Future usability from a general user perspective

I’ve been using OH2 a little and getting used to it and I’m just curious as to the direction it’s taking. A lot of things are better, some more confusing. Here is just some thoughts, feel free to ignore them, I’m sure it’s all probably being worked on.

So currently my devices pop up in InBox and I can add them as a thing (Great!).
Then I can configure in PaperUI and that’s all pretty nice.
Then I have to create an item in a text file (now they’re more basic, I don’t understand why this isn’t in the paperUI).
Once I have my item I can go back to my “thing” and link it’s channels to the corresponding “item”.
Then I have to go back to text files and create a sitemap linked to that item.

Now as a user I’d expect something more along the lines of:

Devices pop up in InBox, so I add them.
I then assign it a name of my choosing, maybe channel as well.
So… I could have thing=“livingroomlight”, channel=“intensity”.
Then there should be an interface builder where I chuck down a dimmer control and link it to “livingroomlight:intensity”.
Obviously rules would also be based off these names.

It just seems that the use of items could be covered by the “thing” instead of having to create a thing, then link it to an item which is only really giving the thing a name and what it is.

Is this the direction it’s going in or am I missing the bigger picture?

Hi Christian,

What you write makes perfect sense - what you should note is that OH2 just started in the direction of “UI-driven setup” and is by far not yet at the goal; especially as there aren’t many people contributing to these parts and it is a huge effort to get those things working.

See my post here. What you describe would be for users of the second category (all UI/database). I am not sure if it is wise to couple the items directly to the channels (and not show items at all to the user anymore). I can consider something like this as an “easy mode” to enable, but this would be too constrained for power users. Take e.g. KNX (this was the very first binding that existed for openHAB): As a thing, you could have a 12-channel actuator in your cabinet, switching lights in 5 different rooms. Using the name of this actuator for your items simply does not make sense and it would couple you to the specific hardware; you couldn’t e.g. easily replace by a Philips Hue bulb the next day without having to adapt all your rules & sitemaps. This is where the separation of the functional item layer and the physical devices is very powerful and handy.
Nonetheless: Yes, an interface builder would be nice and there are discussions for the server side for enabling such UIs. Are you a developer and would be willing to help working on realising your ideas?


Hey Kai,
Thanks for your detailed response.
It sounds like it’s heading into something wonderful, I was just confused at the setup process that relies on items and sitemaps, but doesn’t present them in the

Unfortunately I am not a developer, I write Python and VEX (application specific) at work, but have no experience with writing applications. I have been looking through GitHub though and if I get to the point where I think I can be of any help I’ll jump in.


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As a User Experience professional, I’d be happy to help. Are there any specific areas where I can help - looking at the user flows or the UI?