Flows Builder - a visual designer for the new rules engine

Dude. This is like the most awesome thing ever! :open_mouth:

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Spent a couple hours on the debugger this morning:

The log messages are more user friendly (not all event types are recognized).

Add items to a watchlist and monitor their states.
You can also send update the state from the watchlist by editing the text box and hitting Return:
this will send a command (or hit Esc to discard your changes).
Add an item to the watchlist by clicking its name in the log.

This might be useful to you even if you don’t use the other features.


@ysc Really enjoying the debugger!

I see you set “visibility: hidden” for rules in the latest version - but that seems to have the side effect of them not being shown when using the REST API: eg. http://openhab:8080/rest/rules. Do you have any suggestions? Otherwise I’ll raise this as an issue against eclipse smarthome

@mattwire Thanks!

About the rules being hidden now: this is intentional, to avoid polluting the view in Paper UI with “technical” rules, and discourage editing them directly. Certainly not an issue with ESH!

They are tagged with the ID of the flow so for example if you published rules related to “flow1” they can still be listed with: http://openhab:8080/rest/rules?tags=flow1

If you’re not sure exactly about which rules are in your system you can always check out the JSON DB in userdata/jsondb/automation_rules.json

Yes, the problem is there seems to be no way to retrieve all hidden rules from the API without first knowing the rule exists. On the text console you can run automation listRules and that returns everything.

The reason for doing this is I have an issue with rules not initialising at openhab startup (see New rule engine startup - rule initialisation)

Ah, good to know. Another possible solution is to leave the “root” rules (those with triggers) visible and hide the “additional” ones (those created when traversing the flow).

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Up and working. Thank @ysc. Simple rules are now so quick to make. And the debugging alone is awesome!

I could do with having some multi-trigger rules and merging paths, but understand the complication / limitation currently.

I think this will become very popular for new users very quickly.

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Still using this to make rules i think it will be an awesome addition.

Some things i have noticed:

  1. When you press “Delete” on they keyboard if you are editing some text in the “Module Configuration” section it removes the full node. I was only expecting it to remove the text character i was editing. Note: backspace works fine
  2. you dont seem to be able to copy and paste into the the text boxs in the configuration panel
  3. When you add the “say something” blob it doesnt let you select the Audio sink from a drop down like the “pay a sound” does
  4. it would be nice to be able to see the debug panel while in the configuration panel

Thanks again for the effort so far.

Thanks for the reports :slight_smile:
1. & 2. are essentially the same silly bug - the event handlers for deleting and copy-pasting nodes take precedence even when the focus is in a text box; I’ll have a fix
3. happens in Paper UI too, there is apparently a mistake in the config descriptions for the “say something” module
4. could be tricky - what’s wrong with simply deselecting the node?

This development seems to stop on Sept 2017? Any further development to support multiple conditions/branches?

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Hi Yannick, do you still develop and maintain this great project? If not you could ask Kai Kreuzer if this can become part of openhab or maintained there. Your project has great potential and make openhab a lot easier to use. Thanx a lot for your great work!

Hi, no I don’t use it anymore nowadays :slight_smile:
There are still some problems with the experimental rule engine which make it difficult to use productively.

Are there still problems with the new rules engine or has it improved the last 8 month?
I think your flow builder is exactly the way how rules should be created. I really think openhab needs a developer like you with great ideas and the knowledge to build stuff like the flow builder for a great user experience.
Your great work should not get lost because of some bugs in the experimental rules engine - instead the bugs should get fixed so your work can continue.
Will you continue your work on flow builder when the rules engine improves?


The main bug imo is that the rules are not initialized after a restart, the logs show that modules are missing (not found).

I really can’t say if I’ll have the time or interest to continue working on this, but I’m not excluding it if I start using it again. Btw the work is not “lost”! - the source code is there on GitHub, anyone could take over eventually.

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That looks awsome and possibly much easier to handle.
I will look into this when I have some more time.

By the way: Would you be wlling to share your barking.mp3?
I am looking for a proper one since weeks and did not find one :slight_smile:

You should find it already in the /sounds folder, along with doorbell.mp3

Just call it in a PlaySound command in a rule.


Thanks - I must have missed that.
However, the barking is a little too short for real life use.


Can you use a simple audio editor to loop the file?

I like Goldwave for editing.

Goldwave Audio editor

I guess it will be too obvious to potential intrudes that it#s a fake :wink:
However, I already have other ideas for Goldwave :smiley:

I guess I need to tease our neighbor’s dog a little to get a realistic barking… :wink: