New user experience and where to find the latest code for things

I received my HE and I thought I'd write a few thoughts down before I gain experience and can no longer remember what it felt like to be a novice. I'm a SmartThings and Homebridge user.

First, the initial onboarding was great! Easy to set up. Already I can see the advantage of a local system.

Then, I went to pair my Sylvania 2-button dimmer, after removing it from the SmartThings hub. Nothing showed up. Weird. I really had no idea what was supposed to happen. I went looking for the dimmer driver, but could not find the code for it anywhere, so gave up for a bit. Five hours later, after dinner, it did show up (I think it needed some time to forget about the SmartThings hub), and I was pleased to find that the required driver is already one of the factory installed ones.

I decided to install hubconnect so I can gradually migrate over from SmartThings. Well, I first I went to the GitHub repository listed at the top of the thread on the forum. That is out of date and no longer works. So, I found the most recent version, which is V2 RC2, and tried to follow the instructions. The problem is the driver code you need to install is over on V2 RC1, so it took a long time to find the drivers. I also found it a little tedious to have to copy and paste code into the local IDE (download, open in text editor, select all, copy, paste a dozen times or more for the hub connect). I'm now appreciating the SmartThings IDE's direct connection to GitHub.

Now that I have some devices installed, it's not obvious what I should do next. Since none of the Built In Apps are installed by default, there's no obvious way one should get started. For example, what's the right app to install to just connect a switch to a light bulb? Shouldn't that be installed by default?

Anyway, since I'm a software developer I know capturing new users' onboarding experiences is valuable, so I thought I'd write them down here.

As a specific question: what's the best procedure for finding the latest code for things? For SmartThings I am able to use forum posts, and then go to GitHub, and then look for GitHub forks and find the active/latest forks. This approach failed me for HubConnect because the author has an old version on GitHub that's referenced prominently in the forum thread, and the new version is not on GitHub,

I don't remember what, if anything is pre-installed when you first get the hub, but of the built-in apps, I would immediately install the following:

  • Button Controllers (This is what you will use to connect switches to lights)
  • Groups and Scenes
  • Hubitat Dashboard
  • Mode Manager
  • Motion Lighting Apps
  • Simple Automations
  • Any integrations you need for other platforms (Hue, Lutron, IFTTT, etc.)
  • HSM if you're using the platform for alarms.

That will get you a good set of core functionality.

The next thing I would do is install Hubitat Package Manager, which is an auto-installer and updater for user apps and drivers. Developers have to set up their apps to work with HPM, so it's not universal, but the majority of the apps that are worth using can be found in HPM. It will hugely improve your experience. (This is the answer to your "What's the best way to find the latest code" question.)

Hubconnect is amazing, but the developer constrains the distribution of the code, which makes it a little more complicated to navigate the setup. If I remember right, all the drivers are in HPM now, which does simplify things quite a bit.


The developer of HubConnect dedicates himself to two major hobbies... HubConnect and his home automation journey, and Camping. Each gets roughly 6 months of focus. Last year, he switched back in early November, and then we'll get him again til April. :slight_smile:

His intent LAST April was to release v2.0 but only got as far as a Release Candidate in Public Beta before his first camping trip took him. The intent is to remove the v1.6.4 version from Github entirely and not replace it. That should help.. but I also expect him to update the first post too. :slight_smile:

I agree that for ST owners newly migrating to Hubitat, the documentation is offset and thus confusing BUT v1.6.4 still works fine for new Hubitat to Hubitat owners. The documentation is OK for them, but I personally don't think anyone need use v1.6.4 any longer.

As @EdMcW says, the new v2.0 HubConnect drivers are on GitHub, and have been added to Hubitat Package Manager (HPM) to ease the much larger burden of installing a bunch of very small driver code.

Hubitat has an IMPORT feature for code that helps a lot. You copy paste the URL not the code.. and the hub will go get the code found at that URL. Even HubConnect v2 will work with that, BUT every ID at HubConnect.TO gets a unique URL.. thus no predefined "list" of URLs can be created for the "core code". (There is a List of URLs for HubConnect Drivers and I'm going to assume that a majority of people will want to use HPM. But if that's not You :slight_smile: then you'll find the list and a lot of videos at HubConnect.HubitatCommunity )


Thanks! Hubitat Package Manager sounds ideal.

Let's not tell our friend Mr HubConnect about the joys of winter camping :slight_smile: