Why Develop for Hue

How Hue works?



These are different ways to control the lights to make them do smart things. You probably have one installed on your smartphone already that you control your lights with. Apps you develop (see Hue App Showcase) could do anything from simply changing colors or switching on and off in response to a user input, or they might be linked to some sort of sensor or other input, such as switching on when a sound is picked up or a tweet is received. They are not limited to smartphone apps. It’s basically everything that makes use of the Hue system APIs. It could equally be a website or an Arduino board.


This is used to enable your smart bulbs to communicate with each other and the Portal via the internet. The main set of smart lighting APIs are those offered by the bridge. These allow you to control all settings of the lights in your system. These smart lighting APIs require direct access to your bridge so you’ll only be able to access them when your app and bridge are on the same local network.

    Remote connection

This is a way to gain access to the bridge without being on the local network. It can be used for control commands or for checking the status.


This is the output of the system. These smart bulbs contain 3 types of LED specially chosen to produce a range of colors and intensities. Lights create a mesh network with each other which enables each light to pass on messages to the next extending the range and making everything more robust. They are connected to the bridge via an open standards protocol called ZigBee Light Link. If you’d like to start a project which talks directly to the bulbs that’s possible but you’ll need to enroll in the ZigBee developers program

When we launched Hue in 2012, the feedback we got was clear. People really do want to use light in their own way. Our developer portal provides tools and materials for developer to create exciting, creative new ways to use or even play with light.  You can keep up to date with the latest Hue news and find out what sort of apps have already been created.

Because the Hue bridge has a powerful RESTful interface, which means it behaves like a simple web service, you can easily program it. Go on, have a go – use light the way you want it, by making new apps, websites and digital installations. Integrate Hue into some other product or service, and have fun with what Hue can do. Whatever you like. It’s up to you.

Free to Publish– Philips has a quite progressive policy with Hue. As you are free to create with our product, we think it should also be you who profits from your work. What you produce you own and are free to give away or sell. There’s a little catch – this also means that everything connected with use of your product is your responsibility. Philips will not accept liability if your product causes harm, for example. So use your powers for good! And, it’s up to you whether and on what terms you choose to commercialize your product. So while we say “what is yours is yours”, on the flip side we also say, “what is ours is ours”. Here, we mean the software, trademarks documentation, and any other materials we provide to help you develop Hue apps.

For example, you may refer to “Hue” and “Philips” in plain text but you aren’t allowed to use “Hue” or “Philips” branding in any logo or graphics. Also important to note is that the interface specifications “API” belong to Philips. Imagine you are working on an app and you come up with a brilliant idea for an improvement in the API or our materials. If you suggest any improvements to us and we adopt them, they become part of the platform used by everyone, and will belong to us.

Oh, a little aside on UI: as the interface between your apps and the Hue platform will evolve over time, we will do our level best to maintain backwards compatibility and will inform you with enough time, before we roll out updates. That’s why, to keep everyone up to date, we ask you to register your app/s in the whitelist and make it clear they are your creation.

Go on, have a go – experiment and have fun with Hue!