I absolutely love SmartThings and especially WebCore which is a dream for home automation but it seems in the last year or two support from the community for devices has all but died.
There are mountains of cheap wifi devices on Amazon none of which anyone has built DTH integration for, or any way to link to these things outside of using IFFTTT.
On the other hand if you look at Homebridge there are integrations for all sorts that don’t exist in SmartThings - I have 4 or 5 devices working in Homekit now that have no SmartThings integration. I have to use a ton of virtual switches (and ironically homebridge itself to link SmartThings together with Homekit) to get any kind of Webcore control over these, and then i’m actually running Homekit automations at the same time to get them to work.
Have lots of people moved over to open source alternatives like HAB and Home-Assistant? It does seem like they also have a lot more custom integration written and there’s a way to use almost anything with them. I guess there is a bigger userbase for what is a few and open platform and in terms of Homekit, available to everyone with an iOS device.
I wish I was one of the clever minds that could write device handlers and i’d help out but it seems now any device I see on Amazon and two years ago i’d have definitely been able to include with no problem (Sonoff switches when they first came along even had their own ST firmware written for them) are just not to be found on here (eWelink integrations for instance, Neeo, Webos, Tahoma, all the cheap wifi sockets on Amazon.)
I sympathize with you. I got tired of virtual switches and applets on IFTTT that were unreliable, not to mention 5-6 different apps on my smartphone for controlling those devices.
To that end I flashed my devices with Tasmota and just finished writing a comprehensive device handler for RGBW bulbs for Smartthings classic. This is what it looks like:
If you can get your RGBW bulb flashed with Tasmota you can have a pretty decent integration with SmartThings. You can find more info here.
I plan on doing a couple of others in the future, a basic switch and a switch with power monitoring.
You’re comparing apples and oranges. Or more accurately, you’re comparing standardized home automation protocols (Z wave, zigbee, HomeKit) with communication protocols that have no standardized home automation commands at all (WiFi and Bluetooth).
In a standardized protocol, there’s a predefined message that gets sent to turn a switch on, or set a dimmer to level 50%, or collect a sensor alert.
Because both the content and the format of the message are defined by the protocol, any manufacturer or developer can write a program to send that message, and the receiving device, providing it follows the standardized protocol, will know what to do with the message and act accordingly.
Without this kind of standard, each manufacturer is free to set up their own message format for their own device. So one light switch might expect the message “1“ to turn on while another light switch might expect the message “on“ and a third light switch might expect the message “tangerine armadillo.“
There’s no way to know what message the switch expects unless the manufacturer publishes that information. This is typically called a “open API.” Some manufacturers have one, such as Philips Hue. Most do not.
There are lots of reasons why a manufacturer might choose not to have an open API. Security is one reason. But to be honest, it’s more commonly because the manufacturer just doesn’t want to deal with customer support requests from people trying to write their own interfaces. Or using an interface that somebody else wrote.
So… Cheap Wi-Fi devices don’t usually have an open API or an Ifttt channel or a HomeKit integration or a smartthings integration. And there isn’t anything that a smartthings developer can do to interface with a device that is not using one of the standardized home automation protocols that isn’t probably a whole lot more trouble than it’s worth if it’s even possible to begin with. It’s easier to just move on to a device which has more interface options.
FAQ: WIFI Devices in ST? How can I integrate a WiFi or Bluetooth device that isn’t on the official compatibility list?
In the past year or so, I’ve become more dependent on HomeBridge than Smartthings as the developer community for HomeBridge seems to be more active and reliable. I wish Homekit had a flexible rules engine like WebCore though.
I still use WebCore, Lock Manager, Echo Speaks, Harmony (so I can use the physical buttons on my remotes to turn on and off lights) and a couple of other apps, but I have stopped trying to get EVERYTHING into the Smartthings world for the sake of trying to have a single place as it just wasn’t reliable. Examples of this include Nest integration which broke several times and Rheem EchoNet for my water boiler. Other integrations I just found out I really don’t need in Smartthings and just cluttered up my environment such as Rachio which is more of a set and forget it for me. I am using Smartthings basically for management of my zWave and Zigbee devices.
I recently rebuilt my Smartthings environment with the v3 hub and it was a chance to clean up a lot of the stuff that wasn’t providing a lot of value. I tried out HomeAssistant, but found it to be more complex than Smarthings. I also didn’t feel like going into the Hubitat world as I didn’t have the energy to learn new interface, app, etc.
Unfortunately, it’s been almost 5 years since Smartthings was released, and the home automation market continues to be fragmented with a wide variety of protocols and products. As @JDRoberts mentioned, the lack of standardization is really why we are all in this place.
That wasn’t really my point. It was that Homebridge and Home Assistant etc have active developers making things that integrate with APIs that don’t exist in SmartThings.
Where as 2 years ago it would have been the other way around - it just feels like the active dev community has dried up a bit, maybe because of changing to V3 which I think has been a total cluster F, the rise of open source free alternatives and Homekit being in more peoples hands - but it’s just a shame with Webcore being so strong.