Developer run smartapp/device store

Sure, but that means working as a contractor, which is not possible for almost anyone who has a full-time job in the high-tech industry due to conflict of interests. Most employment agreements prohibit you from doing business with other companies without prior written authorization. It’s a sure way to get terminated. And if I wanted to do a contract job, there’re more lucrative areas than writing device handlers for SmartThings. :smile:

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Nothing about sponsoring your passion projects that would constitute a contract.

Besides. What is your plan?

Correct me if I’m wrong, if you agree to receive money in order to complete a project, that’s a contract, right?

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There’s no plan. I think you and others have made a valid point: writing SmartThings apps and devices for a living is not going to work. Yes, you could land a contract or two here and there with OEMs who want to integrate with SmartThings, but I wouldn’t give up my paycheck for that.

If Sid or someone else is willing to build a community app store, that’s fine by me. I can contribute a couple of apps to support the effort, but I don’t view SmartThings as a business opportunity. SmartThings as a platform is just too fluid and flaky. APIs change without notice and break with every platform update. Fixing these “minor” issues is never a priority and takes weeks or months. Users who payed their hard-earned $1.99 for the app are not going be as forgiving as someone who paid zilch. Supporting it just isn’t worth my time.

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Only if you choose to do that. In a coop model, you are just sponsored to do that you do on your own. Not required to deliver a good or service.

Think of it as art. Its more of a patronage or angel investing by those that can afford to sponsor the artists, err developer to do what they want.

No contracts, no commitments. Just contributions to the co-op.

Prime example for categorization at least

Yep exactly. @ben How does one get their title changed to Patron of the SmartApp? :smile:

As has been noted many times if you’re holding out on some amazing innovation because you want it to make you rich or even just provide a market rate of compensation, well by all means continue to do so but I wouldn’t hold your breath. The market just isn’t there yet. For the most part development will probably continue to be done for some combination of two core reasons 1. you want something to meet a particular need of your own or associate and 2. you have that basic human experience itch to create something of value. Its just that, unlike TV repair(wo)men, with some marginal additional effort you can share the fruits of your labor with a community. Just because you likely can’t get a “market” rate for your development skill doesn’t mean some form compensation (monetary or otherwise) is of the table though.

If your full time job prohibits monetary gain from independent efforts by all means keep it free and internet fame will be yours. You might even become the next SmartThings Hero like @625alex. If you have no such conflicts then you can choose a less formal donate only solution, supporting only as far as you wish and responding with the always appropriate “You get what you pay for” response to any dissatisfaction. Or you can formalize your relationship with the customer and setup costs for major feature functionality, on-going support, working around the latest platform change that rendered your application useless, etc…

Personally I’d stick with the donation method to avoid the headaches and because I honestly think you may get more revenue from a few bigger donations than by charging everyone $3.99 or whatever. I’m in similar boat as @smart. All things being equal I’m going to appreciate a donation app more than one that requires purchase, and I’ll generally reflect that appreciation via a higher donation than I would’ve been willing to pay via purchase… Though it’d be interesting to hear from @joshua_lyon, @obycode, @RBoy to see if their experience vastly differs from my prediction.

Bottom line marketplace needs to support both methods. I think Patrick’s method setups up some interesting ways to do that, and @jody.albritton already seems to have some framework setup. So you may be closer to something real than everyone thinks. Just have to find a way to get people on board with the understanding that it will be an agile undertaking and likely experience various directional changes as we (the market) learn.

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As mainly a consumer but also doing some code, I love this idea. It took me a while to catch up since I have been gone for a while, but I like that @Ben is very excited with this direction in the developer community.

That being said, as android and IOS came into being with their app stores. It was a gamble for all those that built the initial applications. No one knew what would be popular and what would people pay for? We are at the start of a IoT revolution which ST is just a part of currently. I agree that ST is not doing a great job with developer resources, but the community seems to be able to work past that.

So, I have some ideas that are likely not workable. But, I would like to put them out there to see what people think.

Developer site, where we pay 10 dollars a month for access, sounds good. I would also suggest that you could have users pay by month as well, getting access based on level of payment, 10 dollars, you get access and email support. 20 Dollars you get access and immediate support. Something like that, and please understand I am just pulling figures out of my head here based on pricing that people pay now.

I was also thinking that you could use a digg like system for program ideas or suggestions for what people want in ST or the ecosystem that is being supported at the time. So the developers would see what is needed or wanted and work toward that code, and offer it on the site.

As you can see I like the idea but it has to be balanced.It also has to at least break even in cost and profit. Perhaps though if not focused on any particular vendor it could potentially get some venture capital money behind this to move forward. Think that when a new device comes on the market, they need to connect to ST, you guys could offer that as a service, You certainly know the system, and have the contacts at ST to make this work.

Sorry late, and I have ADD so all over the place. Hope this is clear enough for you guys to comment on reasonably.

I’m just curious, Sid… Do you personally have specific SmartApp(s) and/or Device Type Handlers you are looking for a way to market and sell?

Concrete examples are helpful in fleshing out the concept.

Yep, I know… And it’s not all about me, I’m still fiquireing out how this makes sense. I’ve already shot my original plan down due to the needed overhead, but I’m still going through other ideas.

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Just wanted to add a few cents-

I used Vera for about 5 years. I gave up on that for a variety of reasons and so I’m new to ST (like 3 days) and already I love the platform and the community and the code bits all over. The vera coding was too complex for me to have a clue- yet the ST system and readings bits and pieces in the community i figured out already how to tweak someone else’s device to work for my needs. (i can date myself and say I learned BASIC in high school and then had FORTRAN in college. So I’m a smidge rusty- lol)

My very new guy opinions on ST- The community is great, there’s TONS of stuff. But it’s tough to find what you need. A “store” of some sort would be awesome. And I sure would like to be able to toss a few bucks to a dev for something useful.

Vera/mios is a bit older i suppose and at first it was more of a “buy me a beer” paypal link sort of thing. Then later they came up with a store as part of their ecosystem. you can check it out here for an idea https://apps.mios.com/ Sadly i guess ST is too young to have gotten there for the devs. But the vera setup made finding things easier for people to find stuff that weren’t going to search all over their forums and gave an easier way to toss the dev’s a buck here and there.

I’m not sure how you could set it up without ST involvement but i for one would be a shopper in such a store.

Honestly vera annoyed me so much in recent times so i haven’t explored the newer store all that much- but maybe it’s helpfull to have some ideas.

thanks for all the folks that posted code in this community!

Thanks for the link. Glad to see that something like this has been done elsewhere.

In the meantime, in an effort to at least help with finding un-official SmartApps, we created the unofficial SmartThings wiki - http://thingsthataresmart.wiki

It is still pretty young, so it is still growing, but as a wiki, the hope is that everyone can pitch in and add content that will help everyone out. It doesn’t help at all with creating a place to reward developers, but at least it helps with finding some of the great work that already exists.

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I saw the post about the wiki and poked around there but it’s still “young” for sure (I saw it’s only from like a month or so ago).

Sorry for my ignorance- but what’s the edicate of the wiki and links for code bits?

I was thinking that while i can’t code for spit- i could help by at least adding what i learn to the wiki. For example I’ve added the nest thermostat and i didn’t see an entry to the wiki. While i was learning I thought i could post in the wiki what i learned to help the next clueless newbie. Is that the ‘right thing’ to do or “pushy” since i had nothing to do with writing the nest stuff?

Couple other thoughts-
a system for pushing or at least notifying about updates is key. I saw yesterday someone wrote an awesome rules smartapp- but it looks like it’s early on and already the thread had talks of changes to future versions- which is way cool- but if there a way to use github to subscribe or something to be made aware of changes?

On the compensation thing- i’ve been experimenting like mad the past few days as I’m new to ST. I might try 6-8 different things before i find the device or app or combo that makes things work for me. Once i figure out what i like, i’m going to need to go back and figure out who wrote what, what thread or git hub place i found the code and then figure out how to paypal the author. Selfishly- that’s a pain- and realworld many wont bother- so maybe as a stopgap developers should add a line in the remarks at the top of the device/app- // if you like this code please considering donating via www.yourlink.com and then it’s easy to look in your ide and see what apps and devices you have look in the code quickly and donate? Or is that tacky?

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Yes, you should definitely feel free to add anything that you think might be useful to others. That’s the beauty of a wiki: everyone should be comfortable to add content. Every page on the wiki also has a discussion page associated with it, so if you post something, and someone else disagrees or has a concern about it, there is a place to discuss that outside of the page itself. Just click the “Discussion” tab on the page.

GitHub does have some notification mechanism for watched repositories ( About notifications - GitHub Docs):

Watching notifications are those in which you are actively watching a repository, but aren’t necessarily participating. You will automatically receive these notifications for:

  • Opened issues and their comments
  • Opened pull requests and their comments
  • Comments on any commits
  • Published releases

Hello first time post . I am new to Smart Things and have spent days reading these forums. I for one would be more then happy to pay much more the a dollar for an app that I needed.

@tgauchat Ideally it would work like you described, but there’s no single company on world what can keep up with user demand and the variety of existing hardware. Not even giants like Samsung and Apple, both rely on 3rd parties for having good software support for their devices (i.e. mobile apps).

Zapier has a simple and effective model to open their platform to 3rd parties. Developers can privately share their apps using a link and shared apps work like the public apps except are only visible to those who accepted the share. This way the users don’t have to fiddle with source code they can follow the same workflows like for any other app.
Not to mention that this provides an easy way to test apps before get published.

But Apple & Android, generally restrict the installation of unauthorized / uncertified applications. – Yes, there are various official and unofficial exceptions and jailbreaks, etc., but the concept of a “open-but-restricted” ecosystem is there.

That is what SmartThings is trying to establish: i.e., all SmartApps and Device Handlers must go through the submission and approval process. Will there be a Beta deployment method and other testing tools … sure, I guess … it’s complicated. But it’s SmartThings’s problem to solve. Not ours.

Maybe is not your problem, but is mine and many others’.

I should have quoted what I replied to:

“The keys are much more likely:
better out of the box usability (including “rule builder”)”

The issue here is not the authorization of apps but that SmartThings hasn’t got enough capacity to develop even for very common devices and features.
I.e. after so many years there’s still no web interface (the mobile app is not very usable first because of the small size second because has a very bad UX), no rules (not even basic ones like switch of heating if window A or window B are open), no device capability discovery and so many others. They entered UK market without IFTTT and support for widespread UK devices and it took about a month to add IFTTT support.
Other markets have other devices to support, and some are quite big (i.e. Germany). A german device manufacturer will not spend money on ST integration until ST gets widely used in Germany, but ST will not be popular in Germany if they don’t support their devices - catch 22 like someone else also mentioned. This is the gap what can only be filled with lots of money from ST (I doubt Samsung is willing to do this - they didn’t for UK) OR by 3rd parties - yes sometimes small developers.

Apple and Google do verify the apps in their app markets but they don’t develop the apps. Nothing would block ST to do some validation in their app store.

On the other hand there’s no limitation in Android to use 3rd party stores or even apks, the 3rd party sources checkbox can be unchecked in settings without any limitation, no rooting needed. Even Amazon Fire devices allow installation of apks, what enables installation of Google Play too - no rooting required.

If ST doesn’t open their system they’ll be no different than Apple where one can use a few devices what generate enough profit for Apple but nothing else. Especially in markets outside of US.

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There are a few users already with external website stores.
I’d like to see a sub-section of the forum just for the links to these (transactions don’t have to be handled or seen by ST page).
This way, everything can at least be found/referenced easily. Obviously support (whether free or paid) would have to be done outside of the forum (or via PM), but app reviews and recommendations could be done on here.

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This was the goal of http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/

Several community developers have added their apps to the Wiki and some of @JDRoberts awesome content has been transferred over.

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