Philips has launched a developer program for their Hue lighting system. The program comes as a result of customer feedback requesting the ability to program the system and includes open APIs, an SDK for iOS programmers and even guides to familiarize programmers with the hardware and software.

A post on Philips' developers page says they are starting off by releasing core parts of their bridge interface along with easy-to-follow examples of how to use them. This should be enough to get most users up and running to control lights from within an application.

The move is also expected to allow hardware manufacturers to integrate Hue's home automation standard known as ZigBee. Hue-enabled bulbs can communicate with one another as well as with other in-home staples like connected motion detectors, thermostats and connected appliances. For example, you could have a series of lights turn on a certain color when you adjust the thermostat or trigger lights to automatically come on when you open the front door.

Amateur developers have already come up with a number of nifty applications to control the lighting system. Examples include Ambify, an app used to visualize music in real-time as well as a nifty hack created by Jim Rutherford and his son to sync the day and night cycles in Minecraft.

George Yianni, a Hue system architect, said there are already about 10 applications out in the wild that have been built and shared from unofficial developers. He said Philips wants to help encourage this community by giving them the tools and proper documentation to do so.