Item organisation? Best Practise?


i am using openhab for a while now and slowly my configuration is getting more an more complex.

now i am at a point, where its getting harder to the overview of all the created items, especially of “virtual” items which are used to “create” states and to trigger rules.

Of course, i know the function to put items in groups - but i think its too complicated to handle them in paperui or in the other ui’s, where all the items are just listed.
i am missing a kind of tree-structure for the items view in paper ui - and the possibility to change the group of an item with drag an drop.

So my question is: What is your “best practice” in item-handling and are there thougts for an upgrade of the item-organisation in paperui?

thanks, alex

I have written almost all my items with a prefix that tells me what binding it is related to or if it has some other function.




and the list goes on...

hello and thanks for your reply!

with prefixes i am working also… but it is not, what i would call user-friendly…

Not supported in PaperUI yet. I don’t know if there is an Issue open to add this functionality to PaperUI.

That is one reason why I and a lot of others use .items files for our Items definitions. We can then separate them into separate files based on some sort of scheme. I use function (e.g. lighting.items, hvac.items, etc).

Within PaperUI, at the moment, Miika’s advice is the best that can be offered. However, I would recommend using functional categories for your prefixes as you are more likely to be interested in Items with similar functions at a given time than Items linked to a specific technology or in a specific location.


This is a good tip and i’d say more useful when you are towards your final setup. I’m still in testing phase and errors happen almost weekly. This helps me debugging in a way.

thanks for your tips! actually i use a combination of items created in paperui and items created in an .items.

“real” items, depending on things, i create in paperui
"virtual" items i create in .items

but i think at the point you just dont want to switch some things manually with your smarthome manually, but adding some kind of “lower intelligence” to it, you are getting to its limit.

for example, i tried to automate the control of of an air dryer depending on the air humiditiy.

  • the value of the air humidity is comming from an tado thermostat for each room (“real” item)
  • for excample the air dryer should start, when in one of the rooms the humidity rises above 60%
  • so i created a rule, switching an item “humiditiy high” for each room
  • also i created a group item, switching on, when in one of the “humidity high” items turns to on
  • if the group item turns on, it fires an on command to the switch of the air dryer / when the humidity is ok again, it switches the dryer of

but now i dont want the air dryer to start at night.

  • so i created another “virtual” item for a nightmode, switched on an of by a rule with cron-expression

the next thing ist, i want to add a switch to turn on an off the depending rules manually and it would like to add the possibility to “customize” the humidity values for each room, when the air dryer starts ans stops…

so with every step, i need more and more “virtual items” as helpers combined with more and more rules and its getting more and more complex. of course its possibile to create it one time, but it think it would be horrrible, if you have to change something after a few months.

first point ist, that it is good to know, that i am not the only one having trouble with this.
so the second point and question would be, how to create such an issue you mentioned.

thanks for your tips and the discussion! :slight_smile:

I’d just like to add my +1 to this. I recently replaced some of my old 433MHz plugs for new shiny Z-Wave plugs. Just changed the plugs and relinked the items, took no time at all. I think this is the entire essens of the thought of having items linked to the things, the items have no logical connection to any specific binding. If my wife want to turn a specific lamp on she has no interest in knowing exactly which technology is involved…

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Wanted to open a new discussie, but found this which also describes my issue in some way.

I have one item file which contains all my items sorted on their location. I have a “chapter” for kitchen, livingroom and so on. Beside that I have a number of rule files based on function: ie a scene rule file, a climate rule file etc. Since OH2 I also have a number of thing files :scream:

Looking at other configs (GitHub) I see that some people have multiple item files based on the kind of hardware or the kind of function the item has.

I still haven’t found the perfect solution.

For naming I use a scheme like:

*************************** BADKAMER*************************
Switch	Light_AH_Badkamer_Spiegel	"Spiegel (BK)" <light>	(gLights_AH_Badkamer)

*************************** KEUKEN*************************
Number	Sensor_VH_Keuken_Temperature_Celsius	"Temperatuur (KE)[%.2f °C]"	<temperature> (gClimateItems)

*************************** WOONKAMER*************************
Number	Scene_VH_Woonkamer			"Scenes"	<sofa>	  	// 1="TV", 2="Bezoek", 3="Lezen"
Number 	Scene_VH_Woonkamer_Set					<settings>	// 1=Set Scene 1, 2=Set Scene 2, 3=Set Scene 3
  1. function or group: ie light, sensor etrc
  2. part of my house: VH (front of house), AH (Back of House), BU (outside)
  3. room: ie bathroom, kitchen etc
  4. item within room: in the example the mirror in the bathroom

It would have been so perfect imho if the thing file was connecting the hardware to an item and the item was the connection to a function …

Just my 2 cents