I’m a programmer by profession and I’m tinkering with the concept of making a companion app for WLED and xLights (possibly more stuff as the need arises). I have a few specific ideas/needs in mind, but maybe others could chime on the idea…
My first thought is about backups. I have a some Halloween and Christmas props that I’ve created with integrated leds and have been using WLED on esp8266’s to run them. I end up making several presets and getting them all setup the way I want. Then the season is over and I pack up the props and put them in storage. But I normally just end up re-purposing the esp8266 on another tinkering project soon after. I’d like to basically just take an image/snapshot of the WLED settings and store them so they can be restored on the device at a later time. My thought was that I would be convenient to have a background “scanner” process running that would periodically check settings/config from known WLED controllers and store a snapshot of it if any changes are seen since the last scan. Then a controller could easily be restored from one of the auto snapshots.
The next goal of the companion app is to assist with some xLights stuff that I’ve been toying with lately. I’m not a light show expert. I’m just starting to play around with xLights and I’m working on setting up a small Christmas show this coming season. I’m going to see if I can get away with just using a couple of WLED controllers to run the show instead of diving in and purchasing a high-end Falcon (or similar) controller. I’m hoping that until I significantly level up my skills in that arena, running off WLED controllers will be fine.
I’m thinking of using an NFC tag reader that I built (using esphome with Home Assistant integration) as a way to allow people to manually choose from the sequences that will be in my holiday playlist. The thought is that I would make an NFC card for each sequence/song and allow people (mostly my kids who all have their favorites) to swipe those cards on the reader and watch house/yard light up with the sequence they choose. The reader would scan the NFC tag, then trigger an HA automation to call a url on the companion app (or customize the esphome firmware to do it directly without HA), which would read the tag value and send an API request to xSchedule to play the proper sequence from the playlist. I was also thinking about using the tag reader as a way for any spectators to give feedback using either a thumbs up or thumbs down card. Those cards would send another request to a companion app url letting me know their feedback about the current sequence or the light show in general. Ideally the companion app would allow setting up as many NFC tags as desired to trigger some sort of action based on it’s value.
If I can get it setup in a secure and waterproof way, I will setup the tag reader near the mailbox at the road in case anyone watching wants to “interact” with it. I don’t yet have a plan for setting it up outside. I’ll have to put some thought into that and see how feasible it would be to accomplish.
In a nutshell, my vision for this companion app would likely not be anything that couldn’t be done through other means, but rather a single place to manage them all together.
Is there anyone else who would be interested in something similar, or is this just too specific to my own needs/wants? If so, I’ll definitely post progress updates and/or share any of the code used to build the companion app. I’d also be interested to hear any other ideas that may be good to incorporate in such an app.