Graphic programing options


First of all I wanted to say that I did a lot of reading last couple of weeks here and the mindset and how people talk to each other here is just so nice to see.

That said, I am at a point that I want to automate my house. I love tech and I could say that I’m pretty comfortable with tech in general. My programming skills are what I call copy/paste programming. I can see the logic and with pre written bits and pieces I’m pretty OK with adjusting them a little. But nowhere nere programming on my own.

At the same time I do like some advanced things and can understand the logic behind it. So I’m not a total newbie but programing in a language is a step to far.

After a lot of reading a research I find myself between 2 worlds. I thought that OH would be perfect for me, love the immense possibilities and its open source and I can install it on a pi. But after the days past I see that there is a lot of programming needed of you want it to work and look slick. And this is really overwhelming for me. Even though people are willing to help, there not going to program it for me.

I’ve seen and played with fibaro home center and the automation part was just lovely. It was perfect for me, you could do a lot with an graphic interface but if needed some small bits and pieces could be programmed in lua. The big downside are the possibilities with hardware. Limited to their own products and they not willing to incorporate products from competitors.

So to end my looong story :sweat_smile: is there a way in OH where I can automate in a graphic UI? The experimental rules engine got me really really excited but I’ve noticed it isn’t really all that. And on top of that the paper UI is kind of ending.

Right now at this point in time, your best bet would probably be to use NodeRed to create your rules and let OH do the rest. It is a more graphical environment. Soon (end of the year perhaps) the Next Gen Rules Engine will become something a bit easier to use and more reliable but it isn’t quite ready for general use just yet.

PaperUI is just a web based interface. Anything that it does is still possible to do even with PaperUI gone. So what comes along to replace PaperUI will still be able to create Rules. Only it will do so better. It doesn’t take much to do better than PaperUI does with rules right now.

Thanks for your reply @rlkoshak. Node red looks at least somewhat easier than hardcore programming. And do you know how ifttt compares te node red? The iftt way of programming just sounds so logic to me and really understandable.

If OH had a good working graphic UI for rules, it would leave al the competition behind. The power of controlling almost everything with the ease of no code typing :heart_eyes:

I think your timing is a bit unfortunate :smiley:

Regarding the rule engine: Markus has fixed the last know outstanding bug a week ago (rules didn’t reliably start up). Personally I’d say the rule engine is ready to use. At least I’m using it internally in my addons.

The Hue emulation service (to make Alexa locally talk to OH via the Hue protocol and also for Hue apps) for example offers Hue Rules and Hue schedules and they are realized via the rule engine in the background.

And for user-interfaces: I guess that we will quite a few interesting options by the end of the year.

IFTTT has three things that make it not terrible suitable IMHO.

  1. It is a cloud service requiring internet access for your automations to work.

  2. It’s sssllloooooowww. Really slow, tens of seconds from requesting an action to that action being performed.

  3. It’s too simple for even moderately complex actions. Unless they have changed since I last looked you can have one event (If this) and one action in response (then that). You can’t even have one event and two or more responses. Want to turn on two lights? You gotta have two applets (or whatever they call them these days). You want to have a morning routine that turns on the radio, starts the coffee, and turns on the lights, but only on week days? Good luck! But with NodeRed or openHAB Rules you can do all this and more.


But how is the PaperUI interface? There were a few killer bugs there as well that would prevent it’s use for users like Mehmet (e.g. the time based trigger dialogs were completely broken).

Are you writing code in text files or using your functional study?

A bit more nerdy actually. I’m injecting rules written in java code. I just like performance.

I have stopped my paper UI Ng development for various technical shortcomings in openhab core that I’m fixing or discussing with core developers.

A quick and dirty tutorial would be most appreciated. :pleading_face:

@ybjlus, it sounds like you have about the same level of expertise as I do with programming, so I personally think you’ll be fine with OH’s rules language once you get your feet wet and gain confidence. It takes time and dedication, but after you wrap your head around the concepts of items, rules, and sitemaps it becomes really easy to visualize how everything connects.

Moreover, if you want to do something that’s a little beyond you, there’s a good chance that someone in the community has already tried it and can share tips/ideas/code.

The thing about this is that graphic-based rules are inherently limited to whatever capabilities and parameters have been programmed into them. If you’re creating graphic rules that are easy to learn, then they’ll almost certainly be very limited, so as not to confuse beginners. If you make the GUI extremely open and flexible, the learning curve can become so difficult that you might as well skip it and learn to program.

(I’m oversimplifying this in a way that probably makes @David_Graeff and @rlkoshak cringe.)

IFTTT is a good example, in that you can only do what IFTTT allows you to do. On the other end of the scale, there’s Tasker. It has a GUI interface, but you can do so much with it that’s bewildering for people who don’t know where to start.

I agree that we need a GUI-based rule editor, but I think it should have a limited set of capabilities that works reliably, and open the door for people to see how their GUI rules translate into code, so they can take the next step.