Official SmartApp Limitations

It’s so frustrating that the community written apps add so much functionality to the system but the official apps can be more stable and officially supported.

I used rule machine a lot and have had rules in it since. Due to not having github support in the UK still I have not gone to CoRE yet as I would have to update the app code manually every time a new version was available.

Therefore I have been trying to convert rules to officially supported apps only and it’s very hard.

For instance all I want is this; I want a light to come on with movement and go off again after BUT only when the light is not already on and only in a few modes. It’s really simple with CoRE or Rule Machine but not possible with official apps! Mainly because you can’t do things based on switches turning on. Tried with combinations of official smartapps, modes and routines and there is no way.

I’ve used smartthings for a while now and have only ever seen an illumination option added to Smart lighting as an official app improvement.

I appreciate the stability being the most important thing (although this isn’t looking great again right at this moment) it would be brilliant to know if updates like the above to the official apps are even in the near future plans? As mentioned elsewhere it’s not like all the teams are going to be focused on platform stability right now.

@slagle, @Aaron, @alex, @jody.albritton - can anyone provide information to answer the above?

1 Like

More advanced and intricate solutions will always be written by the development community. We have to focus on easy and mass appeal. Think of it this way, can your Grandma use CoRE? Probably not.

Now, I’m not going to assume that SmartThings can be used by Grandma yet either but that is what we are striving for. Other solutions that are more complex should come from the community. But, saying all that, we need to make it easier for developers to distribute these apps. This is something we are looking into right now, but it really isn’t as simple as just flipping a switch so it’s a little ways out.

1 Like

C’mon Tim, @steveburton4 's use case is as common as the lights coming on with motion and easier to implement than the lux restrictions. It’s even currently in use by some routines. How hard would it be to make the light switch restriction (on or off) available for local processing. Heck, we will take it as ‘beta’ not eligible for local processing.

Does this mean that there’s no plan to review and publish the SmartApps that have already been submitted for publication. I’ve been waiting for 4 months and I’m sure a lot of other people have been waiting for a lot longer than that.


I’m actually doing this right now

1 Like

His specific use case sure. I was talking in a broader sense.

Yep that’s exactly my point. I head up a software development department department myself and I completely understand focusing on the majority of your users first, but there are some strange limitations in the official smartapps that seem like quick wins - especially if they create a good feeling within the hardcore user groups. The lux option seems a far more uncommon use case than doing something when a switch turns on.

1 Like

I would settle for a late-night dimmer. I have to use community developed apps to have my living room lights dim every night. Rule Machine and CoRE had this as a very simple automation along the lines of [AT 9:00pm dim LIVING ROOM DIMMER to 10%]. The only options for SL are [TURN ON], [TURN OFF], [TURN ON AND SET LEVEL].

I realize there are work-arounds, but its just another basic use-case like the SHM arming delay,

1 Like

Turn ON and set level does just that! I am using SL to dim to 50% when I turn on my TV and then to 10% if there is no motion for 10 min. Two instances of Smart Lighting…

1 Like

Zwave first achieved popularity because of its management of lighting scenes. It still seems odd to me that not only does SmartThings not provide even the simplest scene management, such as the ability to group lights, it doesn’t even have a way to utilize the scenes built into official integration partners like Phillips hue and LIFX.

I can link them together permanently through smart lighting, but as soon as I want to have one light in different groups for different purposes, I have to go to virtual switches, and that’s not intuitive.

If I’m willing to limit each light to just one group, sure, I can set each light individually and run them all from the same trigger but that’s definitely not the “easier” way for grandma to do it.

So I don’t think you can use the “too hard for grandma” argument for many of these features, because competitors with larger market share offer them.



Sure, that is a fine work-around. My two exceptions that make it less effective than just a basic Piston are:
*when I don’t want the light to turn on to 100% and then dim down to 10%. (xAF drops when lights turn on if that isn’t the intention)
*when I don’t want the light to start to dim when I’m sitting still for 10 minutes (Couch creates a blind-spot to my motion sensor)

Also two rules are more complicated for grandma than setting up a Piston that says IF [time is 9:00pm] Then [SET Living Room Dimmer TO 10%].
Then I have the added concern that I actually want to control 2 light switches. I could install Dim With Me, but that’s going back to community solutions.


I don’t see why ST is focused only on easy.

Doesn’t it make sense to speak to a broad spectrum of users?

Have your smartapps categorised into user experience levels…

New user
Mid experienced
Highly experienced

Choice is magical


That’s what they planned for and have been working on first category for four years but they just cannot get the stability and reliability in place to move to the next category. Well, hopefully by 2040 we will have the expert category fully implemented.


My concern here is that if ST still can’t get their primary functions stable, what hope is there that advanced features are going to bring a good experience? :disappointed:

1 Like

Because every published SmartApp will, inevitably, lead to more contacts to and, possibly, more platform load issues.

By emphasizing publication of “easy” SmartApps, SmartThings defers the hard stuff they, objectively and correctly, need to deprioritize until the Platform is stable for the mass consumer market.

Power users are too small of a market to sustain this low-margin company.

That would all make sense to me if it worked great for non-power users, with high ease-of-use and discoverability in the mobile app. But then it would look like wink, and it doesn’t.

Just one example: why does somebody have to install smart lighting from the marketplace? A product truly aimed at mass consumers would come with that already installed and ready to set up an automation.

Just sayin’…


I agree 100%; but note which product feature IS front-and-center in the App: Smart Home Monitor.

Just happens to be the product that is the gateway to add-on monthly fees (monitoring, enhanced video, etc.). Things that make you go hmmm? No … things that are blatantly obvious: SmartThings still hasn’t established a sustainable revenue stream.

1 Like

It would be interesting to get @alex ’ s opinion on this, if he ever finds time to take a break. But I don’t think Samsung bought them for profitability but rather for the opportunity to sell more big ticket items that are ‘IoT enabled’.