Help speedup the learning curve for newbies

Hi guys

I wanted to learn and contribute to the code for the openHAB community. Trying to get started I was quickly confronted with the fact that openHAB can be overwhelming for newbies. There is a lot of information on this excellent Blog, but it is a little scattered in order to quickly get a good understanding the backend and code logic. Seeing comments from other Beginners shows i’m not alone.

If we can help guide newbies (like myself) and reduce the learning curve, we might help get more people involved quickly in the community.

So I can’t contribute with code at the moment, but would love to help document for newbies.

It could be in the form of a document section (quick “cheat sheets” supported with a podcast recording or a simple Youtube channel to deliver the message quickly and efficiently.

Would anyone in the community, that actually feels comfortable enough with openHAB 2 and the code structure, be willing to contribute as the “expert” here (I can’t do it yet, it would be like the blind leading the blind :wink: ,

Let me know i, I really want to learn and at the same time help other people learn about openHAB as a simple and pleasant experience. Thanks

Please join the conversation on this posting. Right now the thinking is that there needs to be a user’s guide to walk a new comer through the parts of OH in a logical manner using the Demo as the thing being built. So rather than just dropping a load of configs with a demo in someone’s lap the tutorial actually builds up the Demo with lots of explanation to go with it.

I’ve thrown out a first brain storming version of an outline there but the conversation has stalled a bit. Time is short for me and I’ve actually yet to even look much at OH 2 so I don;t know much.

As for learning, stay on this forum, answer questions, and help people come up with solutions to their problems. You will be amazed how quickly you will learn and how deep your knowledge will grow.

I used the step-by-step from an old ninjablock github someone documented, but it was outdated and I didn’t really know why I was creating directories in certain locations, editing certain files etc. It did give me a ‘mostly-functional’ OH setup though, but then I learned that I could have done it much easier and with a cleaner build (which I did the second time around).

FWIW, make use of has some pretty good getting started guides for OH which I also used the second time through. e.g. below.

I have my RPi2 on order and am getting ready to move from a Vera system and even though I’ve been lurking for months I have to echo that I’m sort of confused. The documentation is all over the place and not newbie friendly. Even though in the forums the apt-get method seems to be the preferred method of install I had to dig through the Wiki to find it.

Two things to suggest:

  1. Some people (like myself) moving over have no Linux experience. I know there is the anticipated Pine 64 board that will have OpenHab pre-installed but as of right now you have to anticipate people have never even set up a RPi machine before.

  2. Reliance on GitHub’s Wiki. While the Wiki is a good place to store information it isn’t user friendly for a step by step method. I suggest a document with easily followed steps that links to the Wiki for more information. Host this document on the OpenHab site, inexperienced users get overwhelmed when they get shipped off to some random coding site. Remember, your future users have never even heard of GetHub and have no idea what it is. Keeping the instructions on looks more professional and instills confidence.

I will push back a little bit here and say that isn’t openHAB’s responsibility. OH will run on just about any OS. If you as a user decide to deploy it to an OS you are not familiar with I think it is up to you to learn the basics of the systems administration for your chosen OS. There are tons and tons of tutorials, documents, how tos, etc on all aspects of Raspberry Pi out on the web. I do not think it is a good use of the OH communities resources. Also, if we document all the Linux systems admin stuff do we also do the same for Windows, OSX, FreeBSD?

I’m perfectly happy providing some minor Linux sysadmin help on the forum and including some in the docs for some very specific OH stuff (e.g. adding the openhab user to the dialout group) but I don’t think it is OH’s documentation’s job to tell you how to set up your Raspberry Pi.

This is the plan for OH 2. Future documentation will be static web pages and split into three parts:

  1. Developers guide which will mainly be written and maintained on the Eclipse SmartHome project
  2. Reference Guide which will be something along the lines of what the wiki is right now, a series of articles with information about one topic. This is where the bulk of the binding’s documentation will go
  3. A user’s guide which will be a step by step guide which walks the user through the installation and creation of the demo config with explanations as it progresses.

All of this is planned to be hosted on the main site.

The discussion thread for this is in my reply above. Please join the discussion on that thread.

I fully agree. This is not the place to “teach” any type of of OS. I mentioned it just as a frame of reference. The low cost solutions of these boards will be enticing to many users and I think OpenHab will see a less knowledgeable user in this types of environment. The people on the forum have been great, patient well past a point were the user would have been rebuffed on other forums.

I’ll be following the other thread and will continue related discussions there. Thanks.

I bought a Pine 64 and I will be soon one of these newbies and I admit that I have never set up a RPI machine before. I am not totally ignorant (I work on Linux machines for my work and I have an IT profile). However, a step-by-step guide is a way to welcome new users by simplifying the beginning.
In my case, I have a concern because I would like to use my PINE64 also as a media center and it seems that in this case Linux is not the best solution.
Ideally, I would like to have the OpenHab Runtime running under android OS on my PINE64 with the possibility to use my PC for configuring it with the OpenHAB designer.
I don’t know if it is feasible or not…

I’m sure a step by step guide is available from the Pine folks. The problem with expecting such a step by step guide from the OH community is there is far too many boards to cover (I’ve never even heard of a PINE64) and each has their own quirks and steps necessary to get up and running. We can possibly cover them all and getting them up and running is outside the scope of OH. So we need to have step by step instructions for a BeagleBone, a Raspberry Pi (with all of its variants), a Nuc, Synology, CHIP, and on and on? This would be a HUGE amount of effort and most of it would be duplicating what is already documented elsewhere.

Why do you say that? I run a media server on my Linux box and am very happy with it. I use Plex but you can also set it up as a DLNA server and even turn it into a DVR using MythTV and a USB TV dongle. On the client side there is openELEC which can be a DLNA receiver, AirPlay receiver, and has a Plex client and more. Linux is actually a pretty awesome platform for a media center.

Not going to happen, openHAB will not run on Android OS. However, if you run it on a standard Linux and set up samba you can share your config drive and edit it using Designer from Windows without any problem.