Routines vs Smart lighting

Automations in “Smart lighting” (lower case “l”) that depend on Sunrise and Sunset now fail. So I am forced to move these automations to Routines.

“Smart lighting” was very nice because I could see a list of all of my carefully named automations in a single page. By using a naming convention starting with the room name and followed by a sequential numeral, the actions were nicely grouped by room name and sorted by time of day. That way I could see at a glance what was going on.

The UI of Routines is just AWFUL (honestly, I don’t know if they could make it worse). There is no simple text list. All you can see is a page of white boxes with truncated names and a bunch of icons. You cannot even see the full name of the routine. I swear the UI designers do not use their products and do not convene any user sessions to see how real people use their software. See pics below.

Because of this horrendous Routine UI, I’m reluctant to move all of my “Smart lighting” to Routines, but I think I am being forced to make that change.

I now have 35 Routines and 48 automations in “Smart lighting.” I’ve initially migrated the “Smart lighting” automations that stopped working with Sunrise/Sunset.

I looked at SharpTools, but their automation still runs in the cloud, not on the hub, so there are some unacceptable delays. The UI is definitely better, though.

If there was a way to specify how many columns I want displayed in Routines, I’d be very happy. That way I could have a single column and all of my text labels would be visible.

What does the Community recommend for best practices for automation? Are there any alternatives I’m missing? (I tried Action Tiles once, but didn’t care for it)

Unfortunately at this time… the only available option is sorting in the app in regards to layout.

Have you looked at Rules API?

I had to stop using Smart lighting to go on to the beta program and when Smart lighting became available again I thought I would give it a try but I disliked it because you couldn’t search and it meant that I had fragmented routines.

If you start and get used to the search function in routines you’ll find that it will be very powerful I have over 250 routines and I think that the search function is probably one of the best tools that they added.

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If you just need to see a complete sorted list, the API Browser+ provides the complete Routine name in the list of Routines.

That would at least give you the complete inventory and could be used as a reference when using the search function in the app.


I have previously reviewed the Rules API (and just re-reviewed it) and decided I really didn’t want to do that much programming. Thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks for the reminder about the API Browser+. It’s been a while since I last looked at it or used it. That complements the ST UI.

I’ve been truncating my Routine names and substituting abbreviations (e.g., “Lts” for “Lights”) and deleting words in Routine names. The names are less descriptive now, but more readable in the poor Routines UI.