Home Assistant 2023.7 is a quite big and exciting release packed with new features and improvements. So buckle your belts as I’m going to list what is new and hot in ascending order starting from the least excited end finishing with the most exciting new features that we have available, and the first one is:
Table of Contents
New entity dialog for Locks
A new entity dialog for locks and guess what it looks like a switch for consistency. This is a trendy topic from the previous releases and slow and steady one by one all the dialogs inside Home Assistant are starting to look like a switch, which is not something bad, on the contrary it is good to have similarity where possible as it is easier for everyone.
Select timezone to use display
Next one, starting from Home Assistant 2023.7 In your user profile, you now have the ability to choose the timezone that the Home Assistant interface should use. This feature is particularly helpful when you are traveling or if you have family members residing in different timezones.
Moving forward, as there are some Matter standard updates that are not so interesting to me yet as Matter is still not yet as widely adopted as I wish to. Nevertheless, the Matter changes are mostly technical and the regular end user will hardly even notice them, but if you wish you can check the release notes for more info
New script dialog
Next, Upon creating a new script in Home Assistant, a convenient dialog box will appear which is very similar to the one that is already available when you creating new Automations.
This dialog allows you to select either starting from scratch or utilizing one of your imported Blueprints as a foundation. As one of the main Home Assistant developers said in combination with response values from services, scripts will become more viable for sharing as Blueprints, because they can prepare and return data and this dialog complements the whole picture.
Open Assist action
A new action is added called Open Assist Action which is related to the year of the voice. And this is super handy if you have a wall mounted tablet and you want to put one big button on your Home Assistant dashboard that when this button is pressed it will invoke your Home Assistant conversation agent.
Before this new release to access this same functionality you had to use the three dots menu in the upper right. You can still use it, but if that is too many clicks for you and you want some easy access now you can add a button with open assist action and you will be just fine.
If you enable the start listening switch and if you are having a secure ssl connection over https protocol you will be able to give voice commands to your Home Assistant.
Copy ‘n paste support in dashboards
In the previous Home Assistant update an impressive copy and paste functionality was introduced in the automation and script editors. In this Home Assistant 2023.7. release the same feature is added to dashboards as well!
You can now copy and paste some cards from a view to another view which makes the reorganization of a dashboard a lot easier and faster.
Cards numbered position
And while we talk about cards, drag n drop was finally released, well, almost. Instead of that every card on the dashboard is now having a position with a number and that number can be changed either by the up and down arrows as usual or by directly changing the number.
For example, if you change the position of a card to 1 it will go to the very upper left part of your dashboard.
Next new thing in Home Assistant 2023.7 is the Image entity, which is pretty similar to the existing Camera Entity, but nothing is moving and there is no stream of images. Instead we can have still image that can be refreshed if the image is changed.
The idea here is that the Camera Entity to be used for actual Cameras and the new Image entity to be used for not so dynamically changing images like photos, QR codes, weather radars and so on and so forth.
Unavailable automations and scripts
Before that latest 2023.7 release, if you made a mistake in your automation or script either in your YAML or some dependency is missing or whatever the automation would disappear from Home Assistant and that is now changed. Instead of disappearing the automation will be now marked as unavailable. By selecting such automation you will be able to see the error.
As you may already know Automations are one big and very useful part of Home Assistant. Every automation have at least one trigger, at least one action and eventually a condition. The trigger is activating the Automation, and if all conditions are met then the action is executed. If you need more info about this topic and actually an in-depth training then please check mine which is available at automatelike.pro website.
Back to triggers, Home Assistant 2023.7 introduce a new trigger called sentence trigger. That means In this trigger you can type a custom sentence and if that custom sentence is said then the the automation action will be executed.
How cool is that? Of course, you can say that sentence through Assist button from your browser if you are accessing Home Assistant over SSL or you can use VoIP phone or little device like Atom Echo or you can use the developer tools and the conversation process service if you want to test this new sentence trigger.
Reducing the breaking changes risk
Next, A new policy for deprecating YAML configurations is now introduced in Home Assistant 2023.7. Which means that if some YAML configuration or integration have to be removed it will be in deprecated but working state for 6 months before it is completely removed.
Before 2023.7 release this deprecation cycle was around 2 months. But now, for example, if someone updates Home Assistant twice a year he should be fine thanks to the increased depreciation period. To enhance the situation even more, if feasible, an automated migration will be performed, and a problem will be reported in the repairs dashboard if the deprecation is relevant to your setup.
The main goal about all of this is to reduce the frustration around braking changes as much as possible which is another great idea.
Faster Bluetooth proxies
Moving ahead, Bluetooth proxies are now significantly faster in Home Assistant 2023.7 and if you don’t remember these bluetooth proxies can be DIYed either by using Shelly Gen 2 devices as I’m describing in this article – Gen 2 Shelly devices as Home Assistant Bluetooth Proxy or by uploading ESPHome on an ESP32 device as I’m explaining here – How to turn an ESP32 board into a Bluetooth proxy for Home Assistant | ESPHome Bluetooth Proxies
Once up & running a Bluetooth proxy is actually acting as a Bluetooth dongle, but it is entirely wireless, but you can add multiple of them and they can expand your Bluetooth network coverage. I can say only good things about this Bluetooth proxy approach and now this method is much faster than the regular Bluetooth USB stick to the point that the Home Assistant developers are joking that you don’t have to use Bluetooth dongle ever again, which is insane.
Services can now respond with data
Next big thing is that from Home Assistant 2023.7 a called service can return something and you can actually query for data. You can ask a question some of the available Home Assistant services and then you can use the returned response in an automation and sending that response as notification to your phone for example.
There is even a nice Blueprint created by the person who is leading this development which is demonstrating this beautifully. This blueprint picks the events from your agenda and picks the weather then send this to your Home Assistant conversation agent like chatGPT to summarise it, so you can send that response as notification to your phone or smart speaker and that can be your Smartified daily summary.
What is your favorite?
Before I move forward can you please share what is your favorite new feature in the Home Assistant 2023.7 in the comment section below? Thanks.
Services can now respond with data – continued
Conversation.process or calendar.list_events are one of the services that have a return values and these services can respond to your query.
If you call these services using YAML you can set one or more variables during one or more service calls and then you can use these variables as I already said in mobile or smart speaker notifications. Also if you are writing a Home Assistant scripts from scratch you can define your script to collect or process some data and then to return a response.
Overall this new option for Services and scripts that can now respond with data is a big feature and this may change a lot of things in the future for good, but I guess we have to wait and see.
Download my Smart Home Glossary for free from my other website automatelike.pro/glossary
Thanks for reading, I’m Kiril and I’ll see you in the next one! Bye!