Is OpenHab Dying?

I dont fully agree.
If the UI´s can take care of the rule process like a drag and drop, then it really doesn´t matter which language beeing used behind. I´m pretty sure most user wouldn´t care, as long as the UI´s is fulfilling the users needs. But if the UI´s only fulfil the basic needs, then I agree, the language behind will matter.

Its not easy.
I´m mainly trying the bring openhab to a lower/easyer level, and still being powerfull. This can only happen through docs and easyer UI´s, forums etc. (Ie easyer workflow processes in general). Discussion of which language to use for rules is, in my opinion, a high level discussion, which belong beside any other discussion of how to make opehab better for new/ordinary users, or discussion of whats wrong with openhab.

I have heard the statement from many ordinary potential users, that OH is too hard to comprehend. I felt the same when I started using openhab, and sometimes I still do, specially about rules. It is a very long learning curve. And in my opinion, it´s this learning curve which needs to be shorten somehow. A debate of which language to use for rules, doesnt help me much cause any languages will feel like rocket science for me anyway. What I need is an easyer way to use and adapt rules, like the drag and drop way. Like someone suggested earlier, by using predefined rules. I think its the same idea as Node Red, right?

This is why I felt a need to express my feelings about the debate about rule language. I´m not trying to forbid it or offend anyone.
I´m just trying to give my opinion about, whats most important to me as an ordinary user regarding rules, and what I believe is most important for new potiential users as well.

Ofcouse. And they should. But question is, if this is a major concern above other things…
I´ll leave it up to you to decide.

All of those discussions are taking place too. But you seem to be insisting that only those discussions should takes place, even though there is a huge population of OH users who do care about these sorts of issues.

Just look at the 200+ long posting of people arguing about making sure we don’t lose the ability to configure OH in text files. Would you have is say “sorry long time users and supporters of OH, you don’t matter anymore. We only want non-technical users who only use the GUIs now.”?

No, those users matter too. Their concerns matter to. Their concerns are a “main priority” too.

But your opinion is literally coming across that discussions about the base rules language doesn’t help you so they don’t matter and shouldn’t be discussed.

For some users it is, emphatically so. It is not me or your place to say that anyone’s concerns are not a priority. As for who decided, whatever a developer is willing to work on gets makes the decision because working code trumps good ideas every time.

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You can potentially write your rules using scripted automation in any of the languages supported by these script engines (this is not a definitive list!)…

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Later, with GraalVM which will be the new way to script, many restrictions of current JSR223 languages (and scripting with java :slight_smile: ) will be lifted https://www.graalvm.org/docs/getting-started/

Excellent I had no idea, it makes sense to teach people to use the language that bindings and core are written in.

  1. A person with no programming knowledge can use graphic drag and drop or other form of easy method for rules until they wish to learn more.
  2. When more power is needed they use Java for rules and learn it bit by bit. The knowledge from using xtend transfers very easily over to Java.
  3. When they have the urge they can use the knowledge learnt from writing rules to start writting bindings.
  4. When they have more knowledge they can help out with the core or whatever is needed.

Logical progression that makes sense.

Great news I look forward to seeing it. I will be very surprised if it is in fact finished as there will always be another user with a good idea or a use case that was not thought of. With a project like Openhab you have to innovate and keep improving or you stagnate.

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Not really… I´m concerned that high level discussions may drive even more potential new users away, rather than trying to welcome them at their level which, in my opinion, is highly needed. Yes, that is my opinion!

If a discussion about which base rules language to use, is more important than trying to make the over-all system easier to comprehend for new or even common users. Thats how it got to be. I just dont get it, and I personally dont agree with that kind of priorities. It´s like discussing which engine to use in a device without having decided if there is a need for an engine at all.

But thats just my opinion.

Indeed and you are free to express your opinion. Where I take exception is when you imply that other user’s opinions should not be discussed. If having a free and open discussion where all user’s opinions are allowed and respected comes at the cost of new users then so be it. I don’t see how that can be the case but if it is, so be it.

Just because we are discussing the underlying Rules Engine here, which despite what you may think, have HUGE implications to new users, doesn’t mean we are not discussing how to make Rules and everything else about OH easier for new non-technical users in other threads. There have been literally 1000+ posts across at least a dozen threads on the topic.

And yet three or four people in this one thread which isn’t even about how to attract and keep non-technical users express their concerns about the Rules Engine and suddenly the OH community doesn’t care about non-technical users and we shouldn’t be discussing such low level concerns that the new non-technical users won’t even care about? If they can’t express their concerns here, where can they express them? Where is it safe for those technical users who have their own concerns about where OH is going to talk about it without scaring away the mythical non-technical not yet OH user?

I don’t reject your opinion. I reject your insistence that others cannot discuss or express their opinions for fear of scaring away the non-technical users. If these mythical users cannot handle the existence of a forum posting that talks about low level technical stuff they don’t need to be using an open source product in the first place. They need to go buy something commercial. This is an open source community. Pretty much everything is here in the open for inspection. We don’t hide things like this.

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When we talk about the engine, this condition is to get moving. In concrete terms, rules that can be configured via a surface are about three stages:

A) To simple prefabricated logic and linking (Events that do anything If, then, else with Things, Groups) for example done with a cool drag-and-drop GUI. This is the part you wrongly see as too little discussed/represented.

B) More complex logics that fulfill a special task and give the user a GUI and input or selection fields or the possibility to link them to his own devices, things etc. (Garden irrigation, light organ, heating control, shading control)

C) Script input areas via a GUI in which custom script snippets can be inserted and linked to events and specific devices/things.

D) A free textual scripting environment that allows free programming in different languages and can be started without compilation. These are program files in text form. These script languages, and this is very important to mention here, later are also used to create presets for A), B) and C) and make them available to other users to other users with different programming skills. We thus receive an exchange independent of the respective abilities and previous knowledge. The multitude of script languages also invite Java foreign programmers to use openHAB. For example, even the experienced non-programmer can pass something on to the openHAB beginner via scripts. Or the professional Python programmer who can’t use Java will provide other openHAB users of all performance classes with complex functionalities via scripts.

The architects have already thought a lot about how to preserve these skill-spanning possibilities. The indispensable prerequisite is a very good architecture of the script language interface and its integration into openHAB.

And as you rightly said, the prerequisite is a good engine. Only you turn the facts upside down. I have the impression that you want a drag-and-drop GUI before the engine that controls it is built.

What good is a great drag-and-drop GUI if the possibilities are so limited that only users with very good java programming skills can write logic and fill it with life?

Maybe now you understand better that everything is connected to everything. Especially the openHAB event engine and openHAB rule logics are core competence of openHAB it is very carefully planned. Only one part of many is the scripting part.

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I don’t think it is. Indeed project is having heavier times, but with all great people who stand behind it, its gonna be fine. If you think of how many things been done by maintainers before, how much is being done right now, you will see that project from community and headcount point of view is in terrific state.

That’s one thing you need to learn about “influencers” - they need to talk. Silent influencer is dead (non existing) influencer. Their job is to lead people, they can’t stand a “status quo”, they need to do their job and “move” people somewhere.
I don’t think IT/tech is worst case, but there is a lot of “noise” about specific tools. We need to acknowledge a fact that computer people, even if they would deny, are fashion driven. This starts from languages going over popular libraries up to server runtimes and orchestration tools.
Did you think why DIY for tech people would be different than core of industry?

One additional thing to note - I always valued tech blogs and I still do. However in quite many cases people who promote certain things get reward from promoted company this way or another. I don’t think HA is doing that, but such practice is quite common in “lifestyle” blogs. Its quite usual that blogger/influencer/whomever gets a gift, sometimes very expensive one, for showing and recommending specific things. I’m completely fine with these as long as such things are explicitly stated as “sponsored article”, but don’t expect such notes on ANY material prepared by ANY influencer.

During some of my chats I suggested that there still might be a space for paid service within openHAB, but I am not sure if community and foundation would acknowledge, accept or even support idea due to existence of myopenhab.
As you can imagine making such service dedicated to openHAB community requires some investments who no one is willing to pay right now. Many of us would love to do it, but noone will spend a single penny until will know what would be policy towards new service which could be (in some aspects) complementary to myopenhab. There are many improvements which can be done even at device level finishing at (new) cloud service, however this is subject for another discussion.
It is really amazing that many cloud enabled functions are available with no charge. At the same time I am also aware that myopenhab service is rather in maintenance mode than in active development - there is noone paying a full time programmer to work and continuously improve it. Part of reason is - there is no cash in OH community.

To sum up all above. I think openHAB and its core will be fine. Currently project as a whole is getting through “technical debt payment” phase (migration from tycho to bnd). This causes some troubles, however once it will be completed making new bindings will get slightly easier (Eclipse will become optional, not mandatory).
For cloud I see a big question mark. Clearly myopenhab is not most active part of development and have certain limitations. Its gonna stay here for a while. No one really knows whats gonna happen to Eclipse Yasham after story with Eclipse SmartHome. Project was announced at last Smart Home Day, passed review phase and was accepted to Eclipse foundation (January 2019) but I see no code following whole media “hype”.

There are largely legal issues with supporting that. We would have to be very careful with a paid service that does not endanger the foundation’s non-profit status. So I don’t think the Foundation would ever put up a paid service.

I don’t believe that would prevent someone from setting up their own unaffiliated instance of the openHAB Cloud Connector and charging for access to the server. It’s kind of at the edges of ethical but I don’t think it would be illegal. Of course you would have to provide some additional value to entice users to pay for it.

Anyone with the time, skills, and willingness to contribute are free to do so at https://github.com/openhab/openhab-cloud.

There is no one paying any full time programmer for any part of OH.

Which was a deliberate decision made when the OH Foundation was established as a non-profit foundation in Germany. You can argue with Kai and the rest of the board as to whether that was a good decision or not but that is how OH is organized now. The Foundation pays for the hosting of this forum, myopenhab.org, and some of the build utilities and all development is purely opensource. The foundation has no active role in the development of any part of OH. And it’s my understanding that it cannot have any role in the development.

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They can, and they should. My saying was not to tell anyone not to talk about it, but rather trying to change the focus to where I believe would matter most for openhab in general.
I could be wrong, but I have seen quite a few people saying openhab is hard to comprehend. I have seen people struggle with basic stuff. I have seen people wondering why the heck there is a UI, but it´s not capable of doing a simple task as inserting a tagging to a item. They didn´t even manged to get to the rules, before they gave up. And if the basic understand is hard to comprehend, then trying to comprehend the rules would for sure kill them, only letting a few people passing through…

Is this the way openhab is suppose to be?

In my opinion they´re all right. Openhab shouldnt suffer from these kind of lacks. But it does. And when it does, I too fail to understand how a question about which rule langauge to use can become more important. Well, except for those who are already knowledgded and know how to get around the lacks and nags.

It´s not that same as saying rule language isn´t important. Its me trying to put the priorities into perspective.

Sure most can handle it… But it can also become a signaling problem, when simple things (like mentioned above) isnt possible or isnt working… Why the heck do the knowlegded people talk about a rule langauge. It can seem a bit like sending a signal:
“We dont give a sh***. We know to get around these lacks. Now go rtfm and study a couple of years like the rest of us. Then you´ll be able to get past these lacks as well, and leave us alone”.

I know this is very harsh said, and fortunatly it´s not real. I´m just trying to express my point, that things can be understood this way very fast, even from a thread like this. Beside David´s UI´s, which I really look forward to, there isnt much information about any changes or fixes on its way, is there?

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I do understand, and I do agree with you… I have been here for quite some time now… (almost a coupple of years).
My worries is for the new users, who´s struggling trying to comprehend openhab… I would love to give them a much better start into this highly technical and difficult world. Unfortunatly I cant code. But I can express my opinion, which is what I´m trying to.
I´ve seen quite a few give up long before they even reach the rules. This tells me, there is something wrong or things could be better before even getting to the rules. Which is why I believe, what ever rule language beeing chosen really doesnt matter for these people I´m speaking for. It will matter as soon as they have reach beyound the high jump on the road to get there. Then it matters.

How about helping with documentation or helping those newcomers looking for support on the forums?

Thats what I´m doing the best I can, cause it´s all I can do.

That’s great!

Respectfully though, I think your point on your opinion on what should be the priorities has been thoroughly made, and there is probably not much to be gained by discussing it further in this thread. There are always multiple sides to each discussion, and the current graphical rules and rule engine discussions have now been done to death in this and other threads.

As Rich said, ultimately it is the developers that will most likely determine priorities, as they are the ones voluntarily working hard in their own time - my hats off to them for what they have achieved to-date!

The only one here who is saying the rule language is more important than everything else you mentioned here is you. But for many of the people on this thread, it is an issue that is as important.

Not “the” priorities. “Your” priorities. We all have our own set of priorities for OH.

The issues you mention for new users are recognized and are being addressed. But they can not and hopefully will not be addressed at the expense of those users for whom the rules language is a big deal.

There are tons and tons of discussions. They just are all taking place on github where they belong. It’s the developers who will make the decisions on what gets implemented and what is a priority because they are the ones who are donating their time to write the code. Therefore the discussion about how all of these issues are going to be addressed are taking place among the developers.

I still strongly disagree that we should censor and conversation on this forum (that does not violate the community rules of conduct) whether or not it poses a “signalling problem” for new users. And in this case, if there is a signalling problem it’s because those users haven’t read the rest of the forum. Somehow a handful of postings in this one thread weigh more in the minds of this notional potential OH user than the 1000+ postings elsewhere. I cannot and will not censor or block conversations based on that.

So here is the problem. You are expressing it to the wrong people. Few of the developers are participating on a thread like this. It’s only the developers who can take any action on these opinions. So you need to open Issues on github if you want to express these opinions to those who actually have the ability to do something about it. For everyone else here, it still comes across as saying that we shouldn’t talk about low level stuff here because it might frighten new users.

Which we agree with. And we have spent tens of thousands of words discussing it just on this forum. It’s just been discussed in other threads.

But it matters a whole lot to everyone else. And this isn’t a thread limited to just those new users. And what language(s) gets chosen has a HUGE impact on that “drag and drop” user interface you seem to think renders the underlying language unimportant.

Agree.

As CFO of the openHAB Foundation I would like to step in and give a bit more background why we cannot pay developers or run paid services.

A registered Foundation in Germany can collect money through membership fees and donations, fine so far and nothing special. Having a non-profit state, the Foundation gets tax exemptions, so we are not paying taxes for the money we receive. This also means that we have to spend the money for the purpose the Foundation was founded and received the non-profit state. This purpose is consumerism and consumer information. So the expenses of the Foundation have to be for informational purpose mainly, which is covered by running this forum or a demo server and other activities where we inform the public about openHAB and the „Intranet of Things“
What we definitely cannot do is pay any developer, as this would not be of an informational aspect.

I hope this makes the role the openHAB Foundation is playing actually and will play in future a bit clearer.

Best
Hans-Jörg

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Because they´re already advanced users. They dont struggling trying to comprehend openhab. They have been there and move to the next step. They know how to deal with whatever lack there may be.
I wonder how come you cant see this is where the different is.

Probably… I adress the community because I´m naive thinking developers are a part of the community as well. Whats good is it to have developers without a community or vice versa…

I give up Rich… You simply wont understand that I´m not trying to censor anyone. I´m trying to change focus of what I believe matters most… I accept others are having a different opinion. But they´re not in the same situation, which I tried to explain, makes it a bit more difficult to agree upon.

Again, because they´re in a different situation. They´re advanced users, not struggling to comprehend openhab or how to deal with the lacks in UI´s.

I do NOT think its unimportant. I´m stating that, before anyone reach the stage of whatever rule engine beeing chosen, they have to understand how to setup openhab and deal with its lacks and difficulties first.

Last shot - Is it important for you to be able to run, before you can walk?
My saying is a simple as that!