Designer things vs PaperUI things?

Complete newbie here, trying to get a grip around the complicated concepts of OH2. The most confusing is that most things can be done in so many ways. Anyway, first thing I’ve been experimenting with is the Sonos binding. And first question is: What is the difference between things created in the Designer vs things created in PaperUI? Right now I’ve created a sonos.things file in /etc/openhab2/things and edited it with the Designer. This thing shows up just fine in the PaperUI, but the name is wrong there (it’s just called “PLAY 1”) and I can’t seem to rename it. I tried creating another thing using the inbox function in PaperUI and this thing got the name I gave it. But where is this PaperUI created thing saved? It doesn’t turn up in /etc/openhab2/things. So which is the recommended way of creating things?

Also I really don’t see the point with the Designer at all. I thought it’d do things more magically, but if I understand things correctly it’s just a text editor with some special hightlighting? Why not just edit the files in any other text editor?

edit: I think I’ve got about the same question regarding sitemaps vs what I do in habpanel. Is it doing the same thing? So using Designer to make sitemaps isn’t necessary when using habpanel?


Paper UI is modern and user friendly way to add things and items to your openhab installation. Every thing that is generated in Paper UI gets stored inside JsonDB.
I would call the designer a poweruser tool. The advantage is, if you kill your complete openhab installation, you can recover all your items, things, sitemaps by just placing them inside your openhab config folder. This was especially interessting while there was MapDB as a database backend for PaperUI.

So the designer wont do any magic to your openhab installation. It will force you to do everything manually. :slight_smile:

Regarding Sitemaps and Habpanel
Openhab is a really modular platform for your intranet of things. It support a lots of devices/things, databases, services and UI. So you can just choose the UI that´s right for you.
I always used the Sitemap with BasicUI on my phone, computer and so on. Habpanel is currently running on my tablet. So just play with it and decide on your own if you gonna use sitemap or habpanel or both.

Hope I could help you.

Btw you will find more details on these topic inside this forum. Just use the search…

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So it’s no problem mixing and matching, having some things set up from PaperUI and some from Designer? I suspect some things can’t be done from UI alone, right? So eventually I’ll end up doing some things from Designer anyway…

However, when I try to rename my Designer-created thing from PaperUI I get a little popup saying “Error: 409 - conflict”. Searching for the error gives me nothing useful. Any idea what it means?

I would guess it´s not best practice to mix things up. I am not quite sure if you can do more with things files then you could with paper ui. At the end they both use the same binding and scheme for it.

The conflict appears because paper ui cannot update a thing defined in .things file. That result in 409.

PaperUI is not able to manage Things or Items that are defined in .Items files. That is pretty much the only difference. PaperUI defined items are stored in the jsondb folder of your userdata folder /var/lib/openhab2/jsondb if memory recalls correctly.

If all you are doing is work with Items and sitemap at this point Designer is kind of underwhelming. Where it provides magic is in Rules. You will find that the error messages generated by OH, particularly syntax errors in Rules, are horrible. The power of Designer is that it syntax checks as you type, uses <ctrl><space> to autocomplete a partially typed phrase (great for discovering methods on classes), and is Item aware meaning it knows what Items are defined and includes that in the syntax checking.

You can do pretty much anything without Designer. You are setting yourself up for pain if you don’t at least use Designer to check your rules when you encounter errors.

BasicUI, ClassicUI, Habdroid, and the openHAB iOS are all user interfaces that are defined by sitemaps. Habpanel is an alternative user interface that does not use the sitemap but instead let’s you construct the UI in the browser.

One of the really powerful things, yet frustrating things for new users, is there are lots of options and ways to do things.

For completeness, PaperUI and Habmin are two alternative administration UIs.

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Thanks @rlkoshak! You’re very good at explaining clearly how things fits together. Some of the last posts of you that I’ve read on this forum are definitely well suited for being copy-pasted right into the documentation wiki so users won’t have to dig so deep into the forums to find the information. I would think many potential new users give up before they get their minds around all these concepts because the information is too hard to find.

My plan for now (after reading for instance your post above) is to:

  • Try to manage all my things, items and channels using Habmin
  • Only use Designer for rules (haven’t even started looking at those yet)
  • Ignore sitemaps for the time being and trying to to my GUI in Habpanel

Well see how that works out :wink:

That is in the works.

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