App documentation

Hey there @bravenel @mike.maxwell ,

a very simple request: Would it be possible to include former app descriptions on your document page, as long as the descriptions are still usable. The problem I have right now is, that I would like to use more functions in Rule Machine and other Apps, but I have no clue what they are doing, how to set them up properly, and the description is missing in the documentation (for example: global/hub variables, capture state etc.). If I remember right, this was documented for RM 4, but is missing now.
That would really be great and I guess would help a lot of other beginners. :slight_smile:

The Rule Machine documentation is in the process of being updated for Rule 5.1 and re-worked in general, since the current documentation was written upon the release of Rule 4.0 and assumes you know how Rule 3.0 worked (so, IMHO, it's no longer as helpful as it could be for most users). That may address some of your concerns there. I can see where some documentation of specific actions, like "Capture/Restore State" may be helpful, and I also know I've written lots of forum posts where I describe the same. :smiley: (Though that could be an entire document it itself if it describes every single action...)

It is unlikely the Rule 4.x docs will receive much attention at this point given that it is deprecated--it will continue functioning but is no longer available for new installations. Global variables are a Rule 4.x feature that was removed in favor of hub variables in Rule 5.0. Hub variables offer similar features (and more: notably, they are now available to any app that supports them, which includes an increasing number of built-in and some community apps, besides just Rule Machine).

If any app lets you use a variable, it's normally apparent from the UI. In Rule Machine specifically, there are practically unlimited possibilities for what you might want to use a variable for, and in many (most?) rules, you'll perhaps never need one; if you have a specific goal in mind and wonder if a variable might make things easier, consider asking the community for input in a post here. Something in the way of documentation will probably come for the hub variables feature in general at some point, but it's hard to address variables in any exhaustive manner in a "how to" document.

If you notice any other holes in the existing docs or can think of specific docs that may be helpful for new users, I'd suggest adding specific ideas to this thread for awareness!


Ok, I wasn't aware of that. I honestly got the feeling, that it was just lost in the work. So no judgment from my side, just unawareness. :slight_smile:

Sure, I knew that RM 4.x is deprecated. The reason I've mentioned that is mainly so that people incl. myself have at least a list, stating what things do in general, so that they have an idea what some of those functions do. :wink:

See, that's where my problem started! :sweat_smile:
I just don't have an idea, what a variable is doing, so I can't have anything in mind, where it might be helpful. :wink:

And again, I wasn't aware. All I read was "Ok, you can use a variable" and I was mainly "A what?" :joy:
But ok, got it, it will come in some way in the future. :slight_smile:

I'll do so. :slight_smile:

The older documentation is available on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine beginning June 2, 2020:

1 Like

Nope... It's an empty page...

No real sense in trying to use the Wayback Machine for Rule 4.0's basically the Rule 5.0 documentation with barely any changes to account for the version number change. :smiley: (And it's a Mediawiki platform like Wikipiedia, which should allow you to view history directly if you wanted to, though that button does appear to be hidden now in the default theme.) In any case, completely re-written docs for Rule 5.1 are in the works, so hopefully that will help!

I'm not sure RM Legacy documentation will get much attention at this point given that legacy status. But even if you want to keep using/editing rules there (totally fine!), once inside RM, global variables, hub variables, and local variables more or less all work the same in terms of how you use them. The biggest difference is just how you create them. Rule 5.x did away with global variables (a Rule Machine-only feature, ignoring connector devices you could create for them to interface with some other apps) and replaced them with hub variables (available to the same extent in Rule 5.x but now also becoming available in an increasing number of built-in--and community--apps). Local variables are more or less the same, and also still an Rule-specific feature with, as its name suggest, each rule knowing about only its own. For any type, the possible use cases don't really change. For figuring out possible uses, looking for example rules in the community--or just asking about your own rules--is probably the best idea for now. Lots of people are willing to help!

But if your own rules were easy enough to write and do what you want, you're probably not missing anything. :smiley: