How to solve Openhab and it's UI confusion?

That’s because it’s not yet possible to do everything through the REST API. You can’t “cut the strings” until you have a replacement. And there is a very good argument to be made in not pissing off your users by forcing them to do a lot of extra work.

Shall we scrub all the stuff that has been posted for the many years that the forum has existed?

As for the documentation, both approaches are documented and if not, please tell us so we can fix that.

This too is in work to be addressed. For example, the new UI that will replace PaperUI already has the ability for you to paste in an Item definition from a .items file, or forum posting or where ever, and it will import it into the JSONDB. For certain things like Rules this will not be possible. But for Rules we will be moving towards Rules becoming something you install and configure like a binding rather than something you have to copy/paste/edit from examples.

The Design Patterns are being updated as time allows to include alternative approaches. But realize that more than half of those design pattern posts were written before there was an OH 2. And as Markus points out, the UI for building Rules isn’t very usable right now and will be completely replaced for OH 3 so there is no point in showing that approach right now. One thing you would notice is for many of the DPs, where it makes sense, a library was created in Jython which, once reviewed and merged with the Helper Libraries, means you don’t even need to look a the code. You just “install” the code and use use it.

I can imagine no way that will ever happen. The licence of the source code requires it to be open and the openHAB Foundation is established as a certain type of non-profit in Germany that precludes the selling of software or services by the foundation.

Bruce’s point is that both HABmin and PaperUI interact with the same REST API end points and therefore activate the same code. So how can one work differently from the other if they are using the same code?

You cannot use automatic discovery of devices with text based configs. Zwave is not the only binding to use automatic discovery. In fact only a tiny minority of bindings don’t use automatic discovery. Even bindings like Astro and OpenWeatherMap use automatic discovery and creation of Things.

And this is because PaperUI doesn’t support everything necessary one needs to configure on a Thing. In particular, you can’t add tags nor metadata to Items through PaperUI. And we won’t be able to because PaperUI is basically abandonware.

As soon as the PaperUI replacement is done, I will personally go through the docs and change that recommendation. In fact, I and others (Confectarian is already starting some of the work) will likely do a complete rewrite of the docs to put the new UI as the first/default approach with the text configs as “and you can also use text files.”

It would be too much work and hugely destructive to go through the forum and remove all the old legacy stuff so that’s never going to happen. And that’s OK because the new UI will let you import the text based configs where possible. Perhaps there will even be an export possibility too, though it likely will need to be some other format as there is no writer for the custom format created for .items files and .things files.

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Good to know.

I think the main problem stems from the fact that the OH team (whatever that means, I haven’t really delved into the project’s management specifics) hasn’t made clear what they want OH to be or to become. I don’t know if they know it and haven’t communicated it correctly, or they just don’t know themselves, or they just can’t agree due to a lack of leadership.

Do they want OH to be a fun/hobby project that covers their own needs and those of a small community of developers?
Or do they want OH to become the de facto standard for open source home automation?

Both options are equally valid, there’s no right and wrong answer. But they do have implications.

For example, if the second option is the goal, attitudes and statements like those from @mstormi are downright unacceptable.

Have you ever considered how many users OH is losing, for each user that gets into the trouble of signing up to the forums and posting a “complaint”? Let me tell you that it’s A LOT. And, instead of trying to figure out what’s leading to those complaints (regardless of whether these specific users are expressing them correctly or not, are polite or not, are hurting your feelings or not etc.) so that we can keep not only those users but also the ones we never hear from, we’re telling them “you’re doing it wrong” (this can take many forms, i.e. “you haven’t read the docs correctly”, “you don’t know which UI to use” etc.) or “that’s just the way it is” (due to historical reasons or whatever).

Of course, if the goal is the first option, then that’s fine. And in that sense, maybe OH is just the victim of its own success. Maybe it was never intended to be the second one, but because it’s featured and suggested in a lot of articles regarding home automation, people come here expecting to find something different. Still, I don’t think it’s hard to let these users know what they’re dealing with and steer them away from OH, either through the homepage, or the doc’s introduction etc.

But again, if we want OH to become a proper mainstream solution, we need to move away from amateur(ish) handling of such issues and take examples from professional projects. Do you think that any professional team would post these kinds of responses to user feedback (yes, complaints are feedback)? Digital companies/products/projects are DYING to get user feedback and go into great lengths and costs to acquire it (market research, surveys etc.) and analyze it in order to gain actionable insight. And here it’s offered freely but is mostly dismissed.

Of course, not all people here share this attitude. For example, @rlkoshak is always helpful and constructive and I feel the need to mention it and thank him for that. But unfortunately, this isn’t enough.

Come to think of it, maybe the main problem may be indeed a lack of leadership. There needs to be someone setting the tone and setting the course, sometimes making hard decisions that will definitely alienate some (maybe long-term) users but will help the project meet its goals in the long run. From what I’ve experienced with OH, this doesn’t exist.

The above is not to demean what OH has achieved. I, for one, use it for two years now and I thank everyone that made it possible. And, for what it’s worth, I’ve never complained even though I’ve been frustrated a lot of times. This is because I understand the project’s difficulty and intricacies, I understand the devs’ point of view and I understand what it means to be an open source vs commercial project. But the reason I understand the above is because I’m a developer myself. As it happens though, I’m also a marketer professionally and can therefore understand the user’s point of view. And that’s the reason for writing the above, because I feel the user’s point of view isn’t being taken into account, or at least not in the right way.

Sorry for the long post (and for coming a bit late to the party).

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Or, they made some poor choices that did not work as planned and, rather than just abandon the project, they are working to correct those choices carefully minimizing existing user impact while planning any major breaking changes for a future version, as they have stated publicly. Why do you not believe what has been posted plainly by the project leader, @Kai ?

OpenHAB values stability and flexibility which, unfortunately introduces complexity that does not lend itself a “one size fits all” tutorial. The expect adults using this product to think for themselves and not be mindless robots.

If you want to see users frustrated, try Home Assistant. When I moved over here, I felt like I moved from the “kiddie forum” to one composed of reasonable, helpful adults.

Big corporations will never permit a cross-platform solution to become “mainstream”. When entitled people complain about strictly volunteer efforts without constructively contributing then such handling is appropriate unless you would expect them to be banned from such discussion.
Unappreciated volunteers who have some uninformed individual trash they hard work are rightfully offended.

Not to dilute this discussion even more, but here is my perspective, hopefully a bit instructive/constructive.

Some Background:

  1. I’m fairly new to Home Automation, played with smart plugs/bulbs and Alexa/Google, but openHAB is my first/serious attempt at putting everything together and getting more from the various devices I have.
  2. In fact I have multiple HA applets on my phone/iPad (Kasa, Alexa, Google Home GH, MyQ, Wyze, Feit Electric, Nest, B-Hyve, Ring, iRobot, PlantMonitor). My main interest in openHAB is to consolidate all those Apps and control all my devices from a central location. So far Alexa/GH have been ok, maybe not enough.Do I qualify as typical user? … what is Typical?
  3. I have experience with some programming languages … C/Python/Matlab. I use the last one ‘regularly’ for work. I am not a developer and I sometimes find myself ‘struggling’ with some of the concepts/terminology in this forum.
  4. Devices I’d like to control via openHAB: TP-Link Smart Plugs (10×), WyzeCams (8×), Binary Switches for Doors/Windows (13×), Nest Thermostat (2×), iRing Bell, Feit Smart Wall Switches (12×), Smart Bulbs (Feit/Wyze), MyQ Garage Opener, …

My Experience:

  1. Started from the RaspberryPI forum, and people there recommended openHAB
  2. Did quite a bit of reading (never enough), and watched many YouTube videos, and read multiple web-pages about openHAB. Granted, a lot of the material out there is pure garbage … a video referred to as ‘How to setup openHAB in 10 mins’ … turned out to be how to download the OH image and install openHAB … nothing about getting it to run. The installation is fairly easy to do, and well documented in this forum.
  3. As a DIYer, the learning curve is fairly steep, not just for OH itself, but also other multiple aspects: OH, devices/components, house wiring (I have a thread on missing neutral wires) …

Now, I’m in agreement with the original poster in some aspects … yet OH is challenging/intriguing, and when I see what others have accomplished with it, there is a certain strong pull that OH has, and that’s what keeps me working on understanding/using OH.

Moving Forward

I understand fully that one can’t have a ‘one size fits all’, but nonetheless, from my newbie perspective, here is what I’d like to see (hopefully I’m not alone).

  1. Step-By-Step Installation/Configuration of ASTRO - No need for any hardware, all of us should be able to do this as a learning step.
  2. Sample Step-By-Step installations/approaches with very simple components: For Example Smart Light / Wall Switch / Thermostat.
  3. List of components/devices supported, and how to address those that are not (Wyze Cameras for example)
  4. Some Terminology Clarification: Wifi vs. ZigBee vs. Z-wave vs. BlueTooth - I know the differences pros/cons, but not everyone does - Ok, this is a bit beyond openHAB
  5. ‘Stickies’ in the ‘newbie/beginners’ forum. Today that subsection is full of specific questions from newcomers. Can’t we have ‘Stickies’ at the very top i.e., topics new comers MUST read before anything else?

My Verdict

  1. OpenHAB Installation - fairly straightforward and very well documented
  2. Detection of devices - Very confusing
  3. Controlling various devices and getting useful data from them - Still, not clear
  4. Persistence & Presence Detection - Advanced Topics

Installing OH s fairly easy. The next big hurdle is to connect few devices and get them to run (13/14 above).

Lastly, I fully realize this is run by volunteers, and hopefully some day I can become one as well … and contribute more than pick brains.

There already is a lengthy " What You Need to Know Before You Start" section on the very first page of the docs. If you’ve any suggestions of anything further to add I’m sure we are open to discussion and a PR. Arguments could be made that it might not be strong enough but it does make clear:

  • you will have to learn
  • you have to be flexible
  • it’s going to take a lot of time
  • you have to read the docs

In my mind it seems to be a pretty good description of what a new user is getting into when starting OH. It’s just that they don’t read the docs in the first place. And that’s part of the problem.

When they don’t read the docs or search the forum, they are essentially wasting the volunteers on this forum’s time. If they will abandon OH because someone tells them they need to read the docs, they are probably not the type of user who will be successful with openHAB in the first place. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here. Home automation is hard. You have to be able and willing to read the docs, experiment, look at examples and figure out how they work, and more in order to be remotely successful. While I see this getting better and better over time (I’m down right excited over the NGRE) it’s never going to be as easy as a few clicks and suddenly you have a working home automation system. Consequently I don’t see it ever becoming a “main stream” system. It is always going to take more learning and more work than any but those who are willing to dedicate some time to it will be successful.

Sometimes Markus’ posts come across as terse and in some respects rude. But I have no doubt that it is unintentional and he means no ill will towards anyone. He is also one of the main helpers on the forum and is one of the main maintainers of openHABian. He’s a productive and supportive member of the openHAB community. I want to make it clear how much I at least appreciate his contributions to OH which, frankly, exceed my own.

That being said, everyone who helps people on this forum are self selected volunteers. There is no test that someone has to pass. There is no vetting process or election. As such, unless you see a user with the “Maintainer” flag next to their icon, none of us speaks for openHAB. And even for the maintainers, they only speak for the part of openHAB that they are maintainers for. Some maintainers are heavily involved with the core but don’t know much about the UIs. Others are strictly binding developers. Most of the people you see helping users on this forum are users just like you or the OP and speak with no more authority over OH and it’s future directions than anyone else.

Said another way, if I’ve any authority at all, its a consequence of my experience and reputation. It wasn’t granted by the maintainers nor bestowed upon me from some leadership. The same goes for Markus, Vincent, Scott, Bruce, rossko57, and all the rest of the regulars (if I left you out I mean nothing by it, this is not intended to be a full list) who dive in and help their fellow users where they are able.

Nothing that Markus has ever posted, to my knowledge, has ever violated the terms of this forum. He is free to respond to and help users any way he wants within those terms. What would you have us do? Ban one of our most productive members? I don’t think so.

It can be even worse than garbage as these never get updated. There are still tutorials that pop-up pretty high in the Google results for OH 1.7.

Which ones? Out of the 300+ different bindings, which ones are “very simple” and informative and relatively universal? A step-by-step to achieve what? Everyone’s home automation is bespoke. What would be a good universal tutorial that would work for everyone?

If someone where to write a tutorial that used KNX switches, LD382A bulbs, and a Zigbee thermostat would that be helpful to you? It wouldn’t be to me, I don’t use any of those.

The reason this doesn’t exist is because there isn’t one tutorial that would do the job. We would need almost one tutorial for each and every one of the 300+ bindings, perhaps more if you need to have one for every device a given binding supports. So how do you deal with the commonalities among those 300+ tutorials? You make a generic here’s how to write rules, here’s how to create a sitemap, etc. Eventually you end up with pretty much exactly what we now have in the docs.

This has been brought up many many many times on the forum. It’s simply not feasible and all attempts to do so have failed. Even simpler projects like Zoneminder that only has to list all the cameras can’t keep up and has (as far as I can tell) abandoned trying to maintain a list of cameras that are supported. There is an ever growing list of supported devices which already runs in the tens of thousands I would guess. It’s a huge effort that, once started, will never be done and honestly it has very little value compared to the effort involved to create and maintain it. How would you know whether Wyze cameras are supported? Look for a Wyze binding. If there is no binding, there is probably no support. But if you are not sure, you need to dive into the technology of the device a little (e.g. what is the format of the video streams) and see if there is a more generic binding that supports it. As I said in my “There is no step-by-step tutorial” linked to above, you have to know and understand at least the basics of the technology you are dealing with in order to be successful with it in openHAB or any other home automation system for that matter. You have to know how the devices work and there is nothing we can do to hide that from you.

But of course, just because I don’t think it’s worth doing doesn’t mean someone who disagrees can’t give it a try. There have been several false starts in the past. None have gone anywhere though.

As a general rule, anything that would warrant a sticky in the beginner’s section more properly belongs in the docs. And that is what we do. When there is a post with something we think all beginners should read, we migrate the content to the official docs (e.g. Type Conversions became https://www.openhab.org/docs/configuration/rules-dsl.html#using-the-states-of-items-in-rules).

And for the most part, those types of postings belong in Tutorials and Solutions, not Beginner’s. Per the category description, the Beginner’s category is for:

Ask your questions of the first hour here. Please also read the “About the Beginnners category” article to find some helpful hints.

And the About the Beginner’s post has the list of stuff that new comers MUST read before anything else. You won’t be surprised to see it’s the Docs.

Mostly confusing because each of the 300+ bindings necessarily has it’s own requirements and approaches because each technology works differently. A Hue light bulb is necessarily going to have a very different discovery and integration process from a KNX light switch. There’s not a whole lot we can do about that and honestly, if you had been around during the old OH 1.x days, you would see how far we have come in making this as uniform and automated as possible.

What is not clear? We can help with this and perhaps update the docs. But, as is explained in the concepts section of the docs, you have Things which represent a device. Things have Channels which represent an individual sensor reading or control point on the device. You link those Channels to Items. You control the device by sending a command to the Item. You receive the sensor reading by looking at the state of the Item.

Persistence isn’t too hard of a topic to understand but it’s also not something that everyone requires. Get to it when you are ready or encounter a situation where you need to preserve stuff over openHAB restarts or want to create charts. It is indeed an advanced topic you can save for later.

Presence detection is one of those things that newcomers always think should be simple but it is in fact one of the more challenging things to achieve. You will find dozens of posts and tutorials on the forum talking about it. This too is an advanced topic for a reason, it’s hard to achieve.

just a hint. Nobody knows openHAB as well as the developers. There are NO official Youtube documentation videos that I am aware of.
In my experience, the younger people want everything in video form and older people prefer written documentation where they can copy/paste commands and configuration.

You must also remember there is a WIDE variety of user cultures and backgrounds here. What may be considered offensive in one culture is lauded as being direct and honest in another.

Interesting. Now that all by itself is a pretty hefty personal attack.
I doubt you have correctly understood me. As Rich once put it, tone is difficult to bring across in written conversation, even more so when you’re not a native speaker.
Other than that, I still fail to see what made me deserve this, so would you please explain yourself ?
Btw, you have no idea what my attitude is. So don’t insinuate you do.

Indeed. “German” English is often perceived to be harsh, and yes we’re pretty direct most of the time. But I believe both of us, @wwebers and me are German thus it’s a bit strange to read that a third party (englishman I presume) is more offended than the addressee is.

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this is a quote from the introduction section of the official documentation. The very first page of the documentation…

Lastly, be prepared to start a new hobby: home automation.

How is that not letting users know what they’re dealing with? That is in the introduction of the documentation

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Just my two pence worth here.
I start ‘blind’ 3 months ago.
I started with one sonoff Basic. Read ALL the OH Docs. Found out there are TWO ways (Paper UI and Text file) methods of entering Data. Once I got that right in my head. I just followed OH 2.4 Docs and ignored the ‘old’ OH docs.
It was hard understanding, but I got there be following the Documentation. (the only way in my opinion)
I am really happy now with several Sonoffs , multiple Temperature sensors and built an 8 channel Relay box for lights and garage door. Simple stuff compare to others here, but I had fun and learned lots along the way.
It was hard and very time consuming but very rewarding. I kept it simple, and step by step until I was confident it worked.
I am at the moment integrating a Snips Ai Voice Control with OH2 and it is coming along nicely…ONLY after following example documentation from others.
I have a new Hobby !!! OH2 !!!
If I wanted an ‘out of the box’ working Home Automation system. I would have gone elsewhere.
I am just so happy that OH2 doesnt need to use Cloud or external Comms to run my stuff.
I value my Privacy greatly and OH2 certainly does it for me.
Thank you all you Volunteers.

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I’ll try to address everything as well as I can, not point by point, but addressing the main points each of you is making. I think anything else would be counter-productive.

@mstormi
I think it’s maybe you that misunderstood me. I don’t for a minute doubt your intentions, I know that you do what you do because you want to help and contribute (and you do). But that is not the point I was making.

What we have here is a user who is providing feedback (this is the way I’m seeing it). Instead of trying to understand why he misunderstood what he misunderstood (assuming it’s just a matter of misunderstanding and not an actual problem on OH’s design/architecture), you’re just telling him it’s his fault for not reading the docs. When he said he did, you told him he didn’t read them “well” (maybe he doesn’t have the “capacity” to understand them well enough? It could be read that way). And then you insisted he didn’t even click the link you posted (let alone read it), although he had but was STILL having trouble/doubts. Again, his fault, I guess.

Regardless, as I said in my original post, all of the above are absolutely FINE. As long as we agree that OH is just what it is today and not trying to be something more/better. Only then and only in that light are your comments “unacceptable” as I called them. Otherwise you’re just a forum member that “comes across as terse and in some respects rude”. You have every right to be.

@Bruce_Osborne
I think your reply illustrates the problem very well. What you’re basically saying is that not one of my points/“complaints” is valid and everything around OH is as good as it possibly could. Maybe that’s true, but I have my doubts. So do others.

@rlkoshak
Thanks Rich.

Regarding the first part, maybe you are right (and also @Andrew_Rowe). I still have some thoughts/concerns but I’ll not analyze them here, I might come back with some thoughts at a later stage.

Regarding the second part, there’s nothing in what you’re saying that I don’t understand or didn’t already know. But to me, what you’re describing is a perfect illustration of the lack of leadership problem that I mentioned. Having individual users contributing and voicing their own thoughts/ideas is perfectly fine, but doesn’t help towards the goal I described. Besides individual users, there should be some with more authority (call them “team members”, “staff”, “moderators”, doesn’t matter) who set the tone, listen to user feedback, keep things within limits and provide direction.

Again (sorry for repeating myself but I want it to become 100% clear), I’m not saying it has to be that way. As long as we (and the project’s leadership, above all) agree that we want to maintain OH’s status quo and are not trying to take it to the next level.

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I fundamentally disagree this is a binary choice. We have to try to act like a commercial offering or else we are sticking with the status quo?

We are not maintaining the status quo nor do we want to maintain the status quo. I would think that all of the replies and links above that basically say “we’re working on it” would be enough evidence of that. But at the same time “the next level” does not have to be a situation where openHAB looks and acts like a commercial product.

If I can sum-it up then:

  1. Despite all its ‘power’ and unique features, openHAB is not yet a mature product (in a commercial sense) i.e., it is not suitable for the masses.
  2. As such, do not expect it to be more than what it already is. Learn what it can do, before you start ‘whining’.
  3. Have respect for the many people (and I really mean this) not only keeping it alive, but also continuously developing it (and those answering our many/repeat non-sensical questions).
  4. Read as much as you can about it. If in the end, you convince yourself it is right for you, then all is good (You can come back and contribute). Else, move on and see what else is out there (Alexa/Google/…) and that is more in-line with your needs/skills and budget (time/$/€)
  5. Keep one thing in mind: This is ‘free’ software. You have to invest your own time to get it to work.

Benefits:

  1. You’ll learn quite a bit
  2. You can customize the interface and your rules as you wish
  3. Your info/data is stored locally … not in the cloud, where there is potential for someone to ‘spy’ on you. That alone, is a big plus!

Fair assessment ?

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It depends on what you define as “being commercial”. If being commercial means listening to users more and taking into account their feedback then yes, OH should aspire to become more like commercial offerings. If it means setting priorities based on maximising profit, then obviously this doesn’t (or shouldn’t) apply to OH.

To me, “taking OH to the next level” is making it more mainstream by making it simpler and easier to use for a lot more users. What I said is that in order to achieve this, we have to look at and take lessons from what bigger (not necessarily commercial) projects are doing.

To me, it’s not about being commercial and I never said OH should be. The word I used was “professional”, as opposed to amateur. That doesn’t have to do with being commercial or not. A lot of open source projects work in a very professional fashion and they’re not at all commercial.

I don’t think most of use don’t want to maintain a status quo. But the reality is. Home automation is complex, and thus products that try to make.something of it require a lot of effort. With only volunteers, with limited time, it’s just nearly impossible to realize a ‘next level’. Even to just guide people in contributing would be a full time job. The whole idea of the move with eclipse smart home was to get a more solid base. However that didn’t work out and we’re in the after math of that situation. So do we want a next level? I think yes that’s what motivates people. To make things better. In the mean time we just stumble along to get things work just for ourselves and others. But in a context where there are no financial incentives to just pay one’s bills there will not be a next level that puts others first and that might mean it takes longer to get something that might be easier for less technical users.
To indicate my point. The fact I’m replying here means some other developer won’t get his/her pull request reviewed, sorry.

Now regarding openHAB 3. The answers proof people want it better as is mentioned several times it will solve all kind of issues. The reality is, it just depends on what will be contributed.

I can’t think of a large open source source projects that operates professionally (as in very user centered) that is not backed in some way by a corporate sponsor or has financial backing (or at least I can’t remember one). So unless something changes in that area we’ll be guided by the individual contributions of each other. To end somewhat jokingly: Ask not what openHAB can do for you, but what you can do for openHAB (which actually would mean what would be required to get openHAB to a next level, but that really is an individual choice).

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I’ve debated for a while whether to weigh-in on this topic, but a number of worth while points have been raised in last half dozen posts, that I thought worth building upon. I consider myself still to be a relatively newcomer although I have been using OpenHAB now for about 9 months. As I had noted in a few other posts, I took a look at most/all of the open source HA solutions before deciding to move forward with OpenHAB. In my opinion, they all have relatively steep learning curves and are not meant for the casual user. Flexibility and power comes at a price of complexity. Also as I have said in other posts, I do not see this changing anytime soon, if ever. As a result, open source HA is not the right solution for many and they are better served by using a custom installer if they have a complex installation or being satisfied with Google or Alexa.

When I first decided to implement OpenHAB I had no clue about HA, but I read the docs, and re-read them and looked at examples and began to see the potential. Being retired, I had the luxury of time and so I dove deep, took large bites, and spent long hours setting up my installation. When I hit a wall, as a last resort I would post a question on these forums. Very few to be honest. After investing several hundred hours learning and implementing hardware and software solutions using OpenHAB I know I have made the right choice. I now have a fully automated house using OpenaHAB. I mostly view OpenHAB as an appliance, residing in a docker on my server, waiting for an event to respond to. In between events, it is forgotten. I would say for me OpenHAB is 80% appliance, 20% hobby. Still this not for everyone, which brings me to my next point.

Having spent most of my life developing, advancing and commercializing technology, one of the dangers I see with a project such as OpenHAB is that it tries to be all things to all people in an attempt to attract a larger following. I say again solutions such as OpenHAB are powerful, complex and require a strong technical foundation to be successfully implemented in a meaningful fashion and tap its full potential. So while I agree with rlkoshak that the choice may not be binary, the efforts to ad=vance OpenHAB should be well focused. While there is no true authority to mandate direction of OpenHAB, we all of have the power to influence direction. Perhaps some more than others, but nevertheless we all are influencers by how we choose to interact on these forums.

Lastly, to the point of forum interactions, I think one of the major benefits OpenhHAB is the strong user community as exemplified by these forums. It is global in nature and as such provides unique and varied perspective from many cultures. In my work life, I had the good fortune to deal with people from every continent, and culture does play a role in how each of us views things and responds to what we see. Some of us on these forums are more direct in our language and others more restrained and polite, but I believe we all have a common goal in making OpenHAB the go to platform for HA. In my view it’s not about political correctness, or catering to sensitivities, but getting things right to advance that goal for our mutual benefit.

So my advice to newcomers to any open source HA platform is to be prepared for a steep learning curve. Do not embark on this adventure if you have a weak technical foundation, are not willing to spend time, effort and energy as an active learner (learning is hard work), be prepared for frustration but power it through it as the end result is worth the effort.

Finally, for me at least the UI is not all that confusing. Could it be improved? Sure, but it is definitely not an impediment to implementation or use of OpenHAB.

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It saddens me and feel somewhat insulted that you think we don’t listen to users it takes their feedback into account. So I guess I’ll just stop here. Nothing i can say will comply with the forum’s terms of use.

Did you even look at the GitHub issues and and PRs and posts above?

  • Replacing PaperUI with something that works and is feature complete
  • replacing Sitemaps with something you can build in browser and is unified with the PaperUI replacement
  • moving to NGRE as the default which means
    • no more unique programming language only OH uses (as the default)
    • ability to create rules through the UI, no “coding” required
    • ability to create complicated rules using a main stream programming language
    • Libraries of reusable rules so users don’t even have to write complicated rules in the first place
  • new features to the core like an honest to God scheduler
  • a concerted effort to migrate as many of the OH 1.x bindings to 2.x as possible
  • development of rest API and points to handle the suffer that currently can’t be configured through a UI like persistence
  • development of features in the replacement UI so users can paste old formatted text configs from examples and the forum and import them into the UI based config

But no, I guess we don’t care at all about making OH easier to use by non technical users.

All of the above is stuffy actually being worked on right now. Much of it is in response to user feedback.

Don’t think that just because it’s not being actively discussed in the form every day nothing is happening. Don’t think your ignorance of what the developers are doing to mean nothing is happening.

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Well, just because I did not react doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt… The part that hurt me was the claim I did not read the documentation and have not understood the architecture. However, I learned to ignore that in the past as I had to fuzz with german “engineers” of type Dr. Ing. working for BMW, Audi, … Not funny.

@rlkoshak This sound great! And yes, I had a quick look at the Github issues. Wish I could contribute with something… What I miss is for example security, something like WSO2 IoT started. Found an interesting blog post om medium recently. Security is quiet the weakest point in ALL home automation solutions.

Interesting thing is: I started this thread with a simple question about the different UIs and the different ways of storing the configuration of our “things” and “items”. However, this developed some discussion about more fundamental parts around OH and even the “management” of the project. Which was not my intend, even though some of my reactions contributed to this development.

My original question is already answered by @rlkoshak , thanks you very much for that: PaperUI is considered abondonware. That relieves my worst fear.

The other part about the different ways to stores the configuration as far as I can see that is heavily dependend on if I make use of auto detection and ZWave (thus being dependend of @chris and his ZWave binding).

That I can solve quit easily: in either ditching my ZWave sensors and replace them with Zigbee or make use of “zwave2mqtt”.

So could any of the board admins be so kind close this thread? I would like to start another discussion about the mentioned security questions somewhere else…

@hilbrand
Thank you for this very pragmatic post, I think it puts things perfectly in perspective. At least for me.

@rlkoshak
Sorry if I insulted you, that was definitely not my intention. I’ve already mentioned how much I value your contribution.

To use your previous point, what I said (how OH handles user feedback) is not binary either. Saying it can be improved doesn’t mean it’s non-existent or even bad.

In any case, I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by continuing this discussion here. I, for one, apologize for not getting my point across to everyone as well as I intended, I’ll try to do better next time.

Regarding contributing, I will look at GitHub in more detail and come up with ways I can contribute. I have some ideas, especially on the UI front for the new version. I might need some help (guidance) with that, I’ll come back to you for that.

@mstormi
Please don’t make this about race or culture, it’s not and it shouldn’t be. There are at least three people on this thread (including me) from very different backgrounds that agreed that you are more than “direct”. Everyone can be “direct”, it’s the other thing that’s difficult. And no, being sympathetic and polite doesn’t mean you should be any less direct, that’s just a rationalization. Of course, it’s your choice if you want to act on this feedback or not, no one can force you.

P.S. Maybe this example will help you better understand what I’m trying to say: You said you’re not a native speaker (I’m not either, for that matter) and maybe that’s one reason why it’s more difficult to properly convey tone. So, imagine if someone’s reaction to your posts was “Well, I think you haven’t really understood how the English language works, have you?”, “This is a link to an English course, go and read it and then come back here to write”, “I think you still haven’t learned English, have you?”. Would that be OK?

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