SARAH companion app for openHAB

I somewhat understand their situation. I am personally working om some ideas around Docker. Kai has already said, in private messages, that OH is not interested.

There is room, especially with UIs using the REST API for community developed UIs outside the confines of the official distribution. Perhaps some day someone will even fork and improve on OpenHAB.

I don’t want to get too embroiled in an argument here, but I feel @seeLive is probably not feeling the love, so wanted to throw a few thoughts in and then run away :wink:

This is an open source project - many OS projects are built on other OS projects, and we probably all need each other to thrive. There are who knows how many variants of Linux out there - all looking to solve a different niche, but in general all building on the same core. We should also remember that openHAB-2 itself is built on Eclipse SmartHome - now that ESH has died, OH has become the “go-to” place for the ESH continuing developments, but there are many other ESH, and OH based systems out there. I do feel that communities can possibly work a little better together rather than push people away when they propose something slightly different.

When I started the OH ZWave database 5 years ago I proposed to the open ZWave community to share resources with the database so we had a larger community - all benefitting from common inputs but exporting to our respective systems. This was rejected by OZW - they wanted to build their own system. Are the systems different - yes - but could we have benefitted from joining forces in some way - well, I think so anyway and I think we are both a little poorer as a result.

Sure, maybe SARAH users won’t fully appreciate the intricacies of openHAB, and maybe there will be some confused users - but that’s arguably the situation now anyway and I think @seeLive is trying to address that in his way. And who knows, maybe SARAH users might just bring something to openHAB - I just kind of feel we’re jumping the gun and rejecting something, and highlighting the negatives, before giving it a chance…


as stated:

First, they wrote a management interface, primarily. But a Web UI, if not written in an OH blessed language will get denied outright. What he is doing is not necessarily bad. Although I see “dragons” ahead.

I believe we should learn from Home Assistant where there is a volume of user developed enhance, many outside the confines of the official distribution. The system was designed to encourage that expansion. Some of those ideas have made it into the core distribution.

yes, I believe our own ‘marketplace’ was where such activity existed but because the marketplace was somehow tied to ESH, it had to be dumped. I believe a new version of the marketplace is being talked about and perhaps getting set up already



@seeLive I second this. As you appear very talented since your code is openHAB only I would suggest joining the dev team. Your ideas are welcomed I am sure, but will always get resistance when you operate as an independent 3rd party.

On my other issue of backup and restore. I can have my openHAB config changed over in two minutes. This is not my issue. It is the other required software to run my hardware.

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This is somewhat true. But, The issue is a guy like me can’t test the Sarah software as it can’t be installed independently. This is my primary issue with the product, it is all one big bundle. The only way to try is a new sd card. I know some of this is due to it being a new software, but it is still an issue.

I installed it fine yesterday. Many people here have Raspberry Pi systems.Obviously, it is not marketed toward you. (or me) I was primarily looking for ideas as I try to improve the OH experience.

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Isn’t that the same with openHABian? (I’m not familiar with openHABian, but if I look in the docs, it simply states “Flash, plug, wait, enjoy” in the docs.

Anyway, my point isn’t really this - it’s just that we should give ideas a chance. Not all ideas are welcome in openHAB - the same as Linux, there are different ideas and people want to go in different directions. OpenHAB clearly states “We’re trying very hard to keep openHAB lean and focused. We don’t want it to do everything for everybody. This means that we might decide against incorporating a new feature.” - this is quite common, and that’s fine, but when OH doesn’t want to be “everything for everyone” it also shouldn’t complain when someone tries something new.

I’m just suggesting to give this a chance, and trying to moderate the conversation a little - just because we need to flash this to an SD card doesn’t make it wrong - it might just make it not right for you :wink:


That is EXACTLY the way they want you to use it. I have used it on Linux but I get disparaged by the developer whenever I suggest that.

One possible issue I notice though: The openHABian devs specifically removed raspi-config due to some sort of conflict with openhabian-config. I notice @seeLive added it back. That could cause future issues.

Thank you all for your comments, thus far. I believe they have given us all a lot to think about. :slightly_smiling_face:


Nope it is in the docs and can be installed via github.

And mstormi kicks up a fit if you direct users to that.

He only wants to support the image. That makes it difficult because nobody here has the experience to support the Raspbian (Raspi OS) part.

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First off I, for one, am willing to invest my time to learn how OpenHAB works and use the knowledge for my private goals. And for nothing more, and I won’t learn more than I need. Not because I wouldn’t like it, but I simply don’t have time for that. I made some errors in the past and I probably will do some more. That’s why as soon as I have some spare time I think I will be considering to give SARAH a try - or at least read a bit more about it.
To the point.
What just happened here is @seeLIve was told his project will make only problems for the OpenHAB community (questionable for me, as the community has all the rights to refuse any support for SARAH anyway, hasn’t it?) and then he was told to rather abandon his project and work with the OpenHAB directly instead.
Hmmm… is that some kind of marketing or social psychology trick? (seems dirty, but it’s only my private opinion. Not that I came here to argue).
I don’t work with marketing and don’t know much about it, but I wouldn’t be feeling fine with that.
Anyway I second @chris here: SARAH companion app for openHAB.

(Just to be perfectly clear, I’m not accusing anybody and it is not my intention to offend anybody. I won’t be able to come back here for a week or so, so I won’t answer)

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True. Any volunteer has the right to ignore any request for help in this community. However, it doesn’t speak well of our community when that happens, and it’s certainly not inviting to newcomers. So, what I wrote previously was largely about avoiding this scenario as much as possible.

I just want to clarify that this was not my intent, but I can see how my original post might have been interpreted this way. I’m a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” type of person. So, I didn’t say much about the potential positives of SARAH for bringing in new users who fully embrace openHAB, because I didn’t really see any issues arising from them.

No offense taken on my part. :wink: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disagreeing with each other, so long as we aren’t being disrespectful toward each other.

@seeLive, I’m grateful that you’re willing to have this conversation, because it’s interesting me to discuss how our perspectives differ. As @chris has pointed out, none of us have the right to say “you should or should not do this” in relation to use of open-source software. As @Andrew_Rowe pointed out, I spend a lot of time trying to help new users, so I approach a lot of openHAB conversations from the perspective of minimizing confusion and frustration for that audience.

I don’t think I said it earlier, but I’m also thinking about your relationship (as the SARAH developer) with SARAH users. I imagine that if they become frustrated with us not being able/willing to help them, they’ll quickly become frustrated with you. So, I’m trying to lay groundwork for everyone to have a good experience.

I’m a strong believer that things so much smoother when we set expectations up front, so I try to do that as much as possible (I don’t always succeed). This is why I suggested that there be some rewrites on your website to this effect, and perhaps some modifications to SARAH’s features to be more in line with your intentions (as I interpret them from our conversation). But that’s all from my perspective, and I firmly believe you should do what you think is best. Like I said earlier, take what you like, ignore what you don’t. :grinning:


I think @seeLive has something here. One of the problems I have with OpenHab is that the learning curve is very steep. It is very hard to get into, especially for users who are not super technical. The introduction, tutorials and documentation are filled with technical jargon that many people won’t understand at first.

People learn things in different ways, there is not one approved way to teach yourself something. “RTFM” is one method, follow a tutorial, and ask for help on the forums are others.

The one major method I see missing from OH is the “take a working example, and modify it to your needs” method. You will learn a lot doing this, and you can always go back to the working example to figure out where you went wrong. Providing a non-working example configuration with OH does not help in this respect (and I don’t think that it’s intentional - it did work in OH1 - it’s just never been updated).

It can be very frustrating for new users to have to spend hours with configurations, flipping between paper UI and text files with no clear indication as to which is the 'best" way of doing things (and everyone has their own opinion on this). In many cases just to get one Item working.

What I see @seeLive has done with SARAH is to provide a way to make a working example, that is relevant to your own particular situation. It gives you a springboard to set up something that works quickly, that you can then take and use as a learning tool to explore the capabilities of OH and how it works.

As such I think it is a commendable effort, and fills a hole in the OH learning curve.

Could there be issues? sure, there are in most new things, but I think we should see this in a positive light, it’s another tool to help people get started. One that I think is very much needed.


Selecting “Demo” from the initial package setup does that.

While there is a bit of a demo built-in to the OH install, it is something very different. It does not provide the same level of functioning home and I don’t think that was the intent. The two should not be confused as being the same thing.

Although your intent is noble, they are just 2 different “Demo” approaches, neither of which would be useful in my small installation. There are just too many permutations and combinations of things to be helpful to everybody.

I have one motion controlled light with an expire timer to turn off, but only when it is dark.

I have another light on stairs with 3 motion sensors and an expire timer to turn off. (top & bottom of stairs and outside an office area.)

It takes individual effort to put such things together. The individual needs to know HOW each piece works so they can troubleshoot. That is why we focus here on helping people develop their OWN solutions.

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Just wanted to add some late comments and offer another viewpoint to the - very respectful, I must say! - debate above on third-party alternatives/complements to the officially maintained distribution or its components, or those which intended to be but didn’t make the cut for whatever reason:

IMHO I think it’s fine and even should be encouraged, and I believe the general principle should be “don’t piggyback on openHAB’s brand or community for your personal (or your project’s) gain.” This is especially true of the former since the openHAB name and logo are trademarks (or pending) and you’re limited in their re-use - there should be an official policy for that but it’s not ready yet.

This doesn’t seem to be what @seeLive is doing, and being an active community member on this forum, questions or support about SARAH will probably end up being handled by its author anyways (maybe after a mention by someone one).

What I’m more ambivalent about is cases like these:

As you may or may not know there’s been a fork of HABPanel to work with ioBroker (a completely different platform), and since the original version features a widget gallery getting its data from here, they’ve reimplemented the gallery API to make it work and keep using openHAB’s forum as a source; as a result, there are links in the app effectively sending their users here - hence these few cases of users, sometimes unaware of the difference between ioBroker’s fork and openHAB, but still seeking support.

Technically there’s nothing illegal in this, and I know there isn’t any foul play intended, but doing it without notifying the upstream project or being more clear that you’re sending users to another community could have been handled better IMO. I don’t see anything of the sort happening here with SARAH.