Feedback from a new openHAB(ian) user

  • Platform information:
    • Hardware: RapsPI 3B+
    • OS: openHABian
    • Java Runtime Environment: openHABian embedded
    • openHAB version: 2.2.0
  • Issue of the topic: This is not for the non-technical

Hi openHAB community,

I felt like sharing my experience with openHAB(ian) here, as I think I’m a pretty average not-too-technical enthusiast.

Let me start by saying that I love openHAB. It is smartly designed, clearly extremely versatile and open, and I’d love to keep using it.

As background: I equipped my entire house with Fibaro, from the Zwave modules controlling lights, curtains, doors, roller shutters, garage doors etc to the Fibaro HomeCenter 2. So I have some experience already, but I started to give up on Fibaro as the central control unit due to instability issues and the closed system compromises that come with a Zwave-centric solution.

So let’s give openHAB a try… I’m tech savvy in that I understand how technology works, but I’m not a coder and I’m not familiar with Linux. I also work and have many hobbies outside of tech, so I don’t have limitless amounts of time to sink into this project. Does that make me an average noob? Probably…

I decided to go with openHABian since it was ‘marketed’ as a solution for people who don’t need to know Linux. GOOD!

My conclusion after a week: not true.

Let’s start: flashing the MicroSD was easy, RasPi booted nicely and I tried to access it using the IP allocated by my router. No luck. Turns out I needed to add :8080. OK, good to know, but already lost quite some time just on that.

Then I wanted to add the Zwave stick. Some googling and I find out I need to create serial ports in Linux. HUH? So you do need to touch Linux after all. Download Putty, get to know it, log in, follow the step by step guides found somewhere online… and hope for the best. Another few hours gone.

Now the Zwave stick just needs the port mapping set. But which port? I see four! Trial and error… Until it works.

Let’s add a first Zwave thing! Using PaperUI, cool, it appears and I add it. Let’s set the new name and location. Hit save. “Thing added”, and… Error: 500. Super.

Let’s check the logs. Some cryptic log messages about bignumbers. Try a bit of everything, google for similar issues. Found a lot, but none like my specific setup…

Error on save, meaning things don’t appear in the control part of PaperUI. I’m stuck…

Let’s post a first call for help in the community. Another few hours lost.

4 days later: no answer on the post. So much for community help.

After more reading and googling, I default to HABmin for Zwave inclusions.

Works, save in HABmin and the things appear in PaperUI. bt still not in control.

But wait, I need to create items associated with the things. I do that in HABmin, and yes, first item in Control! Breakthrough!

Can I control it? no… Turns out I have to fiddle around some more with the choice of serial ports. Until I finally hear the first click from the switch.

We’re now literally almost 4 days later. And I managed to control a switch.

Continuing the learning process: I discover that new items are not always visible in HABmin when in inclusion mode. So my strategy is: include in PaperUI, switch to HABmin for configuration, save there in order to avoid the still present ERROR: 500 in PaperUI, and go back to PaperUI for control.

OK, let’s keep learning…

How about mobile app access? Let’s set that up and test. Google, here I come. Find the step by step instructions on openHAB and… guess what: I need to SSH into the server to get a UUID and secret out of text files on Linux. Wait, What??? Why??? Why not show this in the PaperUI User Interface? NOT user friendly.

OK, moving forward, I finally get the magic online status in myopenhab.That is after a lot of fiddling with the openhab service etc…

Items? Empty… But I see them in PaperUI, why not here??

Some more reading and I discover I need to expose the items I want to have visible. OK, I do that, and after a lot of trying I end up seeing 2 of 4 items online, but with cryptic names instead of the human intelligible descriptions I gave them…

Arrrrrrgh… Back to Google. Could not find a solution, other than maybe I have to update Java (really?), or I need to add descriptors and labels etc… in some config files.

Set up the app on the phone: got to get the local network working. Remote: nope: error 401. Frustration level reaching danger zone…

Let’s see if I can at least get my Amazon Alexa speakers to act as voice command portals, as advertised. Set up the skill, link it to the cloud. Discover items… Nothing.

Back to google: I need to again edit text and config files.

I don’t have time for this. I’m just testing with 4 devices, I have -wait for it- close to 200 zwave devices I’ll need to add and set up (yip, big house).

So in conclusion: absolutely great solution. But stay away if you’re not technical enough, or if you don’t enjoy fiddling around in Linux, despite what it says on the OpenHABian page: “A home automation enthusiast doesn’t have to be a Linux enthusiast!”. You NEED to be a slightly Linux knowledgeable person, and you NEED a lot of time on your hands to set things up.

What surprised me most is that it should be easy to fix these things. Create a front-end for those text files, or even better, store tags in the database and generate them from there.

Add a function to create serial ports. Add a view on the UUID and Secret. Etc…

All relatively easy fixes I would think…

My advice: if you want this platform to go mainstream, and it deserves to go mainstream, then ask your user base to recruit newbies and document their struggles. Make eliminating those struggles a priority for your next releases.

Reading posts in this community forum, I feel that you are stuck in distorted “all users out there are quite technical and love to fiddle with config files, Linux, ssh terminal sessions etc.” reality bubble.

No we don’t, we like things that are functional with minimal effort.

Last request: please don’t flame me for this post. Again, I love OpenHAB, I just wish it was designed for people like me.

I didn’t write 4 pages here to make anyone feel bad, or to attack anyone. I wrote it to make a point that I hope will help this platform and community grow faster and stronger.

Arnold

7 Likes

Thx for sharing your experience.
Unfortunately most, if not all issues you had, happened because your were not reading the docs :grinning:

https://docs.openhab.org/tutorials/advanced/connecting.html

That information could have been found in a lot of posts in this forum via search button.

Good! You learned to read the docs :grinning:

Have fun with the wonderful experience of openHAB, it will get better by time :sunglasses:

I do like OpenHab too, after a hard beginnig phase like you had.
I agree 100% that documentation is for programmers and people
Who likes fiddling around. But what i dislike most is that
the documentation has no real examples only hints (for programmers easy…)
and the documentation is often outdated because wonderful (not sarcastic!)
enhancment was made BUT documentation isnt updated.
I know programmers hate documentation… But this is mandatory for a complex project.

Did i say i like OpenHab? But i wasted so much time for googling and
looking for solutions in this forum. Here are many skilled people
really nice and helpful with great knowledge! Thank you!!!
Just an idea OpenHab is really awesome. May you do a feature stop
and spend the time to do “documentation”?
In my humble opinion OpenHab would be “the great thing”
for everyone who is interested in HA

1 Like

Did you notice the “Switch Article Version” button on top of each page?

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People people,

I was afraid of this type of reaction. I did read the documentation, when I bumped into settings that needed searching (read, the UI is not intuitive nor is it self explanatory). As posted by @Johann_Obermeier, documentation is not always up to date, but mostly pretty good.

Why not comment on why it is necessary to dive into config files for things that should and can be handled in a user friendly UI?

Why don’t we focus on that instead of criticizing my post?

I’m really trying to be constructive here, so thank you for joining me in that constructive mindset.

Arnold

1 Like

No, you did not, otherwise you would have had much less issues.
You can’t expect running software on linux and not have to be familiar with the operating system. At least basic knowledge is a must (sorry). OpenHABian does a great job to make that easy …

Where did I? I just mentioned the docs where your issues could have been found.

Still: have fun with openHAB.

OK @sihui.

I see you want to focus on the documentation part only. That’s fine with me. Thank you for your contribution.

I hope others will want to open up the conversation about the “A home automation enthusiast doesn’t have to be a Linux enthusiast!” quote on https://docs.openhab.org/installation/openhabian.html. and maybe brainstorm some solutions that will help openHAB grow better, stronger and more noob friendly.

Thank you,
Arnold

It is actually marketed as a solution for people who are not experts in Linux. You must have at least some basic knowledge of how to get around and use what ever OS you install OH on. If want to get by with no knowledge iof Linux you must install OH on some other operating system. It does run quite well on pretty much everything.

Not Linux related and the Installation docs do state:

Connect to the openHAB 2 dashboard: http://openhabianpi:8080

Not sure where you were Googleing. With openHABian you just need to plug in the device and it should show up under /dev/ttyUSB0 or /dev/ttyAMA0 (I forget which it uses on the RPi) and it will be selectable in the zwave binding config for the serial device you have to create in PaperUI for the controller (as described in the zwave binding README).

I’m pretty certain openHABian does all the permission stuff that may be required by default. If it doesn’t you can have it do it from openhabian-config, menu entry 66.

How many USB’s do you have plugged into the RPi?

Did you choose the 2.2 Release of the 2.3 SNAPSHOT? If the 2.3 SNAPSHOT, you are using Alpha level software that at best is undergoing test. You literally have all the merged changes from last night. There are bound to be bugs like that that sneak in. I’ve seen this problem reported on the SNAPSHOT but not the release. If you are running the release then we need to look into it.

Did you unplug and replug in the controller multiple times? If you do so while something is running that is connected to the controller (e.g. openHAB) then when you plug it back in the device shows back up as the next device in the sequence.

I’m pretty sure that one of the folders shared over SAMBA by default is the userdata folder. You should see something with “userdata” in the name as one of the network shares.

Because openHABian is not openHAB. openHAB is a home automation software that runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, various NAS systems etc. openHABian is a set of scripts that does a lot of installation and configuration for you on apt based Linux systems. openHABian is not a turnkey black box system. openHABian does not eliminate the requirement to connect to the Linux system and perform some tasks.

It is for those who don’t know Linux not because it eliminates the need to ever learn anything about Linux. It is for those new to Linux because it reduces the amount of work and stuff that you have to learn up front to use OH to a bare minimum. But a bare minimum is not zero.

There is a whole lot of work going on to fix these things. But this isn’t a commercial system. Different parts of OH are moving forward at different rates. openHabian itself has only been around for a little over a year. PaperUI has only been released for about the same amount of time.

We do. Yours is not the first such posting. We always welcome postings like this (despite the defensiveness I illustrate above). I think we have had one person actually step up and contribute to the docs or coding improvements.

Also, this is an open source project. We can only make what we as individuals contribute our own priority. It’s not like there is some manager with a bunch of workers who can set the priority and decide what does and does not get worked on. The developers will donate their time to work on those parts of OH that are a priority to them. Not enough of the developers have making these types of improvements as their top priority so the improvements are slow.

But if you could see how far we have come and the amount of effort that has been put in to get here you might understand the defensiveness. From the developer’s side postings like this come across as:

Beginner: Your system is hard to use and if you want it to be successful you need to make it easier to use
Developers go off and spend thousands of man hours making improvements in usability across the board
Beginners: Your system is hard to use and if you want it to be successful you need to make it easier to use

As a beginner, you never actually see that this stuff is a priority. You never see how much work has already gone into it and how much is already planned for.

It’s enough to make a person give up. Nothing is ever good enough. Do you have any concept of how much easier installing and configuring OH is with openHABian over what we used to have to do? Any idea how much easier it is to manage and configure OH now that PaperUI exists? Can you imagine how much easier it is to have Things actually automatically discovered rather than needing to look up and manually type everything into a text config file after watching some log file to get an API ID that only gets printed when that device boots up?

No you don’t because you never had to live with OH when those things did not exist.

I’m not intending this to be a flame or to come across as testy as it does. I’m operating on little sleep and already grumpy from another similar thread. I probably shouldn’t even post it.

Anyway, tank you for the posting. We do need feedback like this. And if you are willing to contribute to make it better so much the better.

Everything you are complaining about is being addressed to some degree or other and there is a whole host of other things that are hard that you haven’t even enountered yet that are also being worked on. But Home Automation is hard.

  • Examples are very difficult because there are more than 300! (for those who haven’t encountered that before that is 300 factorial or a 3 with 641 zeros after it) possible combinations of bindings one can install in OH and that doesn’t even include the need to provide a separate set of examples for each OS can run on where the examples will be different.
  • OH DOES provide a comprehensive example in the Demo package.
  • We have a challenge getting people to donate their time to keep the documentation up to date to where it is right now. Adding more examples will just increase the workload on the same number of volunteers
  • Complete Rules examples have consciously been placed in the https://community.openhab.org/c/tutorials-examples section of the forum where there are hundreds if not thousands of complete examples. Some of them are so complete as to include the code necessary to run on a microcontroller like an Arduino and ESP8266.

This is not supposed to happen so if it ever does please bring it to our attention so it can be addressed. However, be aware that if you are running on the SNAPSHOT release you are literally running on code that was submitted and merged as recently as last night. It is unreasonable to expect the documentation for the SNAPSHOT to keep up with the code. The SNAPSHOT is the TEST version of OH. It is not intended for production use. It is not intended for beginners to use. It is intended for experienced users to use so they can find and report the bugs.

But there should NEVER be a case where there is a new feature in a Release that is not documented in the docs.

And it is mandatory for this project.

Except, in my experience on this forum, the majority of people who have a really hard time with OH either can’t (visual learners, audial learners, those who have difficulty reading), won’t, or don’t know how to read the OH docs. We can only address the latter group with such a stop. And even then, it doesn’t require anyone to stop developing bug fixes or new features to address.

Also, want to decimate your list of people willing to donate their time to your open source project? Try to tell them what they can and can’t work on.

Because it hasn’t been done yet. I challenge you to install OH 2.0 and try to use PaperUI. Then come back to OH 2.2 or even better 2.3 and tell me that we haven’t been working on just this problem.

I appreciate that, I really do. And I’m not trying to criticize your post. Just trying to explain how demoralizing such posts can be. We aren’t blind. We are sitting here thinking everything is just fine. But posts like this usually come across as:

  • I didn’t follow the docs as closely as I should have. OH is REALLY complex and one has to read the docs VERY closely sometimes and many do not. Honestly, this is something we need lots and lots of help with. Are you willing @ACobb, @Johann_Obermeier to help us out with that? We really need newish users to help us organize and structure the docs in a way that helps the new users become more successful.
  • I just started using your tool and it’s hard to use. If you only made this one change which seems simple to fix from my ignorant perspective. Some fixes could be very simple (e.g. expose the UUID and Secret in the Cloud Connector config could be easy, though there are security implications) but most require, for example, some change to the infrastructure that is in progress that will actually solve a whole category of similar problems rather than a hack that only addresses that one problem in that one place.
  • You developers are so advanced you simply don’t care about us beginners. We do care. Despite the reaction, we really value postings like these. At the same time though, postings like these are demoralizing. As developers we get zero cerdit for any work done up to this point nor do we get any credit for being concious of the struggles of new users. Instead we are soem foreign species incapable of understanding the struggles of new users and therefore we don’t care.

I invite you to join the various github communities where the developers actually talk about and implement such things. There are 84 open issues on openHABian alone about a third of which are enhancements.

Come up with a good idea for an enhancement and open an issue.

It is all well and good for us to brainstorm ideas here but in reality, OH is too big to be managed as a single project and therefore it isn’t. And each project has their own community of contributors and developers. And each of those communities has their own vision for where they want that part of OH to go. ESH is focused on enhancements to the core, PaperUI, and the Rules Engine (see Experimental Rules Engine). openHABian is focused on installing and configuring and maintaining OH on Linux, in particular SBCs. The addons projects are self explanatory. The Docker project maintains the official OH Docker image. and so on.

11 Likes

Great post from rikoshak. As someone who first got to know Openhab about two years ago, I can definitely see the improvements in the ‘ease of use’ and ‘getting started’ areas - much easier than just year or two ago. I also recognize the feelings from the first post, some quite similar to my own when I was gettings started. Few ideas that might make the experience smoother

a) setting expectations

This is from the introduction text from openhab.org:

Many parts of the setup require textual configuration, potentially accessing log files for debugging, etc. Therefore setting up openHAB is mainly a job for tech-savvy people - it is not a commercial off-the-shelf product that you plug in and that is ready to go.

Maybe make this even more apparent with Openhabian as well. Not having to be a Linux “enthusiast” to get started with Openhabian is pretty accurate in my opinion. But when something unexpected happens, it sure helps to have some basic knowledge of the OS.

b) making the organization and development efforts more visible

With open-source projects I often find it difficult to understand or even see the organization and efforts behind it. Github is not noob-friendly at all in my opinion. Even though most people know the concept of open-source, how many actually realize the work hours that goes into the project and by how many people? Maybe some key numbers and the people who are making this all possible could help with that (both are probably already up, but I’m talking about visibility and simplicity especially for beginners). Or a short and simple explanation of open source development in general and how it works with this project specifically. Could these help alleviate the frustration that can arise from seeing something seemingly simple not (yet) fixed?

Rich,
I have a bit of time,
I can’t code Java on your level, guys
What can I do?
Vincent

That is a question I LOVE to answer over and over again.

You are already contributing more than you know with your help on the forum. It is hugely appreciated. Just from a personal perspective I know that I probably only have to skim a post you are replying to because you likely have it sorted.

The docs are in desperate need of man power. Just look at the numbers if issues that have piled up and I bet you will be able to double that number just off the top of your head. The beginner’s tutorial in particular is in dire need if content. There are whole sections missing. I believe the overall vision is that the beginner’s Tutorial will be more of a narrative example and the User’s Guide will be more of a reference.

The docs are a really easy way to get started because you can start to contribute small changes in browser without messing with git and all that. I’ve posted a quick how to at some point but I think it was a reply so I can’t really find it. I’ll write it up again if you need it.

If you like scripting, openHABian is a good place to get started. It’s all pretty much bash scripts. The Docker repo doesn’t take too much to come up to speed.

Even if you can’t code Java, you might just be able to contribute to a new binding. The Apple iCloud binding started it as a forum posting using the HTTP actions and rules. Someone was looking for a Dexcom binding (which is really a interesting idea) which could all be done in rules with http actions too. My wife is on one so I looked into it awhile back but haven’t had time to do much with it. I suspect the Dexcom folks would try to make some marketing it of such an integration.

If you like HABPanel, people always appreciate a new widget.

There are lots of ways you can contribute without being a coder and every but if it helps. And if you want to learn some coding, you can start by reviewing prs and taking on some small issues that don’t take much to implement.

If you need any help getting started let me know.

@rlkoshak Thanks for your post. I do understand your point of view and that you may get frustrated and demoralized with such a post.
I dont want to demoralize you. I found OpenHab fantastic and better
then every commercial product. In my opinion the solution is close
to a HA system that every wish can statisfie. Because of that i did my comment. For a piece of crab i wouldnt say anything…
I will take a look and sort the things that was frustrating for me! as a beginner (who do read the docs, and read the docs again).
I will try to create a tutorial for dummies (simple setup) with step by step
explanation and full working example set. For beginners it is great to get ONE thing working! After that you feel great and you got the basic understanding how OH works, and you are motivated to do the next step.
I will need some time for it (fulltime job, family house, OH implementation😆).
I’ll be back when a early version is done, and i want your suggestions!
CU

3 Likes

Ohhhh!!! yes, the feeling of success when I got my first light to switch on!!
I can still remember it 500 items and I lost count of rules later…

Yes my first working item was a switch too (Sonoff Basic with TASMOTA)
Everything was new mqtt? broker? Java? (still a miracle for me!)
Rules (without programming knowledge) still a adventure, but with good examples i can copy, modify and abstract with logic thinking.

That is my motivation for writing a comment. I think this frustrating part could be a little smaller, if there is a guide who is made for this early steps.

I fully agree with you. My setup is different but I also struggled a lot getting openhab to work.

I think the problem in openhab is that it does not work in a straight forward way. Sometimes it is a problem with linux like a device on a usb serial port that appears on a different port after you plug it out and in again.

Sometimes it is a problem with openhab itself like the quite unintuitive items you have to create and link for things.

In my case it was also a problem with a component, that did not fully work on linux.

All these problems can be overcome with a lot of effort but they make the experience for a beginner quite a struggle.

I also found for some problems that I could fix for work around them by reading the docs provided. This does help but ideally it should be possible to set up openhab without reading the docs at all. I know this is difficult to achieve, especially for an open source project, but it is worth to at least have it as a goal.

Christian

It is most definitely a goal.

But like I said above, there are over 300! (a three with 641 zeros after it) possible combinations of bindings which can run on five very different platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, QNAP, and Synology).

It is a great goal and the maintainers are working very diligently towards that goal, but, I simply do not see it as being remotely feasible to ever achieve and maintain those aspects of OH that make it powerful and attractive:

  • an unprecedented collection of supported technologies and APIs that are of varying degrees of maturity and complexity
  • seamlessly bridges between ALL of these through a standardized abstraction layer (i.e. Items)
  • runs on five very different operating systems

The only way to achieve a truly intuitive UI based system like OH is to massively reduce what OH can do. For example, drop the supported APIs and technologies to something more manageable, say maybe the top 20, though we should exclude lower level bindings like Exec, serial, and TCP/UDP. Then we would need to support only one operating system.

Once we’ve done that then we can probably achieve this. However, once we’ve done this we’ve eliminated just about everything that distinguishes OH from commercial home automation hubs like Wink and Vera.

1 Like

@rlkoshak, yes, I fully agree that there is a balance between being completely open and versatile, which is in my opinion one of the main differentiators of OH, and remaining user friendly, intuitive, and properly documented.

If you ask my which direction I would choose, I would prefer openness and compromise a bit on the user friendliness and docs.

However, let me try to pull the conversation back into my initial post if I may: I would like to suggest that it should be a priority to avoid that users of any technical level should have to dive into config files and UUID and secret files in order to allow access from the web or a mobile device. And the same for access from voice assistants like Siri/Homekit, or Alexa or Google Assistant.

I feel pretty confident that the number of users who don’t want to set up web and mobile access in 2018 are in the low percentage digits. I do accept that this may not yet be entirely true for voice assistants, even though we’re in the end all tech enthusiasts at different levels of technicality, and there is hence probably a good percentage of users out there who use or want to use voice assistants.

I take the point, of course, that progress has been made since 2.0 to 2.2. And I’m sure this progress will continue in 2.3 and beyond. I’m hugely thankful for what the community and contributors have already managed to offer the HA enthousiast space.

I checked the 2.3 change list, and bar me missing it, I did not see a lot of UI level improvements, like for example elevating access from config files to the UI level.

Could I make the suggestion to launch a poll here or on another polling platform asking for the key features the current and prospective user community would be most in need of?

As always,
Your thoughts are welcome.
Arnold

Completely removing features and platforms would be a pitty. What could work is to have an inner set of platforms and integrations that are known to work well. So people could have a simple life by using this inner set or be more versatile and have more possible issues.

Christian

Indeed and that is what is being furiously being worked on. Some of them are easy enough to do and some require a good deal of planning and changes to the core. The whole reason there was a break between OH 1.x and 2.x is to enable just this. In OH 1.x all we had were text-based configs. What has been implemented:

  • automatic discovery and configuration of devices
  • creation of Items through the UI
  • HABPanel which can be built entirely within the browser
  • binding management and configuration through the browser
  • Experimental Rules Engine which, although experimental, let’s one create Rules in the browser and it is approaching parity of the Rules DSL
  • Home Builder which lets one generate some of those files that do not yet have UI support in PaperUI or elsewhere

There is still a ton to do and it is all being worked on including:

  • complet the Experimental Rules Engine
  • add support for tags to PaperUI
  • sitemap creation through the UI
  • migration of very important bindings to 2.x so they can be configured in the UIs (MQTT, HTTP etc)

All of these are actively being worked and there are many more.

That being said, there was much complaining and fears expressed about the loss of config files. A number of users are refusing to upgrade BECAUSE of the UI changes in OH 2. For the power users out there, the config files will ALWAYS be preferable to a UI based system and OH will likely always continue to support them.

So here is the problem with doing something like a poll like this. OH is an open source project. We can’t make anyone work on anything they don’t want to work on. We can run as many polls as we want and open as many issues as you want but unless you find one or more developers who are able and willing to actually code it the poll is meaningless.

Honestly, I don’t really see a poll telling us anything that we don’t already know. Nothing mentioned thus far is a revelation that hasn’t been discussed before and that the developers don’t know.

So I think it would be better to spend efforts recruting developers to work on the things you want worked on.

That is only going to show those things that are done and merged in. There has been a ton of infrastructure work that is required to support the UI changes that need to be made. The Experimental Rules Engine continues to progress. There were changes made so one can define preferred units (e.g. F verses C temperatures) and OH will handle the conversion, there has been a ton of work going on with tags, which are much bigger than just telling Google Assitant which Items are switchable. And these are just the ones that I’ve seen come up here on the forum. I’ve not watched the issues and PRs that closely.

Most of the issues people encouter come from specific bindings or the combinations of bindings they want to use. In my experience almost no two systems will have the same set of bindings. So we would be right back to where we are now. Especially for those new users who want to use a low level binding like TCP or Exec to talk to their alarm system or stereo receiver. So coming up with the core set will be very difficult and even if we were to do so it doesn’t really solve the problem because each user has their set of technologies they want to use, whether or not they are “known to work well”.

2 Likes

I am quite sure, whenever you are a bit more familiar with openHAB, you will absolutely love the opportunity to use config files instead of clicking your stuff together in any UI.

I have about 150 devices and stopped using things which are unable to be configured via files. Don’t have any Z-Wave, so i do not know these.

UIs are great for a handful of devices and for starters, but handling of many devices comfortably require special UIs for mass changes.

I started with PaperUI, but with a large number of devices you need to set the location, a reorganization takes some time. This is a breeze with search and replace in a text editor like VS Code. (You can rename an item in all your files with a single operation.)