I’ve never been this excited about a lightbulb.

The Philips HUE, everyone’s favorite color-changing lightbulb that no one can afford, is getting its own software developer program. With the addition, HUE owners are given a sanctioned way to vastly expand what their lightbulbs can do. And I bet the cogs of invention are already turning.

A vibrant community has already developed around the HUE, and with the introduction of an open API, Philips is showing it wants to help developers along.

It’s all really neat stuff. Like the Nest thermostat, the Hue falls into that special class of electronics that takes something supremely domestic and makes it incomparably exciting. (Seriously — before the Nest, when was the last time you geeked out over a thermostat?)

The only problem, sadly, is price: Philips charges $200 for a three-bulb starter set and $60 for additional bulbs (and only at the Apple Store). As much as I love the idea of hackable lightbulbs, they’re not much use if I can’t afford to keep my lights on after I buy them.