Where can I find a tutorial "basic demo-setup"

actual version of openHABian (Version 1.7.1) installed on a Raspberry Pi 2B
And I was able to open the web-GUI

Then I installed the Andoid-App and was able to connect to the OpenHAB.server.
If I start the Andoid-App I get a message openHAB sends an empty Sitemap-List

Where can I find a step-by-step with screenshots tutorial that demonstrates how to do a basic setup
that works without any additional bindings?
Of course there is the documentation but the doc is overwhelming. No idea where to start.
The website “overview” just reports “the overview-pages is not configured”.

But there are no hints how to configure it
and the menu-items on the right are a lot but none of the items is called “configure overview-site”
Can you imagine that a newcomer just doesn’t know the click-path to the sub-sub-sub-menu to configure the overview??

Where can I find a tutorial that explains the main structure of how it works with commented screenshots?
Again: can you imagine a newcomer that has just general knowledge about how to use websites in general but has no idea about the structure of the OpenHAB-Web-GUI?

best regards Stefan

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Welcome to the community.

Sorry to hear that you’re frustrated. It seems like you’re trying to set up your system using the Android app. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t recommend it. openHAB is best configured with a computer and a keyboard, because it’s way too complex to be done with a touchscreen.

That’s how the tutorial is written, and why the screenshots show computer screens and not app screens.

I can see why you’d try to start with the app, since lots of things nowadays can only be set up via Android/iOS (e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings). As you’ve discovered, openHAB is not one of those things. Otherwise, we’d lead with “after you’ve set up your openHAB server, download and open the app on Android or iOS to continue”.

Hope that helps!

I believe minimum specification for a Pi a 3
It will run but going to be sssssllllllooooowwwwwww…

Hi Russ,

thank you for answering. I am configuring the OpenHAB-Server on my RaspberryPi using a computer and a browser. I followed the instructions on the getting started you linked to

And my actual configuration is this
The overview has these elements like in this screenshot

But on my smartphone I just see this

translation of the text
openHAB sended an empty Sitemap-List
Try new

This getting started is


a complete instruction it is just listing up which option does what.
It is very unclear to me which options and configuration must be configured / added as a minimum to make it work

Is there a possability to import a configuration that does work?
For learning the principles a small configuration that uses generalised elements would be sufficient
best regards Stefan

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This is the message shown on my smartphone

What does sloooow mean in numbers? minutes? hours? days? until a configuration is updated

If I click on an option the website gets updated within one second
best regards Stefan

I responded to the other thread you started regarding the sitemap, so hopefully that will be the solution to that particular issue.

Before we continue, can I ask you to drop the emphasis on things? I know you want to make your point, but it reads very hostile and makes it hard for me to respond without being defensive. I’d rather keep this friendly and upbeat, so that we can turn this into a positive experience for you.

The answer to this is: nothing. If you don’t have any devices/services, you don’t have to add anything and openHAB will simply exist. As it is, your system already works, and it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to add to it to expand it’s functionality. The problem is that you need to decide what the next step is.

We don’t start with “install a lightbulb from this manufacturer”, because not everyone wants that lightbulb. Actually, most people arrive here with some devices they want to use, so they have a natural starting point. You seem to be struggling specifically because you don’t.

So, I’m going to turn this around and ask: what do you want to do with openHAB? Get weather reports? Run a sprinkler system? Automate your heating system?

If you came here as a new user and wanted to do one of those things, it wouldn’t be very be helpful for a tutorial to focus solely on a lightbulb you don’t care about. That’s one of the challenges we have with documentation: the interests and backgrounds of new users vary, because openHAB is very flexible (and, as a result, very complex).

My advice to you is to buy a TP-Link Kasa smart plug, if you can get one where you live. Then you can learn the concepts of bindings, things, items, and rules by applying them to that device. And to be clear, I recommend this to everyone. I think it’s easier to wrap your head around the concepts when you have a physical device to apply it to, and I’ve had very good personal experience with Kasa devices (which are typically inexpensive). They’re also very simple to get working in openHAB, whereas other random smart plugs may be more complex.

Actually, buy two Kasa plugs so that you can see how they can be made to interact with each other. If Kasas aren’t available, let’s talk about what hardware you can get.

The thing you can’t escape is that there’s going to be lots of reading. Most of us around here see openHAB as a hobby, because complex home automation is hard. If you want to go beyond the simple if-this-then-that logic of Alexa/Google/SmartThings, you have to craft rules that consider a variety of variables (all defined by you) to tell openHAB what to do.

Note that I haven’t mentioned the Android app at all, because it’s honestly not that important right now. If your goal is to simply turn things on and off with an app, then the Google Home app can do that for you. If you want actual automation without human intervention, you don’t need an app at all. You need rules that do the work for you. For example, when you press a light switch, openHAB turns on three other lights if it’s after sunset, and only if it’s a weekday.

But don’t go there yet. Start small with two plugs, then start imagining what else you can do and build up from there.


sloooow means that as you build up your system you might find that it feels slow to respond and carry out actions. But for learning about openHAB, an RPi2 is fine. If you stick with it, the general recommendation is an RPi 4 with 2 or 4GB of RAM (not 8GB). And your system configuration can be backed up and moved to the new server.

Edit: ah, nevermind. I see that Russ already answered this is another thread as well.

I 100% agree with everything Russ has told you. And you really don’t need to focus too much on the phone app for the time being, but just so it’s ready for you when want to give it another try, the solution to your issue is simple once you have learned some of the vocabulary.

Sitemaps are older, less complex user interfaces. They were one of the main interfaces in previous version of openHAB. Because of this, the app was originally built around displaying sitemaps and by default still looks for a sitemap to display.

The MainUI is brand new to openHAB3 and is a much more flexible and powerful interface. But the pages you build with the mainUI like the overview page you have started to add a few widgets to are not sitemaps so when the app looks for sitemaps it still doesn’t find any.

Just click on the menu in the upper left of the app screen and one of the options should say “openHAB 3 UI”; click on that. That will tell the app that you want the MainUI pages and not sitemaps and you should see a mobile friendly version of the page you have already shown us.


Hi rpwong and JustinG,

thank you very much for taking time to answer me.

I want to modify my suggestion about the getting started tutorial.
IMHO the introductional explainings becomes easier to understand if the text starts with describing an everyday example with common words and then explains in OpenHAB this is called “…” and this is called “…”. This order starts with the well known and then couples it to the words that are used in a specific way inside openHAB.

There are good reasons to use common words like “thing”, “item”, “channel” for that. Though as the meaning inside OpenHAB is very specific and partially different than the everyday meaning IMHO it is a good idea to take time and textual effort to explain this.

I want to give an example:
Imagine a room inside your house with a double-switch mounted into the wall for switching on/off two different lightbulbs.

Imagine a TV-remote-control with all its keys to switch on/off, change the TV-program, change volume etc.

In OpenHAB such objects like the double-switch, the TV-remote, a single switch etc. are called “things”

Now let’s take a closer look at the “thing” double-switch:
The double-switch is able to

  • switch on/off lightbulb “A”
  • switch on/off lightbulb “B”

Lightbulb “A” and lightbulb “B” can be switched on/off separately and indipendend from each other.
This means the double-switch has two functions.

The same principles apply to the “thing” TV-remote-control.
The “thing” TV-remote-control has a lot of buttons where each button has a different function to

  • increase / decrease volume
  • increase / decrease brightness of the screen
  • change between different TV-programs

The double-switch is able to switch on/off lightbulb “A” and lightbulb “B” independent from each other. In OpenHAB the capability to switch on/off is called a “channel”.
This means the one “thing” double-switch has two “channels”

A wall mounted switch on its own without additional objects is useless. The double-switch is part of a system that has more elements than just the double-switch. There are wires coming from the electrical cabinet which are connected to the double-switch and there are some more wires one end connected to the double-switch the other end connected to the socket of the lamp that holds the lightbulb.

: break :

I think this example illustrates the underlying pattern:

Start with the everyday example and then use the everyday term to explain the OpenHAB term

At this point I’m unsure how to proceed with the explanation.
I’m unsure what the term “item” means.
is it:

  • the graphical representation of the switch on a openHAB-webpage?

  • the graphical representation of the lightbulb on a openHAB-webpage?

  • the lightbulb as the real physical object and the graphical representation of the lightbulb on a openHAB-webpage?

  • something different?

Beeing unsure at this point the other OpenHAB-terms “binding” and “link” remain nebulous for me.

So I would appreciate it very much if you could answer the question above and write an explanation similar to the given example.

best regards Stefan

The Getting Started Tutorial states right up front:

This new user tutorial assumes that you have at least a basic understanding of the concepts of openHAB

That concepts section provides exactly that. For example:

Things are entities that can be physically added to a system. Things may provide more than one function (for example, a Z-Wave multi-sensor may provide a motion detector and also measure room temperature). Things do not have to be physical devices; they can also represent a web service or any other manageable source of information and functionality.

And that is further explained and elaborated upon in the Things Concepts Page.

We have spent the time and textual effort to explain this.

Well, looking at the Concepts section which the Getting Started Tutorial told you to read first

Items represent capabilities that can be used by applications, either in user interfaces or in automation logic. Items have a State and they may receive commands.

and further elaborated upon on the Item’s Concept Page.

From the intro to the concepts page:

Bindings can be thought of as software adapters, making Things available to your home automation system. They are add-ons that provide a way to link Items to physical devices. They also abstract away the specific communications requirements of that device so that it may be treated more generically by the framework.

The glue between Things and Items are Links . A Link is an association between exactly one Channel and one Item. If a Channel is linked to an Item, it is “enabled”, which means that the capability the Item represents is accessible through that Channel. Channels may be linked to multiple Items and Items may be linked to multiple Channels.

There is even a nice diagram.


I’m not going to say it’s perfect and can’t use some work but it’s there and the Getting Started Tutorial did tell you to go read that first.

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A physical IOT device is often a very complex thing as your example demonstrates so, unfortunately it is difficult to reduce its function to a very simple user interaction. OH does a pretty good job of this with a progression of concepts: Binding, Thing, Channel, Link, Item. Maybe a brief chart will help here.

OH Concept Role Example
Device/Service The physical IOT device that you want to control, or the digital service that you want to get/send information to. Kasa outlet or Weather Service
Binding The plug-in that handles the specific communication between the device or service and the openHAB core If you have wemo devices you need to add the wemo binding. If you want to get local weather data from Dark Sky, you need to install the Dark Sky binding.
Thing A binding’s digital representation of a device or service (most bindings handle the communication between OH and more than one type of device) Wemo Dimmer Thing or a Z-Wave sensor Thing
Channel One available feature in a thing Z-Wave sensor’s light level or On/Off setting of a Wemo switch
Link The connection between a Channel and an item Just having a channel doesn’t mean that OH can get the information from the thing, it needs to have someplace to put that data
Item One unit of OH information Slider item for controlling the brightness of a Wemo dimmer or a Conctact item showing the state of a Z-Wave motion sensor

As you get into more complex set ups then you can expand on some of these in interesting ways. A profile, for example will act on a link to change the information to be suitable for a different data type. One channel can have many different links to different items. An item doesn’t even have to be linked to a channel, it can just exist on its own to hold one piece of information about the UI or users preference or rule state.

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I’d only change one thing in your table. As written it seems that a Channel can only represent a sensor, not an actuator. As you know a Channel can also control a device. Everything else is spot on.


first of all thank you very much for taking the time to write the explanation.
I appreciate this.

and this is my point: before proceeding with the tutorial I want to have a clear understanding of the concepts of openHAB.

My way of learning is opposite to what the documentation offers:

The documentation offers abstracted terms and words and the reader has to find / create examples to get a picture of what the abtracted terms mean.

They way I learn is opposite: reading an example or better three examples and extract the generalised pattern from the examples and connect this extracted pattern to the OpenHAB-term.

The best - at least for me best - is to be able to extract the pattern by working through an example that combines all steps and explains the steps and the relations.

I mean the whole process of setting up an openHAB-server and doing all the steps to make the heating system work automated
I do not yet know the right order what to do first, second, third -
in this "setting-up-process of

  • adding a thing
  • activate the “channel” of the “thing”
  • “link” the “Item” to - what?

So above the explanation of the terms, where do I find the explanation in which order I should do these steps?

Once somebody has understood the pattern she/he is able to apply the pattern to his own situation.
And this is the reason why an example is still useful. It explains the pattern.

So if somebody knows a link to a introduction that follows this “inversed” epxlaining style using an example to explain the pattern please post it.

best regards Stefan

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Well, as was described in previous replies, the nature of OH and how it works is really not conducive to your learning style. There is no end-to-end tutorial because OH isn’t a calendar or a game or a word processor where that can be covered end-to-end. Instead you get a bunch of stand alone tutorials that show how to do one specific thing that you’ll need to pick and choose from and string together to get to an end-to-end capability.

OH is a development platform. It’s not a stand alone capability.

And the Getting Started Tutorial does use real world examples on almost every page.

But the only reason I replied at all is you asserted that the content didn’t even exist. It does exist. Now the argument is changing that you don’t like it which is something else entirely.

Well, either you are just refusing to even try to read the Concepts section or you are not understanding them. If I assume the former, what makes you think that anything any one of us here can write in a forum reply will be any better than what has already been written and reviewed and edited by multiple experts. It’s still going to be text. It’s still going to be generic. It’s still going to be referencing abstract concepts.

If I assume the latter, it will be a whole lot easier to help if you give us specific parts of the concepts section of the docs and/or the Getting Started tutorial that you don’t understand and maybe we can clear that up for you.

But none of us us going to regurgitate the docs that we already spend hundreds of hours contributing to here in their entirety. Keep in mind that most of the people on this thread are the very same people who have written a good deal of the docs. If we could do any better we would have done so in the first place.

The Getting Started Tutorial has an order. First we have Things. Then Items and the Semantic Model, Then UI. Finally we have Rules. There’s your order.

However, it’s almost never a waterfall process like that. One might add a Thing, then add some Items linked to that Thing, then modify some Rules, add some more Items maybe not linked to any Thing, modify the rules some more, then work on the UI. Again, OH is a development platform. There is no simple waterfall process.

Well, as I quoted above, a Channel from a Thing is Linked to an Item.

It’s been asked for before. No one has yet to come up with anything like it. If there was I would have linked to it.

But maybe we can help if you give us specifics.

What type of hearting system? (central forces air will work vastly differently from a boiler system)

Which binding? (each technology has different technologies and sometimes different approaches in how they are used)

What do you mean by “automating” it" (There is an infinity of ways to automation a heating system, what specifically do you want it to do)

How do you want to control it (assuming control is needed at all, maybe you just want it to be fully automated)?

How do you want to visualize it?

Which UI?

Text config files or UI?

Have a preference for a rules programming language?

Each one of those questions have many branches. To cover even the most common use cases for an HVAC system would require dozens of end-to-end tutorials. To quote the meme: “We ain’t got time for that!”

Hi Rich,

thank you very much for the long reply.
OK So I guess I will have to put together some components and ask very specific questions about how to setup these components.

You indeed have created a lot of information, tutorials and documentation. That is a great achievement. Most people will be able to walk through and will get into it and become more or less experts themselves. It will take exploration and making mistakes and learning from them.

The Olymp in heaven is beeing a double-expert:
A double-expert in the sense of knowing a lot about the subject and having a lot experience with the subject.
And the second thing is beeing an expert about beginners difficulties which is a totally different subject.
Knowing a lot about beginners difficulties and having a lot of experience in explaining it.
Most experts are just the first.

Don’t worry. Feel honored through having evolved OpenHAB to the point where it is. It is very impressive.

best regards Stefan

Rich is one of the best of us at explaining things for beginners, thanks to the many years he’s put into doing just that. Justin’s also excellent at explaining OH concepts, despite joining the community more recently. I don’t think I’m on their level, but I can tell you that you’re conversing with three people who care very much about helping new OH users. That’s why we’re taking the time to talk through this with you.

There seems to be agreement that you have a learning style that we haven’t catered to in the docs–the information is all there, but not in the sequence that you want it to appear. That’s totally fair. The docs can’t cater to every different type of new user, which is why I offered suggestions to bring you closer to what I believe is our typical new user.

It’s fine with me if you don’t want my help. However, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that you represent all new users and we’re out-of-touch experts because we disagree with you. We’ve collectively helped many new users get started with openHAB, and those experiences inform this conversation. Also, I am in no way an expert. I even say so in my user bio.

It’s also worth noting that we know nothing about you or your background/expertise/experience. It goes both ways, and I don’t like making assumptions based on limited information. I’m usually wrong.

I hope you’ll stick around and possibly even get involved in maintaining the documentation, so that it benefits from your perspective. But I’ll understand if you find it too frustrating and walk away. I’ve certainly done the same with other things in my life.

So, if you want help getting your system up and running, let’s talk. If your only concern is the documentation, I’ll say no more.


Hi rpwong,

thank you very much for answering. Watching videos is not my preferred learning method. In lack of my preferred method I watched this video in german OpenHAB 3 | Ersteinrichtung und Grundstruktur erstellen - YouTube
and got a first impression how openHAB works.

Until I will be able to integrate a silvercrest Zigbee central-unit with walplugs and my Popp zWave central unit controlling thermastatic valves and some wallplugs I guess it will take a lot of reading and watching videos.

I have coded quite some own software with Delphi for PC, SPIN for the parallax propeller-chip, and C++ for Arduino / ESP32 and a little bit python. So I’m familiar with the concepts of programming. Though the times when I had fun learning things by a lot of try and error are defenitly over.
While coding for ESP32-microcontrollers I came across this website

which has a lot of very detailed tutorials that show step by step, screenshot for screenshot how to realise smaller projects. This website did set standards for me how things can be explained very easy to understand.
Maybe this style does not fit to how openHAB works.

Anyway. I had a different question in a different thread (how to install cloud connection) that was very specific and user Wolfgang posted a link to the manual that explained how to do it. This worked out very well.

best regards Stefan

well i would consider Openhab more to be a tool to make a smart home solution and not a smart home solution in itself.

It is very powerfull and fleksible ,but not a 2 click solution.

Spending time learning cannot be avoided and depending of how advanced you want it , time needed can be a lot.

I believe the best is start setting up system and combine reading and doing (getting experience and learning terms) ,and asking when you get stuck.

It has been stated many times start small and simple ,and build from there.

It is necessary that you learn the ins and out of Openhab , otherwise it will never be a good experience.

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I think it is both: a tool building it and if it is build using it.

I agree with this.

Sure this works. There are initial steps that have a certain pattern and regardless if somebody uses
Somfy, whatever brand wallplugs, whatever smoke-detectors, whatever brand onewire-sensors, whatever brand hifi-equipment there will be differencies in details like what kind of options, how many channels etc. etc.
But there is a underlying pattern that is the same for all of them.
And there is a sequence of steps in a certain order that is the same for most of them.

If you are trying to tell me there is no common pattern at all OpenHAB would be the most complex, irrigating non-useful software ever programmed (except maybe brainfuck)

I want to emphasise I don’t believe this. OpenHAB is a very flexible and versatile software-system.
Though learning it can be more efficient than “Try and Error - clicking, this clicking that reading here reading there” on a small system

The more efficient way is to show it on a small system with more or less typical components like some light-switches and something simple like a thermostat which have a small number of adjustable features but still enough to show the basic principles.

So here are some specific questions:

best regards Stefan