Help, I'm ready to give up

Most of the control in my house is done from one of 21 PoE android tables in almost every room. My wife and kids also use OpenHab on their iPhones when they are not near a tablet. I have both Alexa, Google Home, and respeaker but they are not in every room and frankly most of us rather use the tablet then current state of voice control.

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This is one good idea, let’s see what we can come up with. Establish fixed term placeholders for the openHAB folders · Issue #189 · openhab/openhab-docs · GitHub

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My complaint is not about how open it is but about how the documentation is written in such a way that a newbie can’t understand. Like @erland_lestander said, rather than saying “edit the default sitemap” say [quote=“erland_lestander, post:39, topic:20006”]
edit $CONFIG/sitemaps/_default.sitemap

That way when new user is trying to learn the system it makes sense. I’m not an idiot, I just need documentation to be helpful and to actually be up to date.

Wow! You live in a Manor House or something?
You have to admit though, the openHAB app isn’t very usable other than for extremely basic setups, for example, look at these screenshots of mine:

Messy isn’t it.

Nobody is assuming that. We all need good documentation. There is simply a mismatch between people looking for documentation and people volunteering to actually spend time and build documentation. If everyone who solved a problem for himself would also provide the solution for others, we wouldn’t have this discussion. I’ve just checked and indeed nobody did fix the max_idle problem we were talking about as an example two days ago

If you want to contribute, have a look at the documentation issue tracker, the FAQs or the complete Tutorials & Examples section. Links can be found here:


I completely agree that the documentation should be more exhaustive and comprehensive in the same time, but what we are having now is a project started from sheer devotion to an idea!
I also agree that having a documentation pushed to completion by everyone is a true accomplishment!
Your frustration is surely going to help everybody here doing something about it! Thank you!

Best regards,


Which version of OH were you using at the time. There have been a large number of bugs with BasicUI that have been fixed. At the moment I’m finding BasicUI to work flawlessly for me. If you have specific elements that don’t work please file an issue on github so it can be fixed.

Have you looked at Habpanel? It is quite nice and people who use it seem to love it.

Can you point at any particular instances in the OH 2 docs that are out of date?

I wouldn’t be so sure about that. There are some pretty major differences between how the RedHat distros do some things verses Debian. It has been a long time since I’ve done some serious work with a RedHat/CentOS/Fedora distro so I can’t be certain that it is.

I can’t speak for @ThomDietrich but I’m sure we would welcome any PR that implements any such changes. The challenge becomes dealing with the vast majority of people who will not read the docs in any sort of order even if it were not “all over the place, unorganized, and … out of date.”

But, as @ThomDietrich mentioned above, your default sitemap can be named anything. You set your default as a parameter in PaperUI or the BasicUI config file.

Apparently using “_default.sitemap” was never intended to be an official way to do things and I believe it is no longer supported.

Again, have you looked at Habpanel?

As an ex 6502 programmer from the 80s, I struggle with modern software, terminology, syntax and programming methodology. I have little experience of Linux, Java and until recently had never heard of AngularJS and ‘reverse proxy’ and thought Json was a character in a film. Thanks however to Openhab, the developers, the community here, Google and the documentation, I have a rather nice home automation system on my Raspberry Pi.

A few suggestions from my experience:

  1. Get it up and running on Windows first. Apart from setting the JAVA variable (solution found by googling) after installing Java, it is easy. Unzip the distro, store in a directory off C: and you are up and running in minutes.

  2. Spend time exploring the demo. See how the items, sitemap and rules work together.

  3. Check the file structure. The locations will be different on say a Raspberry Pi but you can explore, check the logs etc.

  4. I renamed the demo files as ‘home’ changed the site name and modified the demo for my own system. It saved starting from scratch.

  5. Get simple items working first before moving to complex bindings.

  6. I use a Raspberrry Pi and found there were no problem following the documentation for installing Raspbian and then Openhab. Make a note of each step so you can easily repeat the process on a blank micro sd card or preferably buy a spare. (I haven’t tried Openhabian yet)

  7. I wanted a password log in for external access and found I needed to use ‘reverse proxy’. There is an excellent thread here that tells you how to set it up. I haven’t a clue what ‘reverse proxy’ is, hadn’t a clue what I was doing when I followed the instructions but it worked.

  8. I didn’t like Eclipse Designer so I use WinSCP for setting up the configuration files on my Raspberry Pi. This allows me to modify the files on my Windows PC and upload to the raspberry Pi. No messing with the Raspberrry Pi OS and their desktop.

  9. Try Habpanel, it’s awesome.

Finally, enjoy your FREE software.


Yes, like that. But here again the problem is that for an absolute beginner it is “just” a forum with many examples, that might or might not work for OH2.
It does not have to be many, but just a few examples, that are proven to work with OH2, marked like that in the OH2 documentation. Something like in the “old” wiki, but for OH2.
I tried the alarm Clock, and it did not work because a few things still changed. I got it to work (more or less,I will try to add the changes to the wiki), but for someone that never had anything to do with programming or java this could be very confusing.

Just to clarify, I do not want to belittle the examples section or the wiki, I just want to express that for a newbie, not knowing about OH this might all be a little confusing.

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I can so relate! Except it was 6809 for me…

I’m not sure what’s better than that. The forum was intentionally selected for that purpose as it’s commenting functionality allows everyone to ask questions, exchange enhancement ideas and incorporate changes. That’s highlighted in the linked “About” article. As an example: The speedtext example I’ve linked before has 82 comments so far and was changed/improved/enhanced 12 times since I first posted a very short write-down.

Did you look at the examples I’ve linked? All are clearly stating which openHAB version they were developed for and tested with. There is also mentioning of further requirements. The About article clearly states to “Name the requirements, programs and bindings to be installed, hardware restrictions, tested software versions, …”

The “old” wiki is for openHAB 1.8 as warned about on the first page. As such this example can be expected to not work “as is” under openHAB 2.0. Would you agree that’s reasonable? it’s furthermore a quite complex example and as such maybe not a good choice for a beginner to get to know rule development.

Still, having the alarm clock as an openHAB 2.0 example would be great. Maybe one of the original wiki authors wants to transfer this example over to OH2 and the forum? @1technophile @mortommy

Check out the washing machine or the speedtest examples I’ve linked, I promise they will be a better start.

That’s indeed a good point. They could either be listed here or here. What do you think?

Thanks for expressing your concerns. I hope I was able to clarify a few things and hope to receive feedback how we could make these things clearer for new users.

Hey Michael,
it’s nice to read such a positive feedback. I’ve a different background and started with more previous knowledge but what really helped to get going with openHAB while I was in the getting to know phase was the great community here in the forum. That’s probably why I decided to announce my interest in the moderator position at some point.

I agree with your suggestions. Beginners should start simple and with small steps to fully understand the basic concepts before bothering to learn about Linux or what a reverse proxy is.

From what I read, you might just be the perfect candidate for openHABian. openHABian provides you with a working openHAB setup. You can have a reverse proxy configured for you with just a few clicks (including a trusted HTTPS certificate) and openHABian comes pre-configured with samba file sharing, allowing you to access files directly through a mounted drive.

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Well I think I’m done with openHAB. Maybe try Home Assistant. I can’t seem to get things to work and searching says try this or that then I have to search on how to do this or that in Linux.

Tried to set up the Hue Emulation that supports Google Home but what I read said it won’t work if you have NGINX running so you’d have to add another ip address to your raspi which I did then never could figure out how to foward from to which is what I understood had to happen. So now the whole damn thing is broke.

Sorry about that, I understand that soon openHAB 2.0 wont require NGINX for security, but I am not sure how long “soon” is.

Great post but I cannot agree with 8. You may not like it and Designer has some SERIOUS flaws but by not using it you are doing yourself a major disservice. The problem is syntax errors turn into runtime errors which are cryptic and seldom make it clear what you’re problem is. When you use Designer it checks the syntax as you type and using ctrl-space let’s you discover the methods on objects.

Using Designer will save hours to man days of work. I can’t tell you how many threads there are on here that start with “I’ve spent days trying to solve this…” and I’d they were using Designer they would have discovered and solved the problem before hitting save.

Which PoE tablets are you using if I may ask?

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Nice, thank you. You must hale one helluva switch!

It would be nice to see your UI. Did you implement HabPanel?

3 UniFi PoE 48 ports (one for each floor of the house)
2 UniFi PoE 24 port (one for shead, one for tree fort)
1 Quanta LB6M

That Quanta is the core, with two bonded 10 gig links to the 48 port switches and bonded 10 gig links to my desktop and 2 servers. Yes, I know 20 gig core is a bit overkill, but it does let me move around big files quickly. The cost of the LB6M is also less then the other switches, you can get them for under $200 on eBay. :slight_smile:

UI Needs work, right now its classic UI

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To me it seems like you are struggling more with the surroundings of openhab rather than problems with openhab itself.
Going with Home Assistant won’t solve those problems for you I’m afraid, as HA is very similar to openhab in that regard.
Learning Linux and Openhab is not easy, it’s a steep learning curve, you can’t expect to perform stuff over night, it will take time and you will bash your head many times against the keyboard before you get somewhere.

For me I had problems too setting up and learning openhab, I have been a java developer for 13 years, and been using linux for more than 20 years, and it still took a lot of keyboard bashing before starting to figure stuff out.
In the end it will come down to how much time you can afford spending learning openhab/linux/whatnot.