A friend of me wants to start with openHAB. And he wants me to help him with this.
Since I’m using a while now openHAB, my items/sitemap/… are pretty OK.

But how would you advice newbies today?

Should they configure/use:

  1. CLI for items/sitemaps/rules/…
    Maybe with samba and fe notepad++ to ease it?


  1. Use GUI PAPERUI for items/things
  2. Use GUI HABpanel for sitemaps
  3. Use GUI HABmin for rules

Keeping in mind of course that not everybody has or want linux/vim/… experience. :blush:

It’s personal preference to most, installing things through PaperUI is really simple to get along with.

Personally, I use the GUI for everything except rules and sitemaps.

The usual answer is that it depends… :wink:

I use paperui for most items/things (except for the items where i want to use the Expire binding, which is very nice but doesn’t have support for 2.0 style items) and I use config files for rules and sitemaps. Maybe the experimental rules thingy in paperui is usable nowadays though? Somebody has to fill in there…

Have you seen the visual studio code plugin ( It’s really nice for editing the files (instead of np++ as you’re suggesting).


The benefit of using vscode is that it’s able to read openHAB for items you have defined in the GUI or as text. Soon (in development) it will tell you about syntax errors in the rules too!

Didn’t see the visual studio… Seems very nice.
Will have a look to try it out…

Things: PaperUI
flexible items: PaperUI (for common users to edit)
Static items: textual /etc/openhab2/items/* (git, for devs and Admin)
UI: BasicUI with a public.sitemap internal.sitemap dev.sitemap and admin.sitemap

Why a difference between public and internal sitemap?

(just asking, maybe it bring me on ideas… :wink: )

Well… There is no actual public or internal sitemap.
I just have multible sitemaps for different Users.(I named them public and internal :upside_down_face:)

Like my own Wifi and Free Wifi.
If some one visits me he can use the “public” sitemap since he should not be allowed to control my washing machine or other stuff.

Good luck to you! :fearful:

It depends on their technical skills/proficiency and what they want to accomplish. A lot will also depend on what they plan on running OH on. They may not want to learn linux/vim, if they run OH on Linux, they will have to learn at least a little bit. If one is going to deploy a DIY home automation system they have no one to call upon for routine maintenance or solving problems. They have to be their own technician which will require deeper knowledge of the system.

And realize that your friend will use you as this technician so it is important to set some boundaries now.

I’m just speaking from personal experience.

And I agree, please use vscode or ESH Designer for editing when first starting out. Particularly when first learning, despite its faults, I have to recommend Designer until the syntax checking is done in vscode. The <ctrl><space> key combo to show valid ways to complete part of a line of code is well worth all the problems with Designer to help discover what is and is not available in the Rules. I’ve learned far more from <ctrl><space> than all the docs and examples combined.

I would also take a look at the experimental rules engine. It seems to be advancing along at a good pace and appears to be fairly capable. You might be able to bypass the whole issue with choosing an editor and do everything in PaperUI.

As a general way to approach OH I recommend the following steps:

  • Start small, maybe just controlling a couple of lights
  • Gradually add in bindings that do not require new hardware like Astro, weather, etc
  • Start to add in interactions with third party services and systems that require a little but of lower level bindings like Exec and HTTP (e.g. Internet SpeedTest, Roku, Gas price websites, etc.)
  • By this point, they should have enough knowledge about how OH works and what they want to do to start to choose which technologies make sense for their home and start to invest wisely in new hardware.