Scenes are the best option, really … Don’t think of it as 4 objects to maintain, but rather separation of duties.
- The Scene(s) defines the set of lights and their various brightness settings.
- The Smart Lighting “rules” define when or how to trigger a Scene.
You can use a Scene in many Smart Lighting rules. If you decide to “tweak” the brightness of one or two lights in the Scene, you don’t need to edit the Smart Lighting rules. Or you can decide to add or remove lights, etc…
Scenes are also a fundamental building block in the new SmartThings App … So you might as well start using them now.
It’s just odd that Routines are no longer a part of the new SmartThings App… But we’ll get used to that eventually.
If you are using Smart Lighting in partner with a Scene, you need “something” as the Trigger. It might be a Contact Sensor, a Motion Sensor, Schedule, etc., etc., or a Switch. The Switch could just be any real Switch (i.e., one of the lights in your Scene), and then it can be triggered manually, or by the App, or by any SmartApp that can turn a Switch on or off (like ActionTiles, or various SmartApps, or Smart Home Monitor alerts…).
But to perhaps avoid confusion and ensure that you don’t need to use a real Switch (which could be physically changed by accident and thus turn on or off your entire triggered Scene!), spawning Virtual Switches are a super convenient and flexible option. Virtual Switches can do everything a real Switch can do … except cannot be physically operated. They also don’t cost $30 to $50 each!