Structure of SmartHomeNG

After the base system is installed a closer look at the SmartHomeNG directory (e.g. /usr/local/smarthome/) is advised to learn something about its content:

# directories
bin            contains, the main application
deprecated     contains deprecated tools, which will be removed in an upcoming release of SmartHomeNG
dev            development files like a sample plugin
doc            the documentation of the project resides here
etc            should contain the basic configuration files (smarthome.yaml, plugin.yaml, logic.yaml)
examples       contains some example files for the configuration and the visu plugin
items          should contain one or more item configuration files.
lib            contains the core libraries of SmartHomeNG
logics         should contain the logic scripts
media          contains logos of SmartHomeNG
modules        loadable core modules. These modules extend the functionality of the core
plugins        contains the available plugins
requirements   you will find the requirements file here for the core and all plugins
scenes         scene files
tests          contains the test environment with tests and testdata
tools          contains little programs helping to maintain SmartHomeNG
var            its subdirectories contain various collected data
var/cache      contains cached item values
var/db         may contain a SQLite3 database
var/log        contains the logfiles
var/rrd        may contain a Round Robin Databases if rrd plugin is used (deprecated)

# files   changes of this project. (deprecated, should be documented in doc)
LICENSE        GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE (Version 3, 29 June 2007)      a general information       not functional right now
tox.ini        used for software testing

Important for configuration are the directories etc, items and logics. Those are the locations were configuration is stored and maintained. The following discusses how these directories are populated.

Config files in directory etc

The configuration is done by the widespread yaml format. Older versions used configobj file format which is like a well-known ini-file but with the ability to create multilevel sub-sections. It is still supported in SmartHomeNG but it is deprecated for a while and was removed from documentation.

If the backend-plugin is configured then a service can be used to convert old *.conf configuration snippets into *.yaml format.

There is furthermore a service tool located at tools/ that can be used to convert your whole configuration. Please have a look at Tools.


To calculate sunrise, sunset, azimuth and elevation of the sun for a given time the coordinates of the physical location of the SmartHomeNG installation is needed.

Create a new smarthome.yaml within etc/ or copy the given smarthome.yaml.default to smarthome.yaml and edit it to your needs. It should look like the following:

lat: 51.1633         # latitude
lon: 10.4476         # longitude
elev: 500            # elevation
tz: Europe/Berlin    # timezone, the example will be fine for most parts of central Europe
default_language: de # default language for use with the backend plugin and multi-language entries in metadata

The coordinates can be found out by using GPS of a mobile or via an adequate website (e.g.


Plugins extend the core functionality of SmartHomeNG. The plugins directory contains a subdirectory for every available plugin. The file etc/plugin.yaml holds the configuration for every plugin to be used during runtime.

For each plugin at least the plugin object name is needed and the attributes where to find the plugin and how to expect the classname to be.

The example below configures a plugin for the KNX bus to send and receive telegrams from and to eibd or knxd (both a software gateway to the KNX hardware bus). In this case the object name is knx, the place to look for the module is within subdirectory plugins/knx/ and the class of the plugin is KNX. The object name can be any valid Python name, the class name and class path need to match those of the plugin.

    plugin_name: knx
    # class_name: KNX           # old way of configuration
    # class_path: plugins.knx   # old way of configuration
    port: 6720
    # send_time; 600 # update date/time every 600 seconds, default none
    # time_ga: 1/1/1 # default none
    # date_ga: 1/1/2 # default none

There is a for every plugin that gives the necessary configuration information. To continue reading follow the plugin page.

Referencing a plugin in the configuration

Up to SmartHomeNG v1.3 a plugin had to be referenced by the parameters class_name and class_path. Now it is possible to reference it alone by specifing the parameter plugin_name, where the value would be the former class_path without the plugins. prefix. Since all plugins are located in the /plugins folder, the plugins. is redundant information.

If the plugin comes with a metadata definition (what allmost all plugins do), there is no need so specify the class_name parameter. This information is retrieved from the metadata.


Should the need arise to configure a plugin that is located outside the /plugins folder, class_path can be used.

Using an older version of a plugin

If you are not using the newest version of the SmartHomeNG core, if may be necessary to use an older version of a plugin. Some plugins come with embedded older versions. To load an older version of the plugin, you have to specify the parameter plugin_version in the configuration section of the plugin.

To find out, if a plugin comes with an older version (or versions), take a look at the plugin’s directory. if you find a subdirectory with the name starting with _pv_ the plugin comes with an older (previous) version. The rest of the folder name specifies the version number. If you find a subfolder _pv_1_3_0, it contains the v1.3.0 of the plugin. To load that version, just add plugin_version: 1.3.0 to the plugin configuration.


Logics within SmartHomeNG are just Python scripts like the core, too. These scripts will be placed in /usr/local/smarthome/logics/. To let SmartHomeNG know about when to start a script and which script to use then it is needed to configure every logic script in logic.yaml:

    crontab: init

With the example above SmartHomeNG would look in /usr/local/smarthome/logics/ for the file The logic would be started - once - when SmartHomeNG starts.


The core and also every module is able to output logging information. The logging can be configured to be rich in detail for debugging purposes or rather smart with warning or general info. There is a seperate document to explain how to configure logging. To get started, simply copy the given logging.yaml.default to logging.yaml and edit it to your needs. It should look like the following:

%YAML 1.1
version: 1
shng_version: x
disable_existing_loggers: false


        format: '%(asctime)s;%(message)s;'
        datefmt: '%Y-%m-%d;%H:%M:%S'

        format: '%(asctime)s %(levelname)-8s %(name)-17s %(message)s'
        datefmt: '%Y-%m-%d  %H:%M:%S'

        format: '%(asctime)s %(levelname)-8s %(module)-17s %(threadName)-12s %(message)s  --  (%(filename)s:%(funcName)s:%(lineno)d)'
        datefmt: '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S %Z'

        format: '%(asctime)s %(levelname)-8s %(module)-12s %(message)s'
        datefmt: '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'

#    loggerfilter:
#        (): lib.logutils.Filter
#        name: knx_busmonitor


        class: logging.handlers.TimedRotatingFileHandler
        formatter: shng_simple
        level: WARNING
        utc: false
        when: midnight
        backupCount: 7
        filename: ./var/log/smarthome-warnings.log
        encoding: utf8

        class: logging.handlers.TimedRotatingFileHandler
        formatter: shng_simple
        level: DEBUG
        utc: false
        when: midnight
        backupCount: 7
        filename: ./var/log/smarthome-details.log
        encoding: utf8

#    shng_busmonitor_file:
#        class: logging.handlers.TimedRotatingFileHandler
#        formatter: shng_busmonitor
#        level: DEBUG
#        when: midnight
#        backupCount: 7
#        encoding: utf8
#        filename: ./var/log/knx_busmonitor.log

#    develop_file:
#        class: logging.handlers.TimedRotatingFileHandler
#        formatter: shng_detail
#        level: DEBUG
#        utc: false
#        when: midnight
#        backupCount: 7
#        filename: ./var/log/smarthome-develop.log
#        encoding: utf8

        class: logging.StreamHandler
        formatter: shng_simple
        stream: ext://sys.stdout


        # WARNING LEVEL to add restart log messages to further logfiles
        handlers: [shng_details_file]
        level: WARNING

#    knx_busmonitor:
#        level: INFO
#        handlers: [shng_busmonitor_file]

    # ====================================
    # Loggers for Python modules/packages
    # ------------------------------------

#    cherrypy.error:
#        handlers: [shng_details_file]
#        level: INFO

#    jinja2:
#        handlers: [shng_details_file]
#        level: INFO

    # ================================
    # Loggers for SmartHomeNG modules
    # --------------------------------
        handlers: [shng_details_file]
        level: WARNING

    # ================================
    # Loggers for SmartHomeNG plugins
    # --------------------------------

    # If the logger is created with logging.getLogger(__name__)
    # the logger name is plugins.<plugin-shortname>

#    plugins.backend:
#        handlers: [shng_details_file]
#        level: INFO

#    plugins.cli:
#        handlers: [shng_details_file]
#        level: WARNING

#    plugins.database:
#        handlers: [shng_details_file]
#       level: INFO

    # ==================================
    # Loggers for SmartHomeNG libraries
    # ----------------------------------

#    lib.connection:
#        handlers: [develop_file]
#        level: WARNING

#    lib.item:
#        handlers: [develop_file]
#        level: WARNING

#    lib.logic:
#        handlers: [develop_file]
#        level: INFO

    # ==============================
    # Loggers for SmartHomeNG logics
    # ------------------------------

        handlers: [shng_details_file]
        level: INFO

        handlers: [shng_details_file]
        level: INFO

    level: WARNING
    handlers: [shng_warnings_file]
#    level: INFO
#    handlers: [shng_warnings_file_info, console]

See further details at logging.

Item definitions in directory items

The items represent the heart of the configuration. An item can be accessed from any logic, plugin or eval. Any number of item configuration files may be used and any number of items may be defined (depends on your memory) in one of these files.

This directory contains yaml files with the definitions of the items SmartHomeNG can use. The yaml files can be named the way you want.

To find out more details about items and scenes configuration continue reading the items page.

Logic definitions in directory logics

This directory contains logics you write, which are used by SmartHomeNG. A logic is basically a file of Python code. It has some additional conventions. When and how the logic is executed is configured in the file etc/logics.yaml.

When using the Blockly Plugin to write a logic, the logic has two files. One is the Blockly code with the extension .blockly and one file with the Python code. That file has the extension .py.

To find out more details about logics continue reading the logics page.

SmartHomeNG start options

SmartHomeNG can be executed with the following options:

usage: [-h] [-v | -d | -i | -l | -s | -q | -V | --start]
optional arguments:
  -h, --help         show this help message and exit
  -v, --verbose      DEPRECATED use logging.config (verbose (debug output)
                     logging to the logfile)
  -d, --debug        stay in the foreground with verbose output
  -i, --interactive  open an interactive shell with tab completion and with
                     verbose logging to the logfile
  -l, --logics       reload all logics
  -s, --stop         stop SmartHomeNG
  -q, --quiet        DEPRECATED use logging config (reduce logging to the
  -V, --version      show SmartHomeNG version
  --start            start SmartHomeNG and detach from console (default)

If you start SmartHomeNG without any option, then SmartHomeNG will return the PID if already running.

Please be noted that due to the changed nature of logging the -v and -q options are deprecated and will be removed in a later release.