Review: SmartRules App Promises Easier Logic Programming for SmartThings
If you consider the SmartThings app (and all the other SmartApps within) confusing then this may be just what you’ve been looking for.
This weekends latest release (v1.4) includes first time support for UK SmartThings users too.
When you launch the app for the first time you connect it to your hub through the SmartThings Cloud.
Then you choose which devices you want to be controlled by SmartRules. It would be nice to have a ‘select all’ option here rather than have to tick each individual device, but the developers tell us Samsung do not allow this option.
If you subsequently add a new device to your system you have two options to included it. First, you can logout and go through the setup process again to add it (your existing Rules are all safely retained). Alternatively you can access the SmartRules SmartApp from the official SmartThings app on your device and add it there.
SmartRules takes advantage of officially supported SmartTings APIs and we asked the developers to comment on the security aspects of the app…
SmartRules presents the authorization flow from SmartThings over HTTPS, where the user enters their username and password. This username and password are never seen or collected by SmartRules. During the authorization process, the user selects which devices SmartRules is allowed to access; devices not selected during this process are inaccessible by SmartRules. When the authorization process completes, SmartThings provides SmartRules a secure token to use for further communication which is saved securely in the iOS keychain. At anytime (for example, if a device with SmartRules installed is lost or stolen) a user can simply delete the SmartRules SmartApp and it will no longer have access to anything.
Once setup is completed you can get straight into building your ‘Rules’ which is an incredibly simple process carried out with a few taps on your smartphone. Each rule consists of three parts.
Triggers – Choose how you want to launch your rule from a huge variety of options. The If can be a basic time event, motion detection, energy usage, luminance or nearly any state of or value from the devices on your SmartThings network.
Conditions – This part is optional but it’s where the power lies, only performing the action While certain conditions are true. You can for example turn a light on While it’s dark. If you decide to use multiple conditions (eg Motion Detected, Door is Open) you can select whether All or Any of these circumstances are required to be met before the action fires.
Actions – The resultant Then output of your rule. Options include running routines, speaking text, sending push notifications, locking / unlocking, turning on / off (plus the useful ‘toggle’ command) dim / brighten, take a picture etc.
It’s worth noting that the ‘after sunset’ and ‘before sunrise’ conditions both basically mean ‘dark’ and there’s no need for the 2 conditions (after sunset, before sunrise) in your logic. There’s currently no way to add a plus or minus value to sunrise or sunset values (eg Turn outside lights on 30 mins before sunset), but this is on the developers to do list. Check out the current list of Triggers, Conditions and Actions at the bottom of this page. You assign each rule an icon and there’s one of the best choices of graphics I’ve seen here (almost 250) to represent tasks.
It’s not immediately obvious what the ‘QuickTap’ trigger is, but it’s a widget that adds a useful way of triggering your Rules from buttons on your Today Screen (the pull-down-from-the top quick access panel on your iPhone).
In addition SmartRules supports the Apple Watch giving you a way to trigger those same Rules that are on your Today Screen from your wrist.
As well as their commitment to adding new Triggers, Conditions, Actions in the future, obycode tell us there are many UI improvements planned for the major v2.0 update that’s in the works.
There are plenty of other logic builders and rule machines available for SmartThings, but it you want an easy life we can heartily recommend SmartRules.
If This Happens
- QuickTap (Today Screen and Apple Watch)
- Mode is activated/deactivated
- Acceleration sensor starts/stops moving
- Alarm siren/strobe/both turn on/off
- Beacon arrives/leaves
- Button is held/pressed
- Contact sensor is opened/closed
- CO is detected/cleared/tested
- Dimmer level goes above/below/equal to value
- Door is opening / opened / closing / closed / unknown
- Energy goes above/below/equal to value
- Humidity goes above/below/equal to value
- Illuminance goes above/below/equal to value
- Lock is locked/unlocked
- Motion sensor detects motion / motion ends
- Music player starts playing / stops pauses / mutes / unmutes
- Power goes above/below/equal to value
- Switch turns on/off
- Temperature goes above/below/equal to value
- Water sensor becomes wet/dry
- Valve is opened/closed
While This is True
- Time is before/after value
- Time is before/after sunrise/sunset
- Day of the week is
- Mode is active/inactive
- Acceleration sensor is/is not accelerating
- Alarm siren/strobe/both are on/off
- Beacon is/is not present
- Button is held/pressed
- Contact sensor is open/closed
- CO sensor is detecting/clear/testing
- Dimmer level is above/below/equal to value
- Door is opening / open / closing / closed / unknown
- Energy is above/below/equal to value
- Humidity is above/below/equal to value
- Illuminance is above/below/equal to value
- Lock is locked/unlocked
- Motion sensor is/is not detecting motion
- Music player is playing / paused / muted / not muted
- Power is above/below/equal to value
- Switch is on/off
- Temperature is above/below/equal to value
- Water sensor is wet/dry
- Valve is open/closed
Then Do This
- Run Routine or Hello, Home phrase
- Activate mode
- Notify via SMS/push notification
- Turn a switch on / off or toggle it
- Set dimmer level
- Turn alarm siren/strobe/both on/off
- Take a picture with a camera
- Open/close a door
- Lock/unlock a lock
- Push a momentary switch
- Play/pause/stop/mute/unmute/next/previous/volume control/play url on a music player
- Speak text with a speech synthesizer
- Beep a tone device
- Open/close a valve