What Do All The Changes Discussed at the 2019 Developer Conference Mean for NonDevelopers?

Reading about all the changes coming, or have come, and somewhat confused.

So I have a system that has a few custom Smart Apps of my own. This was to do some automations that there was no ‘rule machine’ . Webcore to me was way too complicated. I was able to learn the basics of Groovy to accomplish what I wanted.

Looked at the new system when it first started being talked about several months ago and it was just going to be too much for me to figure out. At my age things come a little harder…:smiley:

So with all the new stuff coming out. Is it more of a developers platform now? Will the casual user have to rely on someone else to put together their system? Will the rule machine be easy to do from a non-tech person?

From everything I have been reading I just don’t see any clear cut answers as to what is going to be involved.

Thanks in advance for any insights.

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Our app is meant to be a mainstream consumer friendly product. We are working on the community structure to better help people find what is for developers vs consumers. The bottom line is that you absolutely don’t need to be a developer to use SmartThings. The reason you are seeing a lot of developer stuff is we just had the Samsung Developer Conference last month and launched a bunch of new features for developers.


I kinda understood about seeing a lot of the developer stuff due to the conference. But there was so much talk about rules, etc.

Am I to understand there will be a new rule automation coming that will be easy for the novice or non-programmer to use and be robust enuf to do just about anything? Something built into the app or system.

For instance, Webcore was pretty much able to do about anything, but for a casual user it was way too complicated to set up. I speak mainly for a friend who’s system I maintain. He can barely turn on the computer. But still likes to have some automations.

An example of a complicated rule that I use. I was able to get it to work in Webcore, but never perfectly. I ended up writing my own Groovy app which was far simpler. Here’s what it did. I told Alexa to execute my bedtime routine. Alexa turned on a virtual switch. Certain lights went out. TV went off. Other lights came on, Mode was set to NIGHT, SHM was armed. Then when another certain light was turned off there was a delay before another light went off. Something unique to me obviously, but works well for my situation.

We will see how it works out I guess.

Because I rely on text to speech software these days, I physically find it very difficult to code. Even to read it. So I’ve never used WebCore. I try to stick with the official features as much as possible.

The built in rule creator in the new V3 app is miles better than the one in the classic app. It even has delay options. :sunglasses:

I feel about 90% confident (it always depends on the details) that you could accomplish what you’ve just described in the V3 app as it is today. No coding or WebCore required. (It’s possible you might need to daisy chain a virtual timer in there, but I don’t think so from what you’ve described.)

SmartThings has always supported a much higher level of rule complexity than most of its competitors in the same price range, and that’s still true today (even if custom code is required, at least it allowed you to add custom code). :trophy:

It doesn’t do some of the easy stuff as smoothly (light groups are still inexplicably complex), and they still haven’t achieved a 6 month MFOP (maintenance free operating period), but if you’re happy with the classic app and you have fewer than 20 rooms and fewer than 75 devices, I think you’re going to be at least as happy with the V3 app and probably moreso.

It’s worth looking at, anyway.


You might also find the following thread interesting. :sunglasses:

Things I like BETTER about the new app vs Classic

Maybe I can do that with the V3 app custom automation, but not convinced. I played around with it a little and wasn’t getting there. I didn’t spend a lot of time with it, but at first glance I wasn’t getting there.

Not sure I agree with that. In the old app there was really not any kind of rule system other than the lighting app. Unless you used Webcore or something similiar. Or at least I wasn’t aware of one. I also have a Hubitat system, different place than the ST system. Their built in Rule Machine to me is much more versitle.

Is the virtual switch controlling something not listed, because all of this should be fairly straightforward using the new automations


Good point: Hubitat also allows for very complex rules. :sunglasses:

I just did some playing around with the custom automation to do what I said. I guess it could be done, but it looks like it would take more than 1 rule (or whatever they are called). Which is not necessarily bad, just confusing. Here is maybe a better description of my scenario.

  1. Bedtime Switch (virtual) comes ON.
  2. Light 1 goes OFF.
  3. Light 2, 3, 4 goes ON.
  4. Wait for Light 2 to be manually switched OFF.
  5. Wait for 10 seconds.
  6. Turn off Light 3, turn off Bedtime Switch.
    And also need a timeout in case Light 3 doesn’t get turned off or for some reason ST doesn’t see it get turned off, everything needs to get reset. I say this as it has happened.

Obviously I don’t want steps 5 and 6 happening unless it is the Bedtime routine being run.

I’m not trying to be difficult or anything here, just trying to understand where everything is going so I can be prepared.

I’m sure it didn’t when you first tried it, the V3 app has been changing rapidly and the October 2019 update added several important new features.

It’s up to you, but you might give it another look now and see if it’s a better fit to your needs. :sunglasses:

Also, you can try using Smart Lighting instead of the Custom Automation. It does more with turning things on and off during specific modes.

Did some playing around with the new app custom automation. In order to do what I wanted it takes 4 automations. Or that’s the only way i could come up with. Here’s what I see.

Automation 1:
If Bedtime turns on
Then Turn on Lights 1 and 2, Turn off Lights 3 and 4

Automation 2:
If Bedtime on and Light 2 turns off
Then delay 10 seconds, turn off Light 1

But a little clitch shows up. There is no way to insure Automation 1 runs before 2 and that Light 2 is on before Automation 2 checks for off. So it takes another one.

Automation 3:
If Bedtime on and Light 2 on
Then turn on flag (which seems to have to be another virtual switch).

Then Automation 2 becomes
If Bedtime on and Flag on and LIght 2 off
Then delay 10 seconds, turn off Light 1.

Then you need Automation 4 just to make sure everything clears in case the light doesn’t get turned off for some reason:
If bedtime on
then delay 10 minutes, turn off bedtime and flag.

In Hubitat (Not necessarily promoting HE here) This is all done with one rule in sequential fashion. There are wait commands and cancel commands which all can be delayed.

Just some thoughts.

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If you find the automation builder too limiting you can always use postman to build a much more complex rule that could probably do this in one shot.


Ok, so that sounds interesting. So I would try it. But when I do the post in Postman I just get an error back. I use this URL which I just got from the example:

I generated a token. Inputed it. And get this error back.
{“requestId”:“01AC5E29-6FE7-4D89-96B6-C7B40ECE3F36”,“error”:{“code”:“NotFoundError”,“target”:null,“message”:“A resource could not be found.”,“details”:}}

I’m thinking I need my own locationId, but not sure how to get it.

Anyway, I think this is getting back to the point of not exactly for the casual user.


either via the IDE or by querying
GET https://api.smartthings.com/v1/locations

Got it.

Well, something I can play around with, but not sure I’m into that much programming.

The whole purpose of this thread for me was to get an idea for non-developers. And it pretty much got answered.

Appreciate all the responses.


If you want to wait there are several rule implementations being built now. There is a version of web core and one from @joshua_lyon


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