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What are the differences between Composer Pro and Home Edition?


jfh

Question

Control4 Composer is a Windows PC program that is used to configure your controller to do what you want it to do.  There are three versions of Composer (not counting Composer Express) :

1) Composer Pro - the full package.  Only licensed to recognized Control4 dealers and employees.

2) Composer Home Edition (HE).  A crippled version with key features blocked.  Available to any Control4 customer for a nominal fee.

3) Composer Media Edition (ME).   Allows access to only the media functions of Composer (manage Cable TV and OTA broadcast info, audio and video playlists and media libraries for certain devices like (discontinued) Sony Blu Ray changers).  Available for free.  Since most here would be totally unsatisified with ME (and since you can create/manage playlists from the Navigator interface in recent releases of C4), I'm not going to expand further.

 

Since many users ask "What can you do with HE?"  or "What does a dealer have to do?" (i.e. When is Pro required?), I thought I would try and summarize the differences between Pro and HE.   (I'm not a dealer, so if I missed anything that Pro is needed for hopefully someone will add it).

 

In in a nutshell, you need Pro to

 - define the project (including naming and ordering the rooms and floors)

 - add/remove/rename/relocate devices (drivers),

 - define how devices are connected (inputs and outputs), 

 - define how the Control4 network is set up,

 - manage the services on the controller itself, 

 - work on a project offline (when you are not connected to a controller),

 - create and/or edit drivers

 - generate reports summarizing the project (bindings, programming, engraving).

 - use Loops in programming events (e.g. "While")

 

 

With HE you can do everything else:

 - change properties and settings for drivers,

 - run driver specific actions,

 - see debug logs and info, 

 - manage media stations, albums, movies, playlists

  - set/program LEDs on Control4 switches, dimmers and keypads

  - program what is done when certain events happen

  - change what or reorganize how devices show on Navigator screens

  -  define/manage/customize lighting scenes, Announcements, macros, program/status variables, timers, scheduled events, custom navigator buttons by room,

 -  send emails and notices to phones and tablets (if you have an active 4Sight license or the Chowmain Notification Suite)

 

Since they are versions of the same code, look and feel of Pro and HE are very similar and share the same three pane structure. (Some tasks only show two panes)

 

On the left you see a tree showing the buildings/floors/rooms/devices and drivers and proxies in your project.  Below are the different tasks available:

PRO.                                   HE

System Design                   Monitoring  (essentially a read-only version of System Design)

Connections                       (Not available in HE)

Media                                  Media

Agents                                Agents

Programming                      Programming

 

The middle is the content/display area where you interact with the project drivers and agents or drag/drop programming items.  The layout of the info and tabs is slightly different, but they show the same info.  

The key tab here is Properties.  Depending on the driver that tab has up to 4 sub tabs.

Properties - where you can set/change various options of how the driver functions or define the layout of a keypad or how LEDs work.  Most devices that have an IP address show it here, but don't change it unless you understand what else might be required)

Documentation - what it sounds like except there is a design flaw in HE where the rtf files are not exposed for many drivers.  (The doc for many older drivers is visible).  If your dealer says "I can see it" and you can't, this is why.

Actions - may be buttons here to cause a driver to take a specific action (e.g. Refresh a list of thermostats or resynch with online control)

LUA - essentially console output when debug property is set to "Print".  Most drivers time it out after 15 minutes.  Can also be used to execute LUA commands if the driver is not encrypted.

The right pane shows Actions available.   In Pro it is used in System Management to show locations and drivers to act on (doesn't exist in HE).  In the Programming task, the right lane shows the actions available by room/device/drivers against the Device Events shown in the left pane.

Secret weapon - most people don't/won't use the SNMP Configuration Agent under "Agents", but if you look at the display pane there are two tabs called "System Variables" and "User Variables" that allow you to easily see a wealth of information that may be useful to you when programming.

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