How to start with pages?

A short story of my way with Openhab:

My first Openhab was Openhab1
It was easy the Classic UI/Basic UI was ok to use with an easy structure.
Only textfiles where a bit strange but it worked.

After some time I updated to Openhab 2
The Basic UI, Paper UI and the HABPanel where great to use.
Mainly configure everything from a website was great back then.

Now I am at Openhab 3
Basic UI and HABPanel are as great as they where back in Openhab 2
But these pages thing breaks my brain
It don’t know where to start or how to use.
It is so confusing and overloaded.
It’s really frustrating…
Any advice?
The instruction doesn’t do it for me.

Hope anyone can help me.

Have you followed the tutorial on the openHAB site? It is very well done and it is worth following it carefully.

A couple of years ago I was also overwhelmed by the new features of OH3 but I started slowly and kept my production system with OH2 while playing with OH3 on a test system. You can still use HABpanel and sitemaps while gradually building the new OH3 UI. The new OH3 UI offers a great deal of flexibility, starting from the simplified approach based to the “semantic model” (locations and equipment tabs ) to the customized “overview page” (overview tab ) up to highly customized layout.
In my case, I started by slightly modifying the examples for the “locations tab” in the tutorial. You can start with only one room in the semantic model and with only one equipment, playing with the items metadata to modify the appearance of the widgets that you see.

As you are coming from OH2, getting acquainted with OpenHAB3 UI pages is going to be very hard (but not impossible) using text files for configurations of things and items. OH3, in facts, can build automatically a user interface for you if you add suitable metadata information to your items, but the syntax is highly prone to spelling errors (the semantic model is a way to define metadata for your items). This is why it is recommended to use UI defined configurations so that you do not have to guess the right syntax (again, the tutorial helps you in this respect).

You say that the “instruction” doesn’t help. By that do you mean the Getting Started Tutorial or the reference docs? The people who have the most trouble are OH 2.x users who skip Getting Started, so please do go back and review that if you haven’t already.

  1. Start with defining a Semantic Model. Just create one or two locations and equipment and add some points to them to play with. Pay attention to how your changes impact the Overview page, specifically the Locations, Equipment, and Properties pages.

  2. Take one or two Items and define a “default list item widget” for them and see how that changes how the Item appears on the cards in the Locations, Equipment, and Properties pages.

  3. Dive into the properties of the Overview page and play with the settings there (background image, which badges to show, order, etc.)

Now you should have the knowledge to set up the automatically generated parts of the Overview page look how you want.

  1. Now it’s time to create a custom widget. Go through Pages - Custom Widgets | openHAB and look at the code for one or two of the simpler widgets posted to the marketplace. Experiment and look stuff up in the reference guides to learn how to create custom widgets.

You can add those widget to a Layout page (the first tab of the Overview page is a Layout page).

There are many approaches you can take overall but I follow this philosophy:

  1. Items that are used a lot get represented on the Overview layout tab.

Note most of the widgets you see there are either examples used to create the Getting Started Tutorial or they are on the marketplace.

  1. Any other Items that need to be exposed to end users of the home automation are captured in the semantic model and appear on the other three tabs of the Overview page.

That’s it. I keep it simple.


I just read every Tutorial a second time.

What I can say:

  1. I already have a complete semantic model.

When I want to control something I use the Equipment Tab. This is the best one.
I don’t have that much properties. I rarely use this Tab
The locations tab is just to much
The overview Page is the one I can’t handle. Can I just disable it?

You can edit the Overview page (when logged as an administrator, click on the orange pencil on the upper right angle of the overview page) and choose the tabs you do not want to appear (apparently the overview tab cannot be disabled in this way).

It reflects your model. If it’s too much, have a second look at your model. Not every Item needs to be nor should it be in your model. In my experience no more than 60% of your Items belong in the semantic model.

For end users, the Locations tab is the more intuitive tab to use because they just want to “turn on the lights in the kitchen”. It’s intuitive to look in the kitchen for the control to do that.

Unfortunately not, at least not yet. You can hide each of the other three.

You can just leave it empty. Nothing says that something has to go there.

There are tons of great widgets on the marketplace you can install and use.

“Can’t handle” really gives us zero insight into what specific parts of Pages you are struggling with. So ultimately we can only help with equally vague and high level responses that ultimately tell you to go look at the docs. Without direction, there is nothing we can write here that is going to be better, and likely will be significantly worse than what’s in the docs already.