauxmo.git@v0.1.11
    • Install from a specific commit:
      • pip install git+git://github.com/n8henrie/fauxmo.git@d877c513ad45cbbbd77b1b83e7a2f03bf0004856
  • Where can I get more information on how the Echo interacts with devices like Fauxmo?

Installing Python 3.6 with pyenv

sudo install -o $(whoami) -g $(whoami) -d /opt/pyenv
git clone https://github.com/yyuu/pyenv /opt/pyenv
echo 'export PYENV_ROOT="/opt/pyenv"' >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'export PATH="$PYENV_ROOT/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'eval "$(pyenv init -)"' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc
pyenv install 3.6.1

You can then install Fauxmo into Python 3.6 in a few ways, including:

# Install with pip
"$(pyenv root)"/versions/3.6.1/bin/python3.6 -m pip install fauxmo

# Show full path to fauxmo console script
pyenv which fauxmo

# Run with included console script
fauxmo -c /path/to/config.json -vvv

# I recommend using the full path for use in start scripts (e.g. systemd, cron)
"$(pyenv root)"/versions/3.6.1/bin/fauxmo -c /path/to/config.json -vvv

# Alternatively, this also works (after `pip install`)
"$(pyenv root)"/versions/3.6.1/bin/python3.6 -m fauxmo.cli -c config.json -vvv