Rules 4.0 UI could be a lot better


I am new to Hubitat and therefore to the UI that is Rules 4.0.
I thought I would provide some feedback and thoughts about the UI and some suggestions to make it much easier to work with.

As I use it more, I will likely come back here to add more thoughts.

My first set of thoughts is that I really dislike the drop down menus to edit and delete things. Why not have buttons with icons?

For instance, I am currently defining a rule and I am looking at Select Actions for ...
For somebody new, this page is completely confusing. I see 5 different drop down menus where only 1 drop down menu is necessary.

if I was going to design the UI, I would have the list of actions clearly labeled with numbers in the first column of the table.
I would then get rid of these 4 drop down menus and replace them with buttons in columns to the right of the actions in the table.

  • Insert Action Before
  • Edit Action
  • Delete Action
  • Cut Action

I would suggest a table of actions with 4 columns of buttons. In the buttons I would use icons to represent the actions: ^+ for insert above, pencil for edit, trash can for delete and the standard cut icon for cut action.

This would make the UI so much more intuitive and easy to use.

If you were able to get drag and drop working with whatever UI toolkit you are using, then I would add a drag handle in the first column to allow rule reordering. I think investment in drag and drop will be well worth it when it comes to the page where you can start doing If statements. That page just confused the heck out of me to the point where I got incredibly frustrated trying to figure out how to add a statement inside an if and how to add an else branch. (And I have been a developer since the early 80s.)

Anway, when I have to build a rule with if statements, I will pay more attention to that page and come back with some more concrete suggestions for it. But for now, I would love to see those drop downs go away and be replaced with buttons.


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Not even the most ardent Hubitat fan thinks the Rules Machine UI is good. It is what it is due to legacy constraints with the framework used. Remember, this isn't a thick client application. Even its author says that doing anything complex in RM is "tedious".

For more context, see Search results for 'rules machine ui' - Hubitat

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I completely understand this isn't a thick client. I am a web developer, who is building web based UIs all day. It doesn't have to be like this.

In fact in the toolkits I have used it is generally harder to build a drop down than it is to throw buttons in the rows of a table.

I will go look at the other threads.

If you want to see what a really good programming UI in a browser looks like (aimed at people who aren't really programmers), take a look at blockly. I am not suggesting that the guys at Hubitat include blockly (although it is apache licensed and available on github)

But blockly shows you what you can do in a browser. These days what you can do in a browser is just about as powerful as what you can do in a thick client.

This has been suggested and discussed dozens if not hundreds of times. I don't think it is going to be changed any time soon, look at HAL9000's link.

There are community based Rule Machine alternatives, Webcore works for some users, and Event Engine is another that many like and is easier to use. EDIT: Node Red is another off-hub alternative.

In addition, I would say that many people "misuse" Rule Machine and do things that could be done in a much simpler way. They should be using the built-in Motion Lighting or Simple Automations app as well as a wide variety of terrific community based apps that fill very specific automation needs.

In any case, I do think staff listens to these suggestions, but for many reasons are "stuck" with this framework for now. That might change at any time, who knows. There is always new and exciting stuff being introduced.

Thanks @neonturbo. I did read through a number of the threads that were mentioned above.

I need to figure out how to find the community supplied apps and start looking through them.
It's not that I think RM itself is bad, just that there are some very odd UI choices (like the drop downs instead of buttons) that if they were changed would make it so much easier to use.

Also, from one of the other threads, if there was a good bread crumb that gave you a clear reminder of where you were, it would be a much better UI with (what seems like) very minimal change.

Anyway, I will try to find out where the community stuff is located. I am sure it will be pretty easy to find.

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