A word to beginners

(Kees Van Gelder) #1

I am no novice regarding computers and programming, but I am fairly new at Openhab and I have struggled with it.
OpenHab is not an easy program to work with, the learning curve is steep, but it is extremely powerful.

I see many ‘beginners’ being frustrated, ready to throw in the towel and all I can say is 'hang in there’
Like you, I have been frustrated, even thrown it aside for some weeks, but I tried again and then suddenly there is this ‘Eureka’ moment, suddenly things (and items :grin: ) start to make sense. You will be able to start making things yourself rather than just relying on someone elses code snippings.

Now mind you… I still run into problems, but I have aquired faith that I will be able to solve it.

So if you are a ‘newbie’ frustrated and irritated… don’t give up, take a deep breath, take a drink if necessary and try again. Look at the tutorials, look at the examples, pick up how someone else did something and eventually you will have a home automation/iot/whatever you wanna call it application that is the envy of the neighbourhood.
I leave you with one tip that worked for me. maybe it will work for you:
I gave up on using the various UI’s to make my application. With the UI’s at a certain moment I was adding stuff, binding stuff, but in the end I completely lost track of what i was actually doing, so I reverted to just making my own items/sitemap files and things and rules when necessary in a simple text editor. It may not be the best solution for everyone, but it helped me greatly in understanding what I was actually doing.

Anyway, look at all the people using OpenHab, making the greatest stuff and enjoying it. There is no reason why you cant be one of them.
Hang in there and it will be OK, really

(Dennis Lang) #2

i agree with you!

I have also a lot of frustrated moments! But i grow up with every solved Problem! i i solved a lot of Problems specially to the beginning of my Smart Home Project.

Now i was able to implement MiLight Brigdes - one of them is the iBox2 - Openhab is the first System where I was able to make it functional. It costs a lot of hours - but i did it.

Openhab is not the easiest way to create a Smart Home but for me the best way, because it have a huge count of bindings which are highly customizable, but this big library and the whole possibilities make this very hard to understand.

(Kees Van Gelder) #3

I fully agree and I just hope people will not be scared off too easily, coz it is really a powerful program that can supply you with a beautiful and easy interface

(Dennis Lang) #4

Don’t forget this great community! I read a lot of Topics of peoples and the explanation and discussions helps me to sole my own problems!

(Kees Van Gelder) #5

Oh definitely, always got good help and the few times I didn’t get a reply (yet) I was able to figure it out myself.

Anyway, I just hope beginners get some courage out of my words that it will be OK

( ) #6

Great motivational speech @Kees_van_Gelder :wink:

I’d like to add that everyone is invited to write tutorials and post examples. Over the last couple of months we have acted on the importance of the Tutorials & Examples forum category. The category moved from a buried subcategory to it’s own main category and now has its own subcategories for everyone to contribute and discover ideas.

Home Automation as is is a complex diverse field. openHAB tries to cope with this complexity by providing numerous possibilities. The learning curve is steep as you said, Tutorials and Examples will help everyone to make the most out of it.

Happy Hacking everyone!!

(Kees Van Gelder) #7

Thanks Thom.
I don’t feel completely sure yet to write a tutorial, but I am working on a project to add non digital ‘traditional’ hardware to OpenHAB. I think you wrote something like that regarding washing machines, but if I manage to do it I will do a write up. Hardware side will not be a problem, but getting it into OpenHab may be instructive

(Dries) #8

Hi @Kees_van_Gelder,

I have started with OpenHAB myself just a few months ago. I have already spend hours/days/centuries on configuring things.

Often I have the feeling I am still nowhere. Or that, as soon as one problem is solved, the next one presents. :slight_smile:

What helps is looking back at the challenges you have overcome (and forgotten already). I have a KNX installation in my home for quite some time, but since OpenHAB I have:

  • A simple but user-friendly UI to operate stuff on my smartphone;
  • Control my Sonos and Denon AVR using KNX switches;
  • Control stuff using Amazon Alexa;
  • Netatmo integration (for now just viewing info - haven’t used it in rules);
  • Chromecast binding up and running;

Current “work in progress”:

  • LG TV binding set up;
  • Operate my Epson projector using IRtrans;
  • Integrate with my alarm system (using UDP packages);
  • Set up persistence;

  • I don’t want to make this list too long. Maybe the key thing is to start with a small scope. Don’t try to connect/integrate everything in your house in one day. You will end up with a lot of frustration. Just say “Today, I’ll try to operate my Epson projector using OpenHAB”.

Good luck to all beginners

(Kees Van Gelder) #9

sounds promising and certainly interesting.
I have stayed away from many commercial home automation items such as Alexa and google Home and NEST, so I am faces with making interfaces to lots of hardware myself, but I enjoy that.
And yes, I still have things in OpenHab that just dont work (yet) or that I want something and have no idea how to even begin with that in Openhab, but I just try to stay calm and try make it work.
I have taken a bit of a different approach… I have set up a lot of items/channels already in my application, knowing how I am going to connect something, but I can do the actual connecting (say a sonoff or a relay) later.

My current/previous home automation does a lot with Rf433MHz, so I have the ‘luxury’ to just leave that intact and gradually have Openhab take over those functions, for which I have built an OpenHab<->Rf gateway.
And that brings me to get myself acquainted with 'rules’
Initially I was planning to use Openhab as interface and let an Arduino Mega do all the decisions, but that seems to be not necessary as Openhab can do a lot of those things (IF Not home AND Window Open AND forcast is rain Then send text). But I realise I still have a long way to go. But at least I have the feeling that the initial struggle to even get the most basic stuff to work is in the past.

(Kees Van Gelder) #10

OK, two months since I first wrote this post:
I feel like I am past the steep learning curve and start to feel more and more confident.
if any. I have started to like openHab even more.
yes I have had problems, but there was always help and… I found out that most of the problems I encountered were based on typo’s or simply forgetting something (like a persistence or something).

Sure, I still sometimes have things that dont work as expected and sometimes I spend a few hours trying to figure it out, but it is usually indeed some stupid thing. I must say I have find the openhab- and eventlog extremely useful in tracking down errors.

So, beginners, newbies. don’t despair, really, it will all come together and make sense.
i for one am really happy with openHab and think the developers deserve some EU grant or something

( ) #11

Great to hear!
You’ve been quite active in the community and it’s great that this played out to be a good experience for you :wink: Thanks for the encouraging words :wink:

(Kees Van Gelder) #12

Thank you, I hope soon to be able to contribute more than questions :slight_smile:

(Jerome) #13

For me the start (I think it was Dec 16) was hard too sometimes, but I think it was/is totally worth it.
And of course this great community helps a lot in solving those difficulties during the start.
(Thanks to all of you. :slight_smile:)

(Kees Van Gelder) #14

I fully agree.
I have made this post to convince beginners not to give up, it will make sense, openhab has a steep curve but bear with it and ‘thou shallt pluck the rewards’