CNET Article - Bad Press For SmartThings

You do. E’ry day. :slight_smile:

We all want the same thing, and want to help make it happen.


Hawkinson also said the problems are a downside of SmartThings’ openness. Some apps not approved by SmartThings have caused issues. And because people can experiment by creating a variety of apps and hooking up different devices, things don’t always work as they should.

This may be true, but such a statement sounds like an excuse and doesn’t apply to everyone.


I moved everything to Rule Machine because I found it more stable than Smart Lights.

I quit using SHM because it was a joke

YMMV maybe?

Duplicate thread. Mods, please merge.


This sentiment is exactly why bruce pulled rule machine.

This is purposeful deflection. ST is broke. Period.

Yes, 3rd party apps can be broke too… but the reality is ST is broke and it is also breaking 3rd party apps.

The deflection and lack of accountability, diminishes confidence that there will ever be resolution.

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Obviously it’s bad news because it’s a mainstream publication and will drive away new customers which is how ST makes money. I know some out here won’t like it but they need to focus a little more reliability over innovation for awhile and maybe get some postive press. I hope they make it but if they don’t the only thing I have that’s ST specific is my water leak sensor so I guess I’d just deregister the hub and shift my devices to the next system that can except them.

And another one

…not another, MSN is just a news aggregator. The story will be piked up by everyone because is coming from CNET…


It seems this part was taken out of context. It’s been explained to me that while Rule Machine and SmartTiles are not issues, there are some poorly written smartapps that are throwing 100K+ errors every 24 hours. Some are even worse, throwing over a million errors every 24 hours. I’m pretty sure we can agree that issues like this can impact the platform, similar to a DDoS.


Unfortunately even the non community apps like Smart Lighting and routines are grossly inefficient due to the absence of constrains. While I was able to limit a rule to only fire in certain conditions, with SL or Routines I cannot. I would love to be able to set an automation to only fire when contact opens and the switch is off. In Rule that would be one event. With routines and SL, you can have 100s of events. Do you think the average consumer gives a crap about how many times he/she fires the automation as long as the light comes on when contact opens? Apparently ST doesn’t think that’s a problem either…

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I’m saying that Rule Machine is not the problem and was not meant to be scapegoated. Rather, they were talking about other community apps which may be far less popular or even one-off but were thrown together so hastily that they’re bogging down the system with hundreds of thousands if not millions of false requests and errors. The SmartThings team has mentioned that they are looking at ways to lessen the impact of these faulty apps and to give developers tools to help fix some of these issues before they become a bigger issue.

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You do realize you can tag “@ alex” directly (no space), right? :blush: :wink:

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I know what you mean. But the reality is that neither one of us really knows who are they blaming…The truth is that they are only to blame themselves for it, which they rightfully acknowledged. Do they believe it?

I still stand by what I said not too long ago:


Hawkinson also said the problems are a downside of SmartThings’ openness. Some apps not approved by SmartThings have caused issues.

Does anyone know if this quote is from the Forum or was it just given verbally to the CNET reporter? We know @Alex has been very sensitive (over the past week particularly!) in taking care to not imply that one of the product’s best features (i.e., open development capability) is not used as an excuse for performance issues.

To me (as a Community Developer), this is the most concerning public quote in the article from a PR viewpoint. I don’t believe it accurately reflects the context and sentient Alex intended.

Community Developers face many challenges building on this particular Platform; but having to be concerned with performance impact on ~300,000 customers would be an impossible burden without instrumentation (monitoring) tools and dedicated developer advocacy support who can cooperatively nip any such problems (if/when they exist) in the bud. :rose:.


The SmartThings team is also talking with @bravenel and deploying fixes to its system to make sure Rule Machine and other apps that “test the limits” of its platform work properly. It didn’t provide a timeline for when the app will be available again.

So this also seems to contradict what I’ve heard and what we’ve been told. The phrase “Rule Machine […] test[s] the limits of its platform” implies that SmartThings considered Rule Machine to be one of the causes of the performance degradation.

However, I agree that this is not what it really says :confused: … This is another example of a quote with very poor context. I’m really not impressed with this journalism. (Though that’s not a new feeling for me, is it? :confounded:).


From the original forum post:

At a macro level, part of our challenge has come from the very thing that is our biggest strength: our commitment to be the most open smart home platform in the world. That very openness that has lead to so many of your innovative apps and solutions has also created challenges. It has shown us where our platform architecture needs to mature further to accommodate your innovations while also ensuring world-class reliability and performance for all customers. It has also shown us where we need to provide better developer tools in the near future which will help us to have certainty and take accountability for our platform while also enabling you to know where errors might be arising within your specific apps and contributions

And from post 12 in the same thread:

I have reached out and we want to support Bruce deeply as well as others that have contributed so much.

Also, just to state it here. The issues with Rule Machine were OUR platform and our fault, not something with that app. We will be providing some tools soon that will really help developers and users to see where the remaining issues actually are, but in advance of that, I want to apologize for any time that we haven’t closed the loop all the way through to our support or other teams on what is a SmartThings platform issue versus an issue with a specific SmartApp.

There are examples of SmartApps that have problems in the apps themselves which are causing problems for the entire user base. In those cases, we need to provide better tools for those developers as well as isolation of the infrastructure such that they don’t impact other users.

We are in the weeds on this and will get better.

So perhaps the reporter was just extrapolating from that thread.

updated to note the correction below from @SBDOBRESCU that the article did in fact mention speaking directly with Alex.


I don’t think that the quote was meant to single out any particular developer for the blame. We ultimately will be held accountable for poorly written apps. I think the quote was meant to illustrate the difficulty in keeping the platform open while handling unexpected waves of errors and usage. We need more checks and balances in place that do not impact the overall experience for developers. We want to remain open enough that developers are allowed to create solutions we never expected while being able to respond for the new and unexpected issues that come with them.


The :heart: button isn’t strong enough to express how much I believe and agree with you.

Now how the heck do you get CNET to understand this and accurately reflect it in their reporting? (Edited).

I don’t consider it a reporter’s job to “extrapolate”. Analyze, perhaps … or write an opinion piece … but this is crappy confusing (?) “reporting”.


Then SmartThings needs to be able to kill or isolate these with the click of a mouse (i.e,. nip them in the bud). And by “need” I mean have both the technical ability and the tenacity and resources to deal with the fallout and appropriate developer relations issues.

Community / Customer “Development” is a top-tier priority feature of SmartThings, and we cannot risk losing this feature and openness just because ST has been unable or unwilling to sandbox or safeguard the platform from genuinely proven* intentional or unintentional adverse impact.

*NB: I emphasize that this is a slippery slope if the instrumentation / metrics that identify misbehaving DTHs and SmartApps aren’t accurate or if a lot of speculation is involved. Believe me, we know what that type of misplaced label feels like.


What part of the article was incorrect? This is not a facetious question, I’m really curious as to what you consider to be inaccurate. The article explains exactly what I have been experiencing. I haven’t been active in the forum lately because I just got used to things failing and am patiently waiting for them to get fixed. To sit here and say the bad press is inappropriate is wrong in my opinion. It’s pretty spot on.