FAQ: For those that are no good with coding? (Dashboards and Rules Engines) (SmartThings Classic)

Hi all,

I just wanted to see what people can suggest for those that are not “very good” when it comes to coding.

I’ve brought my Hub and set up the current additions (starter pack). However I am looking to start adding 3rd party items, but I am completely useless when it comes to coding.

Whats the best thing for me to do, to either get around this, or help me understand it… and I say now, understanding it is pretty much a cripton factor challenge.


The easiest is to stay with officially supported devices as they work out of the box.

If you require devices that aren’t officially supported or you need more functionality your only option is to get your hands dirty.

Honestly though, if you can follow step by step instructions (which most have) and you can copy. paste and click a few buttons. You’ll be just fine, seriously.

I had exactly the same reaction when I first got smart things, not because I can’t code, I can, but because physically it’s very difficult for these days as I am dependent on text to speech now.

The easiest thing, as Matt says, is to stick with devices on the official compatibility list.


Then do two more things:

  1. get the SmartTiles app. This will run a web browser so you can use it on the phone or tablet with Wi-Fi connection. This is a dashboard for your system, much more intuitive than the official app. You don’t set up rules with this, but it’s great for looking at the status of your devices and toggling things on and off. You can also customize the look of it if you want to. Just really nice. It’s free to try, and then you’re encouraged to donate if you find it useful. It’s very popular in the community.


  1. ) next, get one of the two third-party rules engines that work with smart things. One is for iOS only, and you get it in the regular App Store. It costs about ten bucks. The other is for Android only and also requires Tasker.

Both developers are active in the forums here and have their own topic threads where you can ask questions and make feature suggestions.


If you have android and you’re comfortable using Tasker, there is another third-party app, SharpTools (android only) which gives you a lot of different options. It’s not as graphically intuitive as smart rules, but it’s very powerful.

Once you have either of those, SmartThings is a lot easier to use. And smartthings support will be able to help you with any device issues.

I don’t know why SmartThings doesn’t include similar functionality in the official mobile app. Maybe the power of the system is still too reliant on community created device types? I had expected a full rules engine to come out with the V2 since the third-party ones have been out for a while but it didn’t happen. Someday, I hope.

One more option if you’re willing to copy and paste someone else’s code

The third-party options are very nicely polished and offer a lot of functionality and are easy to install.

If you want to stay entirely within SmartThings, or you want much more complicated multilevel rules, and you’re willing to copy and paste someone else’s code, there is a free community-created smart app that is very powerful. It’s worth considering if your issue is more that you don’t know how to code rather than that you want to stay far away from anything that looks like code.

Start by reading this overview FAQ on how custom code works in SmartThings.

Then if that sounds like something you’d be willing to try, here’s more about CoRE:


I really did see the “Stick with what works” comments. So I do have to say, yes I understand and agree it would be a lot easier. However those devices that “work” with the system, all seem to have a higher price point, that others that “are not” officially supported.

Also being in the UK, that restricts me down too, having a Hub that works with nearly next to nothing at the moment. :smile:

My apologies, I forgot you were in the UK. That means the third-party apps won’t work for you at the present time because of the OAuth problem. Unfortunate.

Have you seen the custom code FAQ? it’s not as easy as a rules engine, but it’s not too bad once you’re used to it.

Don’t forget about our getting started docs.


We have a new groovy primer that explains smartthings constraints on groovy and allowed classes etc.