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0.3.1 • Public • Published


A command line interface to philips hue

NOTE: A more complete and updated implementation of a Hue Management CLI can be found here


First, install Node.js, then:

npm install -g hue-cli

...and the executable will be installed globally as hue


Usage: hue [-c config] [-H host] [--json] [command]

control philips hue over the command line

  hue config                  # view the hue config
  hue lights                  # get a list of lights
  hue lights 5                # get information about light 5
  hue lights 5,6,7 on         # turn lights 5 6 and 7 on
  hue lights on               # turn all lights on
  hue lights 1 ff0000         # turn light 1 red
  hue lights 1 red            # same as above
  hue lights 1 +10            # increase the brightness by 10 (out of 254)
  hue lights 1 -10            # decrease the brightness by 10 (out of 254)
  hue lights 1 =100           # set the brightness to 100 (out of 254)
  hue lights 1 +10%           # increase the brightness by 10%
  hue lights 1 -10%           # decrease the brightness by 10%
  hue lights 1 =100%          # set the brightness to 100%
  hue lights 4,5 colorloop    # enable the colorloop effect on lights 4 and 5
  hue lights 4,5 alert        # blink lights 4 and 5 for 30 seconds
  hue lights 4,5 clear        # clear any effects on lights 4 and 5
  hue lights 1 state          # set the state on light 1 as passed in as JSON over stdin
  hue rename 1 light-name     # set light 1's name to the given string
  hue lights reset            # reset all lamps to default (on, as if the bulb was just flipped on)
  hue lights 1,2 reset        # reset just bulbs 1 and 2
  hue help                    # this message
  hue register                # register this app to hue
  hue search                  # search for hue base stations

  config, lights, help, register, search

  -c, --config <file>    config file, defaults to ~/.hue.json
  -h, --help             print this message and exit
  -H, --host             the hostname or ip of the bridge to control
  -j, --json             force output to be in json
  -u, --updates          check for available updates
  -v, --version          print the version number and exit


starting off

First, let's search for nearby base stations

$ hue search
1 stations found


Pass in -j for json if you'd like

$ hue -j search

Next, let's try to list the lights on that base station

$ hue -H lights
error: application not registered, run `hue register` first

This app isn't registered yet, let's go ahead and do that

$ hue -H register
please go and press the link button on your base station
Hue Base Station paired!

listing lights

All you had to do was press the button on your base station to register, cool right? Let's re-run the lights command

$ hue -H lights
   1 Mike 1
   2 Mike 2
   3 Dave closet
   4 Hallway 2
   5 Hallway 1
   6 Front hallway
   7 Dave Ledge Left
   8 Dave Ledge Right
   9 Dave's Piano
  10 Dave's Lamp
  11 Balcony Mike
  12 Balcony Dave
  13 Balcony Living Room
  14 Mike 3
  15 Living room 3
  16 Living room 1

Again, -j if you'd like json output.

Running with the command lights will give us a list of all the lights connected to the base station.

From here, we can get information about a single light like:

$ hue lights 1
   1 on    141    Mike 1

141 in the above example is the brightness.

And -j for json

$ hue -j lights 1
  "state": {
    "on": true,
    "bri": 141,
    "hue": 13122,
    "sat": 211,
    "xy": [
    "ct": 467,
    "alert": "none",
    "effect": "none",
    "colormode": "ct",
    "reachable": true
  "type": "Extended color light",

controlling the lights

Let's actually mess with the lights now. Let's turn on the light in my closet.

$ hue lights 3 on
light 3 success

What about both lights in the hallway?

$ hue lights 4,5 on
light 4 success
light 5 success

What if we try to turn on a non-existent light?

$ hue lights 99 on
light 99 failed: resource, /lights/99/state, not available

Cool, errors handled properly. Let's see some more examples

$ hue lights off
light 1 success
light 2 success
light 3 success

This is shorthand for

$ hue lights all off

Where all is a recognized keyword for all lights in the system. You can also:

$ hue lights off

To quickly turn off all lights on the system

controlling colors

We can turn the lights on and off, that's great... what about colors?

How about hex

$ hue lights 4 ffffff
light 4 success

We just set the light in the hallway to pure white, hex ffffff. Let's go crazy and turn all of the lights in the house red (this is where we need the all keyword)

$ hue lights all ff0000
light 1 success
light 2 success

It's worth noting here that, because this tool is written in Node, all requests to the lights are done concurrently. This means we don't have to wait for light 1 to finish before we instruct light 2 to change, nor wait for light 2 to finish before we instruct light 3 to change, and so on.

Shorthand hex is also supported

$ hue lights 3,4 0f0
light 3 success
light 4 success

Now lights 3 and 4 are green

Last but not least, any CSS name is supported for colors

$ hue lights 1 yellow
light 1 success

Light 1 is now yellow. The full list of colors is available here


Brightness can also be changed using the =, + and - operators

$ hue lights 1 +20
light 1 brightness 200 -> 220
$ hue lights 1 -30
light 1 brightness 220 -> 190
$ hue lights 1 =150
light 1 brightness 150


You can enable the colorloop effect on lamps by running

$ hue lights 4,5,6 colorloop
light 4 success
light 5 success
light 6 success

and clear all effects with

$ hue lights 4,5,6 clear
light 4 success
light 5 success
light 6 success


Last but not least, you can pass the state as JSON over stdin. The possible values are found at in section 1.6.

$ echo '{"bri": 240, "hue": 25500}' | hue lights 7 state

The state keyword tells hue to read from stdin


A config file will be created at ~/.hue.json upon registration that looks like...

  "host": "",
  "colors": {
    "myred": "fe0000",
    "myblue": "0000fe"
  • host: the host to connect to (normally passed in as -H)
  • colors: a key-value pair of color aliases to their hex mapping, you can use these when changing the colors of a light





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