Install app 4 times or modify app?

I’ve been modifying some of the example apps to include 4 optional phone numbers instead of 1. I realize that I could just install the same app 4 times to accomplish the same thing.

What is better for the backend? 4 installations or a modified app?


I’d say a modified app, but I’m can’t say for certain.

My reasoning goes like this:

Situation one: I have one app using processing power watching for a specific condition. Then, when condition is met it sends out 4 text messages.

Situation two: I have four apps, each using the same processing power the one app above did, watching for a specific condition. Then, when the condition is met, each sends out one text message.

After the condition is met it’s very similar… but prior to the condition four different programs are running all watching for the same condition.

There needs to be a Feature / Enhancement Request:


SmartApps should be able to specify that the user can input a variable number of values for a text (0 to many, or 1 to many).

This is already supported by device, capability, and enum lists, just not (yet) for text, date, number input fields.

(i.e., a + and - switch to add more entries). The underlying Java would return a List instead of a single parameter value.


So to first answer @av8rdude’s question - basically it’s a little bit nicer to the platform to modify the app and send 4 messages vs. installing the app 4 times. But not so much that it actually make any real difference in the end - SmartApp execution is fairly lightweight. So it’s really up to you - if you prefer to manage one SmartApp, modify it. If you don’t want to do the work to modify each app, install it 4 times.

That said, as we mentioned in Office Hours yesterday, there’s work underway to refactor the notification system so that you’ll be able to select which devices to send push notifications to, and the ability to set up multiple mobile phone numbers for each SmartApp.

To @tgauchat’s point - there’s also work underway that will allow for multi-page and dynamically generated SmartApp preferences. So using this problem as an example of how that’d work (even though the problem itself will go away with the new notifications system) you’d be able to ask how many mobile phones you want to send a text to, then get a dynamically generated set of fields based on the number.


@dlieberman Wow…dynamic smartapps will be amazing. This platform will be completely Dummy-proof :slight_smile: I listen to most of the TWIT network podcasts and TNT (Tech News Today ) mentioned SmartThings. But I was disappointed in their discussion. They missed the whole point of your app platform and how it’s bringing automation to the non-techie.