I want to control several shades at once, for example one press on a Hue Dimmer Switch opens all four. I don't need individual control.
I've seen various suggestions on this, involving groups, virtual devices, etc. I'm wondering which approach is best. Or does it make sense to simply create a rule with one trigger (e.g., button pushed) and multiple actions (separate "open" for each shade)?
To get you started, if the hue dimmer or something similar is you primary method for controlling the shades, then a button controller instance that is triggered by the dimmer and opens / closes the shades is probably a good place to start.
If you can foresee situations where you may want to trigger one of the actions, e.g. open or close, based on different triggers, like sunrise / sunset, lux, dashboard control or even Google Home or Alexa, etc, then Button Controller would not be the best option. For multiple trigger options, including the Hue Dimmer, you may want to check out Room Lighting. This allows for more than just lighting and can control almost any device type I expect (it can definitely control shades).
There are other simple options like Basic Rules that may be worth a look. Rule Machine would be the final option (aside from webcore), if your requirements expand beyond these apps.
I simply use a rule to open mine... Works fine...
I originally had mine (2 blinds acting as a group) in Room Lights, but my blinds perform better if I meter the commands a wee bit, so I moved the control to Rule Machine.
These blinds are always either full open or close, so setting intermediate positions isn't a concern for us.
I created 2 virtual switches (1 for Open command, 1 for Close) and built the respective open or close sequence rule for each virtual switch -- that's where I metered the command to each blind and built in a refresh-redo-if-necessary command too.
Then I can use those 2 open/close rules anywhere else I want (Button Controller, time-based Rule Machine rules etc) simply by leveraging the "Run Actions: [original rule name]" command -- that works really slick.
The original reason I created the virtual switches was to incorporate the blinds into Google Home, but then I realized I could easily leverage the main guts of those 2 rules anywhere else too -- no need to actually recreate those rule actions in multiple places. Winning!
Beyond the simplification that can come with some of the newer Apps (to me since 2019 ), including Virtual Switches to represent and control groups of devices or to initiate rules or transitions can be a useful addition to a smart home, IMHO. A single switch on a dashboard or within a voice activated system like Google Home or Amazon / Alexa can be a natural trigger for transitioning from one state to another with some powerful options. Apps such as Room Lighting and some of it's predecessors offer devices for activating their key actions, which can be used like I have described below.
As a very different, but hopefully useful example.. I previously had a common sequence of TV channels I would want to watch for News, depending on the time in the evening, with local news aired on one channel from 6pm - 7pm, state-wide news on another channel from 7pm - 7:30pm and lighter entertainment offered on a different channel from 7:30pm. Depending on the time in the evening I triggered this RM Rule I would see a different starting point, using my Logitech Harmony Hub. This "News Time Routine" in RM could be initiated using a Virtual Switch, allowing me to include it in an RM rule when I arrived home, a dashboard tile on a tablet mounted in my Kitchen, plus a voice activated routine in Google Home with the Virtual Switch shared via the Hubitat built-in Google Home App.
My point being, Virtual Switches are great Surely that was obvious throughout my lengthy explanation... Basically, HE offers some wonderful opportunities for interaction by outside systems, whether it is by Alexa and Google Home, or via built-in Apps like Maker API (not covered above). There are many ways to make your Hubitat system part of your broader smart-ecosystem.
Thanks to everyone, this is extremely helpful!