What is the most common UI you are using

Hi there,
just wondering is there anyone out there using basicUI sitemap exclusively?
What is the future of that UI ? will it be discarded, and we should migrate to more modern UIs?

If so, what is the preferred choice:

  • modern sitemap created in UI
  • overview page
  • home page
  • habpanel

it all seems a bit confusing, should I configure all of those completely manually from scratch?
Or pick one? Which one works best on android phones?
It will take me years to bring them to a nice level some users here have…
I’ve been using this system since OH2, all text based, and now I feel time has run me over.

I went to explore all those pages, but nothing was automatically generated. I understand for some users this overview page gets auto-generated so they just customize it and adjust it to their needs.
When I opened it, it said no page configured yet, you need to edit overview layout…
So then thought, maybe its because I dont have semantic model? so I added few things there manually (in the model), and then I got the option to add something to overview.
After X amount of time, this is what I came up with:

not so impressive huh? :slight_smile:
At least it doesnt show page not configured yet…
it would take me weeks to build something here manually clicking around to get to the same level as my textual sitemap.
And then what, do the same in habpanel? does habpanel make sense for phones, or you just use it on tablets?
why does it say no pages on the left side below openhab logo?
I have created some test pages with just 1 switch, but i dont understand how to access them from the main page

there is no way to import my old basic ui sitemap to any of those?
I remember on oh2 that homepage was autogenerated, even picked up some locations i have defined in text based items ( @ Living Room etc…), it was a bit disorganized, but there was a lot of stuff to monitor and control from that old pages. on OH3/OH4 all these pages are saying not configured and completely empty.

I guess first mandatory thing is to build a semantic model? it seems that is focused on location, but i am in a small 2 bed apartment without elaborate floors, rooms, patios, guest houses, gardens, so this approach makes no sense to me.
i have grouped items in sitemap not by location but function, like lights, ac, sensors, multimedia, and others (some automation scenes, xiaomi robot etc) and then I’m hiding lights when its daytime, hiding AC when it’s not summer etc…

I am somewhat clueless where to start even and what to do…help? :slight_smile:

You can check the “Main Widget” project, which autogenerates your UI.

openHAB 4 version will be published soon, stillneed to prepare the docs.

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thx, nice project!
OK, i will have to invest some more time to look into semantic model. I just found out that if you have text items you should not use UI semantic model, just tag the items in the text to create a model. so that is something I will have to do…
I have already created some stuff in semantic model UI which I now all deleted, I hope it didnt create any mess…

This just means that you won’t have a very large semantic model, and that’s ok. It’s still required if you want the system to autogenerate a UI for you. In the old OH2 paperUI you still had to add some of this type of information for it to put together those interactive pages, this new semantic model is just the full realization of what paperUI started to test out towards the end of OH2.

OH2 to OH3 had some fairly large conceptual changes. Everyone make that transition feels a little overwhelmed at first. The best thing to do is go through the Getting Started tutorial, it makes a big difference even (especially?) for OH2 users used to the old ways.

Sitemaps are still alive and well and seeing active updates and development because many users still rely on them. If you want to stick with that you can. I don’t think there’s any talk of discarding them any time soon. The only real difference is that instead of being required to define them in text files, now you can choose whether to build text files or build them in the UI instead.

In the end it’s really up to you. You probably don’t need more than one UI to focus on (although some users might - for example I have a few pared down sitemaps that my kids use to control only the thing in their rooms while most of my UI is the new MainUI). But you can certainly get sitemaps up and running quickly if that’s what you’re used to and then slowly work on transitioning over if you like the look and responsiveness of one of the newer UIs better.

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It does not matter if you configure your semantic moddel via text or UI, just don’t mix both ways.
I will provide complete instructions (examples) for building the model used in our project that can be used in textfiles of imported into the UI.

I’ve been using openhab since version 2.5 (around 2018 maybe). I’m not very good with css, so I still use Basic UI, accessed both from desktop browser and from the android app. This is used as the main manual control interface to openhab e.g. turning lights on/off, opening garage, controlling TV, aircon, etc. It’s very easy to set it up.

I do have one mainUI page displayed on a 24" touch-screen monitor on the wall. It displays a changing photo album as the background, with some basic information overlay (time, current power usage, weather). It also automatically switches to the camera feed when motion was detected. The interaction / controls on this are minimum.

I also use textual items/things and for the basicui sitemap. I use semantic model in the textual item config by using tags.

I use mainui on a laptop and also on my phone.
I do have an old sitemap from my OH2.5 days but I never use that anymore.

Everything I need is on the overview page and I can click to get other pages from there.

I still use Sitemap only. It has received new love in OH 4.0 including the new input field, and richer icons. These are much appreciated. As for the reason why sitemap, it is just good enough for me. My system is sufficiently automated that the need for UI is rare. The Android client for Sitemap is also very good.


thanks everyone, good to know there are other old users using obsolete tech :slight_smile:
I agree, old sitemap works great, will keep using it, and build a model in parallel.

Why does OH main ui still says no pages on the left, how do I add some there?
habpanel does not use model? over there you have to build everything from scratch?


old sitemap

The list of pages on the left are pages that you have manually created. The pages that are automatically created by UI are found by clicking on the Locations, Equipment, and Properties tabs at the bottom of the overview page.


thanks for pointers everyone.
looks better now

but i will keep using the old ui until I add everything

btw how do you add electricity meter to semantic model? since electricity is all around us :slight_smile:

I’m not sure this was answered but I believe all of the UIs work on Android just fine.

I’d like to emphasize @JustinG’s suggestion to go through Getting Started. Those users who have the most trouble are OH 2.5 users who did not review Getting Started.

Just to be clear, the Overview page has four tabs: Overview, Locations, Equipment, and Properties. Only Locations, Equipment, and Properties get autopopulated based on the semantic mode. The Overview tab you need to populated. I recommend putting only those most commonly needed controls and sensors on that tab. Less frequently needed stuff can be got at through the other three tabs.

Don’t forget to look through the marketplace. You don’t have to create every widget. There are a bunch of very impressive widgets available for just installation and configuration.

You can use if for phones but HABPanel is not responsive. You’ll end up creating a separate panel for phones and tablets/computers.

You can use your old sitemap with BasicUI and the phone apps. The other UIs are completely separate.

You still have rooms I would assume. It doesn’t have to be complex and you can have a model without locations, though your Locations tab will remain unpopulated.

The semantic model is supposed to represent the physical layout of your home automation. For that it kind of needs to know which rooms stuff resides in.

Note that the semantic model is to be built from the end user’s perspective. You, as the administrator, may know that the relays to control all the lights in the house are in a closet connected to some KNX DIM rail. But the users of the house don’t care about that. They expect to find the lights for the kitchen to be in the kitchen in the UI/semantic model.

So that’s what the Equipment and Properties tab does for you.

For example:




Except for the background images above and some custom widgets, the vast majority of which are available on the marketplace, everything you see above was generated through the semantic model.

Not “should not” but it’s much more difficult to do so with .items files. You will have to keep a list of all the valid tags up and make sure that you use them correctly. I’ve found it’s less work in the long run to recreate Items using “add equipment from thing” which lets you create a bunch of Items all at once situated in the semantic model all in one go.

Just to be clear, I’ve never directly used CSS in any of my MainUI widgets. It is not a prerequisite for creating a UI. It can help in some circumstances, but it’s growing less and less necessary to do so with the many widgets added to the marketplace. Nothing shown above or in my Overview tab below requires CSS.


I used “Sensor” for the Equipment and “Measurement/Energy” for the Point Items. There is no right or wrong way to use the model so long as it makes sense to you.

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but did you tag it to any specific location? as you said, from the user perspective I dont care that the electricity meter is in electrical cabinet right next to knx cabinet :slight_smile:
maybe it would make sense to tag it to Indoor…even though there is light on the balconies :slight_smile:

I started looking at widgets on the marketplace today, yeah, bunch of good looking stuff over there…

One question - on android, i dont see the tabs for equipment, location etc…I can reach only overview and some graphs I created and defined I want them visible on the sidebar.
Is that expected or? I can see them fine on the PC.

A bit embarassing i managed to ignore all this all through OH3, just now on 4 I started playing with it :slight_smile:

It would be cool if you guys found a way to develop some parser or something to import old basicui sitemaps to new format of sitemaps on main ui (json or yaml, looks like that)
in that moment basic ui would become obsolete

The sensor itself is in my garage so that’s where I put it in the model. But because it covers the whole house, it’s just a reasonable to put it in the root location representing the whole house. That’s where I put the weather equipment and the point item that controls the networking ad blocking.

If you had a house guest, where would that house guest intuitively expect to look for it. That’s where it should go in the model.

Ultimately the locations primarily dictate which cards the Items appear under on the Locations tab.

Also, keep in mind that not all Items have any business being a part of the model.

I’ve never not seen them. Maybe you have to scroll down?

This feels a little like a jumble of concepts.

You can use your .sitemap files as is now and for the foreseeable future.

You can create .sitemap files through MainUI (it’s one of the Page types when you create a new Page). That does not appear to support importing an existing file though.

But no matter how a sitemap is imported, it’s going to only work with a UI that uses sitemaps. If you are asking for a way to create a MainUI Page based off of a sitemap, the concepts of the two UIs are so different I don’t see how that could ever be feasible. Even at their most basic elements the general concepts are very different. There is no simple mapping between sitemaps elements and cards, lists, and cells in MainUI.

well, if you click add widget to sitemap (the only option available to click)
you get

all these types look familiar to me, they are basically the same types in the “old” sitemap.

Just to be clear, we are talking about “sitemap” only, its completely understandable that layout, overview, tabs and all these modern concepts cannot be related to sitemap.

But this sitemap within MainUI looks pretty basic to me, there is no import from model, nothing fancy or complicated, just one button to add some basic item types, same as old one.
And when you inspect the code for it, you will see it just lists all items that you add, same as in old sitemaps, but different format. It seems plausible to me (the conversion/import).

It is just a suggestion, maybe more users would switchover to new UI if it was just a click import done.
I personally am already breaking away from my old sitemap by building all these nice cells and widgets, so not asking from a personal interest…

  "uid": "page_c8b2dd2e5e",
  "component": "Sitemap",
  "config": {
    "label": "New Sitemap"
  "slots": {
    "widgets": [
        "component": "Switch",
        "config": {
          "item": "All_Lights"

regarding missing tabs, if its not normal, then it’s probably related to the fact that I’m using FOSS version of OH client from f-droid, and my phone is just plain android without google services.
I see its using webview for mainUI, which is supported on my phone obviously but I guess there is some issue with tabs…

No explicit import, but if you go to the code tab, you could simply paste the content of your sitemap file when you create an new empty sitemap in the UI. All sitemap syntax should be supported. This then behaves exactly the same as a sitemap defined in a file.

The only thing that is not supported is showing a rendered sitemap inside mainUI. You need BasicUI or a mobile app for that.

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OMG this is amazing, just pasted the old sitemap and it works :slight_smile:
i was thinking its using a different format.
@rlkoshak ignore my comments about import, it already works :slight_smile:

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I just tried pasting in my old sitemap and it worked after I took out all my comments I had in it.
The new UI version of sitemap doesn’t seem to like // as a comment.
It also didn’t like spaces after the = sign like this Frame label= “Power”
Fixed up the errors and all good.
Other than that it worked fine.
Bonus is it does syntax checking of the sitemap.
I probably still won’t use it but you never know. :grinning:

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This is a general problem with YAML files…

Can you put comments into the yaml file? If so how?