One of the most powerful features of the Vera platform is its ability to work with third-party Apps and Plug-Ins. These can expand your Vera's ability to do all kinds of things, and to work with many, many different Devices.
What's the difference between an App and a Plug-In?
Technically Apps are like mini-programs that run on your Vera Controller, and Plug-Ins are extensions to Applications (Apps). Typically an App makes your Vera system do something it would not have otherwise done, while a plug-in helps Vera connect to a particular device (similar to a PC "driver.") However the distinction can sometimes seem blurry, so for convenience and to avoid confusion, Vera groups both Apps and Plug-Ins together here in this one-stop-shopping "Vera Apps Store". (Most are free, but some do charge.)
When you first select the Apps tab you'll see a sub-menu with "My apps" at top, showing the apps (and plug-ins) that are already installed. Here's an example:
You may discover items here you didn't realize were installed, especially plug-ins for Devices in your system that were installed automatically because they enable these Devices to work with Vera..
Installing New Apps and Plug-Ins
Select "Install apps" from the Apps sub-menu. You'll see a long list of available apps and plug-ins that fill many, many pages.
You can scroll through these listings at your leisure, looking for something useful or interesting. For this example, however, let's do something more focused: We want to install a Nest thermostat and have it work with our Vera system. So we'll use the "Search app" capability. We type "Nest thermostat" into the Search field.
We see the results in an instant, and see that yes there is a plug-in to use the Nest thermostat with Vera.
We click on Details and see it's available and can be easily installed by clicking the Install button.
Another Example: Apps that do things
Here's another example that shows how apps can extend the capabilities of what Vera does. By looking through the list of apps, we see one called Thermostat Min Max. This sounds interesting, because we have children in the house who sometimes set the thermostat ridiculously low in the summer. We click on the Details, and see a description.
Click Install and that's all there is to it, the thermostat can now be limited in range to whatever you set.
Develop your own Vera apps
If you're an advanced user and have your own ideas for apps, or are a Device manufacturer and want to develop a plug-in to make your new Device work perfectly with Vera, this section is for you.
Vera apps are written in a scripting language called Lua, and this page provides advanced users with the ability to test and then use custom written code on the Vera platform.
For those who want to make other Devices compatible with Vera, the "Create device" option at the bottom shows how this is possible using the Device's IP address and MAC identification.
Of course this capability is provided for advanced programmers and engineers. (Most Vera users will never go near this page!)
"Ordinary" users, however, can easily choose from a wide variety of new capabilities by perusing the available Vera apps and plug-ins. These help make Vera the most flexible, capable, and compatible smart home platform, and make it easy for you to customize your system to include many unique Devices and functions.
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