Beginner's questions

I’ve just started to set up a raspi with openhab 2 with no previous experience. I’ve read everything I could find, including some topics here, but there are still some things I’m confused about. Sorry, if these questions have already been answered elsewhere…

I understand that openhab2 PaperUI’s way of defining things, items etc. supersedes the ‘classic’ way to create the various files manually. I’ve done it both ways for different things and of course it works well together. I also found the .json files where PaperUI stores the things it creates.

So, if I had to edit something in an item that’s not supported by PaperUI (let’s say a tag), what’s the “right” way to do that? Scrap the whole definition in PaperUI and create a manual one using the Designer? Or am I supposed to edit the .json file directly? Why are there two different ways to store the same results anyway?

b) Is there a description of how to escape special characters in the manual config files? I had an issue where I had to add a password to a command string (to shutdown a computer using net rpc shutdown…) and the password contains single quotation marks ( ’ ). I tried various ways to escape the " characters, that enclose the whole username/pw option, the % character and the ’ character, but it just didn’t work. In the end I resolved it by using a batch file that contains the actual command, but I still would like to know how this would have been done the right way.

c) I want to use Alexa with openhab2. I set up just fine, and the connection works. I can see the items in But I don’t see any devices listed there. And, naturally, Alexa can’t find any devices either. From reading, I understand that I have to add tags to the items to make them controllable through Alexa. But I don’t understand where to add them, if I haven’t defined them using a manual config file (see question a).

d) What’s the point in using a different persistence layer? Is there any disadvantage with the default .json storage? If I use something else (and I’d be willing to install MySQL or whatever is recommended), would there be any real advantage, like performance- or otherwise?

e) Are there any additional repositories for icons in the same style as provided in the default sets?`

Thanks for your help, I’m sure there’ll be many more questions until I understand everything. And sorry for asking the obvious :slight_smile:

Hey @Grestorn,
I’ll give short answers but feel free to send followups :wink:


Yes and Please don’t :wink:

Both worlds developed in parallel and a solution to unify them is hopefully coming soon. Till then this is not a big issue as you can mix everything, e.g. you can define rules or sitemaps with a reference to an item defined via Paper UI :wink:

We are talking about the usage of the Exec Binding? That’s a rather special topic and you’ll find answers to that in other threads.

I can’t answer that. I’m using Alexa and it’s amazing. All my items are defined manually. maybe it’s worth a try to search for “Paper UI tags” here in the forum.

As far as I understand your question you are mixing up different worlds. The jsonDB used to store core / Paper UI related data is unrelated to the “Persistence” topic.

I’d recommend InfluxDB, but at a later point. Persistence is a topic for later. From experience I can tell you that you don’t need historical data in the beginning. Don’t bother. First you should get acquainted with items, sitemaps and rules.

No but huge amounts of icons can be found on the internet, e.g.

I’d recommend to work with svg icons right from the beginning.

Thanks a lot for all your answers! :smiley: