Scott Hanselman

Using Home Assistant to integrate a Unifi Protect G4 Doorbell and Amazon Alexa to announce visitors

December 14, 2021 Comment on this post [0] Posted in Home Server | Musings
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I am not a Home Assistant expert, but it's clearly a massive and powerful ecosystem. I've interviewed the creator of Home Assistant on my podcast and I encourage you to check out that chat.

Home Assistant can quickly become a hobby that overwhelms you. Every object (entity) in your house that is even remotely connected can become programmable. Everything. Even people! You can declare that any name:value pair that (for example) your phone can expose can be consumable by Home Assistant. Questions like "is Scott home" or "what's Scott's phone battery" can be associated with Scott the Entity in the Home Assistant Dashboard.

I was amazed at the devices/objects that Home Assistant discovered that it could automate. Lights, remotes, Spotify, and more. You'll find that any internally connected device you have likely has an Integration available.

Temperature, Light Status, sure, that's easy Home Automation. But integrations and 3rd party code can give you details like "Is the Living Room dark" or "is there motion in the driveway." From these building blocks, you can then build your own IFTTT (If This Then That) automations, combining not just two systems, but any and all disparate systems.

What's the best part? This all runs LOCALLY. Not in a cloud or the cloud or anyone's cloud. I've got my stuff running on a Raspberry Pi 4. Even better I put a Power Over Ethernet (PoE) hat on my Rpi so I have just one network wire into my hub that powers the Pi.

I believe setting up Home Assistant on a Pi is the best and easiest way to get started. That said, you can also run in a Docker Container, on a Synology or other NAS, or just on Windows or Mac in the background. It's up to you. Optionally, you can pay Nabu Casa $5 for remote (outside your house) network access via transparent forwarding. But to be clear, it all still runs inside your house and not in the cloud.

Basic Home Assistant Setup

OK, to the main point. I used to have an Amazon Ring Doorbell that would integrate with Amazon Alexa and when you pressed the doorbell it would say "Someone is at the front door" on our all Alexas. It was a lovely little integration that worked nicely in our lives.

Front Door UniFi G4 Doorbell

However, I swapped out the Ring for a Unifi Protect G4 Doorbell for a number of reasons. I don't want to pump video to outside services, so this doorbell integrates nicely with my existing Unifi installation and records video to a local hard drive. However, I lose any Alexa integration and this nice little "someone is at the door" announcement. So this seems like a perfect job for Home Assistant.

Here's the general todo list:

  • Install Home Assistant
  • Install Home Assistant Community Store
    • This enables 3rd party "untrusted" integrations directly from GitHub. You'll need a GitHub account and it'll clone custom integrations directly into your local HA.
    • I also recommend the Terminal & SSH (9.2.2), File editor (5.3.3) add ons so you can see what's happening.
  • Get the UniFi Protect 3rd party integration for Home Assistant
    • NOTE: Unifi Protect support is being promoted in Home Assistant v2022.2 so you won't need this step soon as it'll be included.
    • "The UniFi Protect Integration adds support for retrieving Camera feeds and Sensor data from a UniFi Protect installation on either an Ubiquiti CloudKey+, Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine Pro or UniFi Protect Network Video Recorder."
    • Authenticate and configure this integration.
  • Get the Alexa Media Player integration
    • This makes all your Alexas show up in Home Assistant as "media players" and also allows you to tts (text to speech) to them.
    • Authenticate and configure this integration.

I recommend going into your Alexa app and making a Multi-room Speaker Group called "everywhere." Not only because it's nice to be able to say "play the music everywhere" but you can also target that "Everywhere" group in Home Assistant.

Go into your Home Assistant UI at http://homeassistant.local:8123/ and into Developer Tools. Under Services, try pasting in this YAML and clicking "call service."

service: notify.alexa_media_everywhere
data:
  message: Someone is at the front door, this is a test
  data:
    type: announce
    method: speak

If that works, you know you can automate Alexa and make it say things. Now, go to Configuration, Automation, and Add a new Automation. Here's mine. I used the UI to create it. Note that your Entity names may be different if you give your front doorbell camera a different name.

Binary_sensor.front_door_doorbell

Notice the format of Data, it's name value pairs within a single field's value.

Alexa Action

...but it also exists in a file called Automations.yaml. Note that the "to: 'on'" trigger is required or you'll get double announcements, one for each state change in the doorbell.

- id: '1640995128073'
  alias: G4 Doorbell Announcement with Alexa
  description: G4 Doorbell Announcement with Alexa
  trigger:
  - platform: state
    entity_id: binary_sensor.front_door_doorbell
    to: 'on'
  condition: []
  action:
  - service: notify.alexa_media_everywhere
    data:
      data:
        type: announce
        method: speak
      message: Someone is at the front door
  mode: single

It works! There's a ton of cool stuff I can automate now!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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JavaScript and TypeScript Projects with React, Angular, or Vue in Visual Studio 2022 with or without .NET

November 25, 2021 Comment on this post [1] Posted in ASP.NET | Javascript | Web Services
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I was reading Gabby's blog post about the new TypeScript/JavaScript project experience in Visual Studio 2022. You should read the docs on JavaScript and TypeScript in Visual Studio 2022.

If you're used to ASP.NET apps when you think about apps that are JavaScript heavy, "front end apps" or TypeScript focused, it can be confusing as to "where does .NET fit in?"

You need to consider the responsibilities of your various projects or subsystems and the multiple totally valid ways you can build a web site or web app. Let's consider just a few:

  1. An ASP.NET Web app that renders HTML on the server but uses TS/JS
    • This may have a Web API, Razor Pages, with or without the MVC pattern.
    • You maybe have just added JavaScript via <script> tags
    • Maybe you added a script minimizer/minifier task
    • Can be confusing because it can feel like your app needs to 'build both the client and the server' from one project
  2. A mostly JavaScript/TypeScript frontend app where the HTML could be served from any web server (node, kestrel, static web apps, nginx, etc)
    • This app may use Vue or React or Angular but it's not an "ASP.NET app"
    • It calls backend Web APIs that may be served by ASP.NET, Azure Functions, 3rd party REST APIs, or all of the above
    • This scenario has sometimes been confusing for ASP.NET developers who may get confused about responsibility. Who builds what, where do things end up, how do I build and deploy this?

VS2022 brings JavaScript and TypeScript support into VS with a full JavaScript Language Service based on TS. It provides a TypeScript NuGet Package so you can build your whole app with MSBuild and VS will do the right thing.

NEW: Starting in Visual Studio 2022, there is a new JavaScript/TypeScript project type (.esproj) that allows you to create standalone Angular, React, and Vue projects in Visual Studio.

The .esproj concept is great for folks familiar with Visual Studio as we know that a Solution contains one or more Projects. Visual Studio manages files for a single application in a Project. The project includes source code, resources, and configuration files. In this case we can have a .csproj for a backend Web API and an .esproj that uses a client side template like Angular, React, or Vue.

Thing is, historically when Visual Studio supported Angular, React, or Vue, it's templates were out of date and not updated enough. VS2022 uses the native CLIs for these front ends, solving that problem with Angular CLI, Create React App, and Vue CLI.

If I am in VS and go "File New Project" there are Standalone templates that solve Example 2 above. I'll pick JavaScript React.

Standalone JavaScript Templates in VS2022

Then I'll click "Add integration for Empty ASP.NET Web API. This will give me a frontend with javascript ready to call a ASP.NET Web API backend. I'll follow along here.

Standalone JavaScript React Template

It then uses the React CLI to make the front end, which again, is cool as it's whatever version I want it to be.

React Create CLI

Then I'll add my ASP.NET Web API backend to the same solution, so now I have an esproj and a csproj like this

frontend and backend

Now I have a nice clean two project system - in this case more JavaScript focused than .NET focused. This one uses npm to startup the project using their web development server and proxyMiddleware to proxy localhost:3000 calls over to the ASP.NET Web API project.

Here is a React app served by npm calling over to the Weather service served from Kestrel on ASP.NET.

npm app running in VS 2022 against an ASP.NET Web API

This is inverted than most ASP.NET Folks are used to, and that's OK. This shows me that Visual Studio 2022 can support either development style, use the CLI that is installed for whatever Frontend Framework, and allow me to choose what web server and web browser (via Launch.json) I want.

If you want to flip it, and put ASP.NET Core as the primary and then bring in some TypeScript/JavaScript, follow this tutorial because that's also possible!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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A Nightscout Segment for OhMyPosh shows my realtime Blood Sugar readings in my Git Prompt

November 23, 2021 Comment on this post [3] Posted in Diabetes | Open Source
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I've talked about how I love a nice pretty prompt in my Windows Terminal and made videos showing in detail how to do it. I've also worked with my buddy TooTallNate to put my real-time blood sugar into a bash or PowerShell prompt, but this was back in 2017.

Now that I'm "Team OhMyPosh" I have been meaning to write a Nightscout "segment" for my prompt. Nightscout is an open source self-hosted (there are commercial hosts also like T1Pal) website and API for remote display of real-time and near-real-time glucose readings for Diabetics like myself.

Since my body has an active REST API where I can just do an HTTP GET (via curl or whatever) and see my blood sugar, it clearly belongs in a place of honor, just like my current Git Branch!

My blood sugar in my Prompt!

Oh My Posh supports configurable "segments" and now there's a beta (still needs mmol and stale readings support) Nightscout segment that you can setup in just a few minutes!

This prompt works in ANY shell on ANY os! You can do this in zsh, PowerShell, Bash, whatever makes you happy.

Here is a YouTube of Jan from OhMyPosh and I coding the segment LIVE in Go.

If you have an existing OhMyPosh json config, you can just add another segment like this. Make sure your Nightscout URL includes a secure Token or is public (up to you). Note also that I setup "if/then" rules in my background_templates. These are optional and up to you to change to your taste. I set my background colors to red, yellow, green depending on sugar numbers. I also have a foreground template that is not really used, as you can see it always evaluates to black #000, but it shows you how you could set it to white text on a darker background if you wanted.

{
"type": "nightscout",
"style": "diamond",
"foreground": "#ffffff",
"background": "#ff0000",
"background_templates": [
"{{ if gt .Sgv 150 }}#FFFF00{{ end }}",
"{{ if lt .Sgv 60 }}#FF0000{{ end }}",
"#00FF00"
],
"foreground_templates": [
"{{ if gt .Sgv 150 }}#000000{{ end }}",
"{{ if lt .Sgv 60 }}#000000{{ end }}",
"#000000"
],

"leading_diamond": "",
"trailing_diamond": "\uE0B0",
"properties": {
"url": "https://YOURNIGHTSCOUTAPP.herokuapp.com/api/v1/entries.json?count=1&token=APITOKENFROMYOURADMIN",
"http_timeout": 1500,
"template": " {{.Sgv}}{{.TrendIcon}}"
}
},

By default we will only go out and hit your Nightscout instance every 5 min, only when the prompt is repainted, and we'll only wait 1500ms before giving up. You can set that "http_timeout" (how long before we give up) if you feel this slows you down. It'll be cached for 5 min so it's unlikely  to b something you'll notice. The benefit of this new OhMyPosh segment over the previous solution is that it requires no additional services/chron jobs and can be setup extremely quickly. Note also that you can customize your template with NerdFonts. I've included a tiny syringe!

What a lovely prompt with Blood Sugar!

Next I'll hope to improve the segment with mmol support as well as strikeout style for "stale" (over 15 min old) results. You're also welcome to help out by watching our YouTube and submitting a PR!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Upgrading a 20 year old University Project to .NET 6 with dotnet-upgrade-assistant

November 18, 2021 Comment on this post [7] Posted in DotNetCore | Open Source
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I wrote a Tiny Virtual Operating System for a 300-level OS class in C# for college back in 2001 (?) and later moved it to VB.NET in 2002. This is all pre-.NET Core, and on early .NET 1.1 or 2.0 on Windows. I moved it to GitHub 5 years ago and ported it to .NET Core 2.0 at the time. At this point it was 15 years old, so it was cool to see this project running on Windows, Linux, in Docker, and on a Raspberry Pi...a machine that didn't exist when the project was originally written.

NOTE: If the timeline is confusing, I had already been working in industry for years at this point but was still plugging away at my 4 year degree at night. It eventually took 11 years to complete my BS in Software Engineering.

This evening, as the children slept, I wanted to see if I could run the .NET Upgrade Assistant on this now 20 year old app and get it running on .NET 6.

Let's start:

$ upgrade-assistant upgrade .\TinyOS.sln
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Microsoft .NET Upgrade Assistant v0.3.256001+3c4e05c787f588e940fe73bfa78d7eedfe0190bd

We are interested in your feedback! Please use the following link to open a survey: https://aka.ms/DotNetUASurvey
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[22:58:01 INF] Loaded 5 extensions
[22:58:02 INF] Using MSBuild from C:\Program Files\dotnet\sdk\6.0.100\
[22:58:02 INF] Using Visual Studio install from C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\2022\Preview [v17]
[22:58:06 INF] Initializing upgrade step Select an entrypoint
[22:58:07 INF] Setting entrypoint to only project in solution: C:\Users\scott\TinyOS\src\TinyOSCore\TinyOSCore.csproj
[22:58:07 INF] Recommending executable TFM net6.0 because the project builds to an executable
[22:58:07 INF] Initializing upgrade step Select project to upgrade
[22:58:07 INF] Recommending executable TFM net6.0 because the project builds to an executable
[22:58:07 INF] Recommending executable TFM net6.0 because the project builds to an executable
[22:58:07 INF] Initializing upgrade step Back up project

See how the process is interactive at the command line, with color prompts and a series of dynamic multiple-choice questions?

Updating .NET project with the upgrade assistant

Interestingly, it builds on the first try, no errors.

When I manually look at the .csproj I can see some weird version numbers, likely from some not-quite-baked version of .NET Core 2 I used many years ago. My spidey sense says this is wrong, and I'm assuming the upgrade assistant didn't understand it.

    <!-- <PackageReference Include="ILLink.Tasks" Version="0.1.4-preview-906439" /> -->
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration" Version="2.0.0-preview2-final" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.Json" Version="2.0.0-preview2-final" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection" Version="2.0.0-preview2-final" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.Extensions.Options.ConfigurationExtensions" Version="2.0.0-preview2-final" />

I also note a commented-out reference to ILLink.Tasks which was a preview feature in Mono's Linker to reduce the final size of apps and tree-trim them. Some of that functionality is built into .NET 6 now so I'll use that during the build and packaging process later. The reference is not needed today.

I'm gonna blindly upgrade them to .NET 6 and see what happens. I could do this by just changing the numbers and seeing if it restores and builds, but I can also try dotnet outdated which remains a lovely tool in the upgrader's toolkit.

image

This "outdated" tool is nice as it talks to NuGet and confirms that there are newer versions of certain packages.

In my tests - which were just batch files at this early time - I was calling my dotnet app like this:

dotnet netcoreapp2.0/TinyOSCore.dll 512 scott13.txt  

This will change to the modern form with just TinyOSCore.exe 512 scott13.txt with an exe and args and no ceremony.

Publishing and trimming my TinyOS turns into just a 15 meg EXE. Nice considering that the .NET I need is in there with no separate install. I could turn this little synthetic OS into a microservice if I wanted to be totally extra.

dotnet publish -r win-x64 --self-contained -p:PublishSingleFile=true -p:SuppressTrimAnalysisWarnings=true

If I add

-p:EnableCompressionInSingleFile=true

Then it's even smaller. No code changes. Run all my tests, looks good. My project from university from .NET 1.1 is now .NET 6.0, cross platform, self-contained in 11 megs in a single EXE. Sweet.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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.NET 6 Hot Reload and "Refused to connect to ws: because it violates the Content Security Policy directive" because Web Sockets

November 16, 2021 Comment on this post [7] Posted in DotNetCore
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If you're excited about Hot Reload like me AND you also want an "A" grade from SecurityHeaders.com (really, go try this now) then you will learn very quickly about Content-Security-Policy headers. You need to spend some time reading and you may end up with a somewhat sophisticated list of allowed things, scripts, stylesheets, etc.

In DasBlog Core (the cross platform blog engine that runs this blog) Mark Downie makes these configurable and uses the NWebSpec ASP.NET Middleware library to add the needed headers.

if (SecurityStyleSources != null && SecurityScriptSources != null && DefaultSources != null)
{
app.UseCsp(options => options
.DefaultSources(s => s.Self()
.CustomSources(DefaultSources)
)
.StyleSources(s => s.Self()
.CustomSources(SecurityStyleSources)
.UnsafeInline()
)
.ScriptSources(s => s.Self()
.CustomSources(SecurityScriptSources)
.UnsafeInline()
.UnsafeEval()
)
);
}

Each of those variables comes out of a config file. Yes, it would be more security if they came out of a vault or were even hard coded.

DasBlog is a pretty large and cool app and we noticed immediately upon Mark upgrading it to .NET 6 that we were unable to use Hot Reload (via dotnet watch or from VS 2022). We can complain about it, or we can learn about how it works and why it's not working for us!

Remember: Nothing in your computer is hidden from you.

Starting with a simple "View Source" we can see a JavaScript include at the very bottom that is definitely not mine!

<script src="/_framework/aspnetcore-browser-refresh.js"></script>

Ok, this makes sense as we know not only does HotReload support C# (code behinds) but also Markup via Razor Pages and changing CSS! It would definitely need to communicate "back home" to the runner which is either "dotnet watch" or VS2022.

If I change the ASPNETCORE_ENVIRONMENT to "Production" (either via launch.json, launchsettings, or an environment variable like this, I can see that extra HotReload helper script isn't there:

C:\github\wshotreloadtest>dotnet run --environment="Production"
Building...
info: Microsoft.Hosting.Lifetime[14]
Now listening on: https://localhost:7216
info: Microsoft.Hosting.Lifetime[14]
Now listening on: http://localhost:5216

Remember: You never want to use dotnet run in production! It's an SDK building command! You'll want to use dotnet exec your.dll, dotnet your.dll, or best of all, in .NET 6 just call the EXE directly! .\bin\Debug\net6.0\wshotreloadtest.exe in my example. Why? dotnet run will always assume it's in Development (you literally tell it to restore, build, and exec in one run command) if you run it. You'll note that running the actual EXE is always WAY faster as well! Don't ship your .NET SDK to your webserver and don't recompile the whole thing on startup in production!

We can see that that aspnnetcore-browser-refresh.js is the client side of Development-time HotReload. Looking at our browser console we see :

Refused to Connect because it violates a CSP Directive

Refused to connect to 'wss://localhost:62486/' 
because it violates the following Content Security Policy
directive: "default-src 'self'".
Note that 'connect-src' was not explicitly set,
so 'default-src' is used as a fallback.

That's a lot to think about. I started out my ASP.NET Web App's middle ware saying it was OK to talk "back to myself" but nowhere else.

app.UseCsp(options => options.DefaultSources(s => s.Self())); 

Hm, self seems reasonable, why can't the browser connect BACK to the dotnet run'ed Kestrel Web Server? It's all localhost, right? Well, specifically it's http://localhost not ws://localhost, or even wss://localhost (that extra s is for secure) so I need to explicitly allow ws: or wss: or both, but only in Development.

Maybe like this (again, I'm using NWebSpec, but these are just HTTP Headers so you can literally just add them if you want, hardcoded.)

app.UseCsp(options => options.DefaultSources(s => s.Self())
.ConnectSources(s => s.CustomSources("wss://localhost:62895")));

But port numbers change, right? Let's do just wss:, only in Development. Now, if I'm using both CSPs and WebSockets (ws:, wss:) in Production, I'll need to be intentional about this.

What's the moral?

If you start using CSP Headers to tighten things up, be conscious and aware of the headers you need for conveniences like Hot Reload in Development versus whatever things you may need in Production.

Hope this helps save you some time!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.