Provide interface for retrieving an inventory of available actors?

Let me outline my experience with openHAB which I use as a reflection on the usability for future use.
Note: This is not intended to be a rant, but just a user experience.

  • I installed openHAB on my Raspberry 3 as this is the destination device on which I would like it to run.
  • I installed the demo
  • I put a homematic and pushover bundle into it.

Now I want to edit the configuration.

  • Tried to start the designer on the raspi -> not possible. Designer does not run on ARM.
  • Started it on my local machine.
  • No way to obtain configurations from the server instance.
  • Messed around with samba to create a mountable device for my windows machine (this really put me off)

Read the docs, understood the architecture and basic nomenclature of the entities.

  • Configured the homematic binding
  • Added the IP and so on. Did it work?

I don’t know, no feedback visible in openHAB.

I added a state and a button in openHAB struggling with multiple things at once:

  • Is binding ok?
  • Am I using the proper openHAB entities (I am not talking about syntax checking), this is just a learning step
  • Is this “address thing” for my homematic ok?

-> Results: It doesn’t work.

Spent time configuring the debug output to see, some binding specific state was not supported, but hey since I get errors for those actors, the binding itself must be working! yay

Now I have to use the ugly homematic interface to obtain addresses of all my actors from it. What the heck is the address of such a device anyway?

This is where I lost the interest in openHAB. I don’t want to use other web interfaces to obtain some obscure addresses which are totally not idiomatic. I simply can’t remember what address MEQ123456 actually stands for and what states it has.

So bottom line

I suggest some sort of interface that asks the bindings to provide their available actors. Each smarthome technology has a different way of obtaining and interfacing them but that’s the point for me regarding bindings, provide me with entities I can work with, not an abstract string representation of those smart home actors I still need to manage outside of openHAB.

As a first point, please be aware that openHAB 2 is still beta.

The main thing about openHAB 2 is, that it should (auto-)discover most of the smarthome hardware. Unfortunately, discovery of the gateway for homematic does only work with homegear as the gateway. Once the homematic gateway is configured correctly, the actuators should be (auto-)discovered from openHAB 2.

Over the last few weeks, the documentation of openHAB 2 has grown fast, so maybe this would help in answering your questions.

In question of Designer, the common way is, to use the Raspberry 1|2|3 as a headless server. The easiest way to gain access to configurations is samba, there are many tutorials for how to configure samba the right way at the internet. step-by-step (well, more or less):

sudo apt-get install samba             #install samba
sudo adduser <your_windows_user>       #add your user to linux system
sudo smbpasswd -a <your_windows_user>  #add the user to allow samba access
sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf          #edit samba configuration

and to add the configurations directory to samba configuration, attach these lines at the bottom:

comment = Openhab-root
path = /etc/openhab2/
guest ok = no
valid users = <your_windows_user>
read only = no
force user = openhab

save and exit smb.conf by typing <ctrl>+x

sudo systemctl restart samba.service

#Warning: this is completely from memory!!!

This should gain write access to configurations folder for your windows user, chose this directory in esh designer.

Impressive that you type samba installation from memory :smile:

It wasn’t a breeze but samba was not the issue, it was just something that caught be off-guard. I was ready (so I thought) to start configuring openHAB only to realize that I had to go back to ssh and further install and configure my raspi. I understand that the designer was not designed (:slight_smile:) to connect to an openHAB server, it would just have been perfect.
But again I understand that there are priorities.

However I did not know the hint about homegear. Is auto-detection already a feature in openHAB 1?
I already own a CCU so I was hoping to avoid spending even more money for another homeatic network interface.

Is there actually a timeframe for a full release? I found some threads pointing to github’s bugtracker for the state of of openHAB but since there is no milestone date for 2.0 it is purely feature driven, which may take weeks, months or years to release.

In fact, openHAB 2 is in beta state because of the very dynamic coding, there are still many changes, but the code is very stable, so maybe just give it a try :slight_smile:

openHAB 1 has no discovery at all, sorry…