What are the Best Home Automation Design Resources: books, threads, websites, blogs, guides, tutorials, etc.?

I have enjoyed several posts from members @Bamarayne and others. (e.g. Tell me about your toilet). I particularly enjoy reading about design ideas with a layered approach using modes, time of day, etc.

Like most, I started with some neat gadgets and simple automatons that became unreliable, unmanageable, and not as useful as they should be. I decided that I need to spend more time on the design of the system.

I am struggling to find resources that help describe design approaches. Please add any great resources or maybe a description of your own system design.

I am a newbie to home automation but I am a software engineer. I can quickly become comfortable in any environment. I have got the basics of webCoRE, groovy IDE, etc. What I really lack is the experience and knowledge from a design / flow perspective.

Please add any feedback about your own design experience, threads, blogs, websites, books, guides, etc.

I am interested in a little bit of everything. (automatons, energy monitoring, security, etc.)

Thanks in advance

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That’s sort of like asking what’s the best resources for plumbing. It’s just a huge world out there with a lot of stuff. And a lot of arguments about what’s best. :sunglasses:

As far as getting started with SmartThings, two resources you might find helpful:

  1. in the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, go to the bottom of the page for the project report section, and then choose the “get started” list. You’ll find a lot of good resources there, including “10 best things to do with SmartThings.” Some of the other lists may be of interest as well.


  1. also, since you have a technical background, you might be interested in the technical welcome letter:


And of course there’s always the FAQ section in this forum:


Those should be enough to get you started. :sunglasses:


BTW, you will also find that there’s a lot of argument between those who believe that IOT should serve “home automation” purposes, where the system runs everything proactively based on preset parameters and the person doesn’t even realize that different routines are being run. And those who prefer “home control” where the purpose of IOT is to remove the need to physically interact with the devices, but where the person initiates what should happen when.

It’s not that one of these is better than the other (although you’ll find people who will be happy to argue about that) – – rather it’s that old saying “your use case is not my use case.”

Someone who lives by themselves and has fairly regular habits may be thrilled with the idea of a multilayered system that does everything on its own.

Someone who lives in a housemate situation with a lot of relative strangers to come and go and extremely variable schedules may just want not to have to get up off the couch if they want to change the lights. :wink:

Both are perfectly reasonable approaches, it’s just that different things work for different people.

It’s always fun to read about what other people have done, which is why I like looking at the project reports, but if there were “one straight road to heaven” it would come pre-built into any Home automation system that you bought. Instead, one of the things that people tend to value most about smartthings is that it lets them Tailor the type of automation/Control provided to their own needs.

One perfect example is a long running discussion we had in the thread about A bathroom light control smartapp that one community member had developed for himself and then shared. As a medically fragile person, one of my concerns is that if I pass out in the bathroom, I don’t want to come to in the dark. :nauseated_face: But mine is a very different use case than most of the people who would like the light to turn off after just a few minutes of apparent vacancy.

So “my use case is not your use case.” But I think everyone learned a great deal from the discussion. :sunglasses:


The best resource -> @JDRoberts


I have read the seemingly simple “bathroom light control” thread multiple times. That thread and the “Tell me about your toilet” are really what triggered my question. They are both eye openers. When @bamarayne described the different needs for himself versus his wife and one’s preferences overriding the others, I realized I needed to put more thought into my use cases.

Not sure who introduced the WAF (Wife Approval Factor) to the forum but it is funny to read about. I have a very low score at the moment.

I am not using modes and time of day combinations yet - but obviously need to.

I appreciate everyone contributing to the thread.


If you haven’t already yet, definitely check out the “get started” list from the project report section in the community – created wiki. There’s one thread there on modes and I think two or three on routines that should give you some more ideas. :sunglasses: