WebCoRE vs Rules API

I have an unopened HE hub sitting on my desk in preparation for the day Samsung shuts down WebCoRE. Tonight I decided that purchase might have been too hasty and I should check out the Rules API that people are suggesting will replace WC. Now I’m more confused than ever.

If I’m understanding things correctly, the code that I can write using the WC IDE to turn on a light when motion is detected between certain times and that looks like this:

Will look like this in the Rule API:

I’m assuming I’m missing something and that missing link is causing my confusion. Can anyone help me understand the following:

  1. Is there an IDE available to generate the code shown in my second Rules API screenshot?
  2. Is there a document that compares and contrasts WC and the Rules API and their respective development environments?
  3. WC is a robust, powerful tool that allows tech-savvy non-programmers to create complex automatons. Will there be nothing similar available when WC goes away? Or:
  4. Am I overestimating the complexity of the Rules API?

TIA for any insight anyone can provide.

You’ve highlighted the most important question users have, I’ll follow this thread to see if @SmartThings or any staff answer. Rules API is no replacement, nobody will use it, maybe like 9 clever people at most. As things stand, we will be utterly…

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  1. Nothing has been released officially yet (I am excluding Automations from the discussion as they are a closed system at the moment). I don’t know what the score is with third party tools.
  2. I haven’t seen one.
  3. The Rules API hopefully has quite a way to go yet. A declared aim was to approach webCoRE levels of capability. Whether that is still the case isn’t clear. ST may have decided that is actually the wrong way to go for them.
  4. I wouldn’t say the Rules API was particularly complex. You are just looking at code that isn’t really designed for manual editing. We just don’t have the tools yet.

I think the whole webCoRE v Rules API thing was a bad call. It was trying to sell the idea of webCoRE pistons running locally without stopping to consider if that is actually ‘a good thing’. Just because webCoRE could do certain things doesn’t mean it should have.

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I don’t disagree at all with what you’ve pointed out, but certainly for the simple example, you could use the automations engine. It would be as simple as:

I’m aware that orangebucket doesn’t like automations, but for me they’re working fine.

Like Graham said, you can’t really compare webCoRE to the Rules API from a users perspective. You’re comparing a UI to raw code. But you’re right, the only UI currently for Rules API is automations in the mobile app. These are better than what the Classic app had, but still not complex enough. In the future, what we’ll want to compare is webCoRE to whatever this is going to be:

Yes! When I originally saw this, I put off all thoughts of attempting a Rules API front end. I’ve seen post from others hinting they may also be attempting something. The question now is… when. Because if it won’t be available until sometime later next year, it still might be worth doing something quick and dirty. Writing that raw json is nothing short of painful.

It isn’t the actual Automations I don’t like. They work well. I just want to be the person who decides if and when they are edited or deleted.

Sadly I think that is the comparison that will be made and I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t come out favourably for Rules, simply because why on earth should it?

It will particularly fall down where webCoRE is being used for device or services integration and basically being used for general app tasks beyond being a rules engine. I expect Rules to be good for implementing rules, but no more.

Yeah, there should 100% be some level setting on expectations between what WebCoRE can accomplish and what the Rules API will support (now and future). At the end of the day, SmartThings is a very different company now than when WebCoRE came out. And we could even say Groovy SmartApps were never really designed to handle all the things WebCoRE can do (presence detection, call any random API, etc). I would not expect the Rules API, and therefore any future WebCoRE-esque application, to support the more edge-case actions that WebCoRE does. But there’s also a strange middle ground where Automations support things like Notifications that aren’t documented in the Rules API, yet they don’t support ELSE statements like is documented.So it will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

It’s not going to be so interesting for the people that have 100’s and 100’s of dollars worth of equipment relying on WebCoRE to function, that will become obsolete the second they kill WebCoRE/Groovy without an adequate replacement.



Well, the equipment itself won’t become obsolete, just the method through which you address it will.

I love webCore and don’t want to see it go away, but there are other 3rd party solutions for rules. Yes, they are not as powerful as webCore, but they’re much more powerful than automations in their present form. And yes, they don’t run locally, but most things aren’t running locally now anyway.

One alternative to webcore that I keep forgetting about and you can use right now is the Samsung Automation Studio

It’s basically a Node-RED based tool for creating automations that Samsung built for integrating SmartThings and Bixby to outside services. It may be a good choice if you have webcore calling outside APIs.

First I’m learning about Automation Studio, but when I checked it out, I was turned off by the very obtuse T&C’s. Eg “It’s free now, but not forever, and we aren’t going to say how much it’s going to cost. And we’re only giving out an unspecified number of free trials. And, if you don’t use it enough, we’re going to kick you out of the free trial”.

Do I need to pay a monthly subscription to use?
A No. If you got the subscription code, Samsung Automation Studio is completely free.

How do I get the subscription code?
We will be offering a certain number of subscription codes through events or promotions. Notifications of events and promotions can be found on the Samsung Developers.

About Free Subscription

  • Get free access to the Automation Studio for one year.
  • Not using the Automation Studio for three months, particularly the SmartThings or Bixby nodes, will suspend your free trial. Afterwards, usage of the Automation Studio will only be allowed for a month.
  • For more details, refer to the “Terms of Use”.

yeah, it’s been like that since the beginning. Quite strange. I assume they still haven’t listed a price?

To be perfectly honest, the only way for webcore to stay around and retain all it’s features would be to self-host their rules engine and integrate with the SmartThings API as an endpoint app. So charging for this kind of rules engine isn’t unheard of. Ian basically explained it here:

Jimmy, I read through Ian’s thread. Initially, I moved from ST to HE for one single reason, webcore (and SHM). I have nearly depreciated my ST hub. I have a single device on it (a Schlage 469 lock because of difficult integration with HE). For me, migration to HE webcore was a no-brainer. I have not used the ST Rules API. For me, transition to HE was almost painless. So I do not see the reason for all of this fuss over webcore vs. Rules API. Am I missing something by not using the Rules API?

If you’re on hubitat, probably not. One advantage Samsung would have is attracting other big brands to integrate via Edge drivers in the future and run locally in smartthings. But I haven’t personally used hubitat, so i can’t really compare the two.

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