Display the number of photos on your digital picture frame in Home Assistant

By February 28, 2019 March 14, 2019 DIY Instructions, Home Assistant

I am always amazed by what Home Assis­tant, the home automa­tion soft­ware, is capa­ble of.

One piece of infor­ma­tion I always want­ed to see is how many images I have loaded onto the frame over time. With Home Assis­tant and MQTT this is very sim­ple to do, and I will show how to do it.

The fol­low­ing instruc­tions assume that you are run­ning Home Assis­tant and that you have set up an MQTT bro­ker like Cloud­MQTT.

If you are not famil­iar with this tech­nol­o­gy, please read my arti­cle "Con­trol your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame with Home Assistant's wifi pres­ence detec­tion and MQTT" first.

More than you can count

Python has this pret­ty cool os.walk com­mand which can be used for many appli­ca­tions.

os.walk() gen­er­ates the file names in a direc­to­ry tree by "walk­ing" the tree either top-down or bot­tom-up. It is recur­sive and also looks at all the sub­di­rec­to­ries. You can then use the result and count the num­ber of files in a giv­en direc­to­ry.

When I first tried the os.walk com­mand, it didn't add up. I looked at the num­ber of objects of the shared Pic­tures fold­er (about 1,300), but I knew that this also includ­ed the fold­ers. I esti­mat­ed the num­ber of sub­fold­ers to be around 150, but the count­ed num­ber using os.walk was about over 2,500.

I quick­ly had a sus­pi­cion about the cul­prit.

As much as I love Apple com­put­ers, they have the nasty habit that they leave some­thing behind when they access shared net­work fold­ers. And for some rea­son, os.walk() counts these files that you can­not see in the net­work fold­er as they are hid­den.

The files in ques­tion have an ".Apple­Dou­ble" name part which makes them easy to iden­ti­fy. After doing some fur­ther research, I also need­ed to exclude "." hid­den files and ".sync" files.

So in the end, my func­tion had a con­di­tion that only count­ed "real" jpg files.

if ext in ('.jpg') and not '.AppleDouble' in root and not name.startswith('.') and not '.sync' in root: 

I ran a few tests and low and behold, this time the num­ber was accu­rate.

So, the first step is to add the fol­low­ing Python script to the home direc­to­ry of your Rasp­berry Pi dig­i­tal pic­ture frame.

Either copy and paste it or down­load it from here. Save it as count_images.py.

Get your set­ting for user­name and pass­word from Cloud­MQTT as described in the afore­men­tioned arti­cle. Adjust the direc­to­ry "our­pho­tos" to your images fold­er.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import paho.mqtt.client as mqtt
import os

client = mqtt.Client()
client.username_pw_set( "username" , "password" )

client.connect("m23.cloudmqtt.com", 17905, 60)

client.publish("frame/images/available", "online")

searchdir = r"/home/pi/Pictures/ourphotos"  # your search starts in this directory (your root) 

image_count = 0
for root, dirs, files in os.walk(searchdir):
    for name in files:
        ext = os.path.splitext(name)[1].lower()
        if ext in ('.jpg') and not '.AppleDouble' in root and not name.startswith('.') and not '.sync' in root:  # check the extension
            image_count += 1

image_count = "{:,}".format(image_count)

print(image_count)

client.publish("frame/images", image_count)

The num­ber of images is being pub­lished via MQTT in the top­ic "frame/images".

To run this script every hour, you have to add a line to crontab.

crontab -e

Add this line at the end:

0 */1 * * * python3 /home/pi/count_images.py

Save and close. It's prob­a­bly a good idea to restart the dig­i­tal pic­ture frame after this.

Now we have to tell Home Assis­tant to pick up this sen­sor and dis­play it on the fron­tend.

Setting up the image count sensor in Home Assistant

Add this para­graph in configuration.yaml:

#MQTT Sensor
sensor:
  - platform: mqtt
    name: "image_count_frame"
    state_topic: "frame/images"
    unit_of_measurement: 'Photos'
    availability_topic: "frame/images/available"
    payload_available: "online"
    payload_not_available: "offline"

Restart Home Assis­tant and check the device states.

In the front end of Home Assis­tant, prob­a­bly Lovelace, define the enti­ty like in this exam­ple:

entities:
  - entity: sensor.image_count_frame
    icon: 'mdi:camera-burst'
    name: Number of images
show_header_toggle: false
title: Digital Picture Frame
type: entities

Restart Home Assis­tant. It may take up to one hour until the num­ber of pho­tos is shown (as defined in the crontab -e).

Con­grat­u­la­tions. You're done!