Items can be defined with within a .yaml file though the deprecated .conf file format will still be accepted. If there are filenames with the same base name then the .yaml file will be read instead of the .conf file.

For any item name only the characters A-Z and a-z should be used. An underscore _ or a digit 0-9 may be used within the item name but not as a first character. Item names like 1w_Bus, 42 or _Bus should not be used as well as any Python reserved names like e.g. get or set.

Items build upon others in a hierarchical manner. An item can have children that may have children themselves as well and so on. The level of an item depends upon the indentation relative to the file. In the following code three items will be defined:

  • grandfather
  • grandfather.daddy
  • grandfather.daddy.kid

It is easy to shift the whole definition by some spaces and thus add another level. In the example below are now the following items defined:

  • adam
  • adam.grandfather
  • adam.grandfather.daddy
  • adam.grandfather.daddy.kid

Within logics and also later in SmartVISU these itemnames will be used just like shown above, e.g. adam.grandfather.daddy

It is a good idea to build a tree representing your environment:

        type: bool
        name: Livingroom main light
        type: bool
            type: num

        type: bool
        name: kitchen table light
        type: num
        type: bool

The reference for the light in the kitchen within SmartVISU or would be kitchen.light in the example above.

Item Attributes

Any item can have several attributes. In the above code there is defined the item living.light and it has the attributes type and name. The following table shows the attributes that will be understood by the core of SmartHomeNG.

However plugins may introduce many more attributes that will mostly be specific by the plugin itself.

attribute description

for storing values and/or triggering actions you have to specify this attribute. (If you do not specify this attribute the item is only useful for structuring your item tree).

Supported types:

bool boolean type (on, 1, True or off, 0, False). True or False are internally used. Use e.g. if sh.item(): ....

num any number (integer or float).

str regular string or unicode string.

list list/array of values. Useful e.g. for some KNX dpts.

dict python dictionary for generic purposes.

foo special purposes. No validation is done.

scene special keyword to support scenes

value initial value of that item.
name name which would be the str representation of the item (optional).
cache if set to On, the value of the item will be cached in a local file (in /usr/local/smarthome/var/cache/).
enforce_updates If set to On, every call of the item will trigger depending logics and item evaluations.

specify values to trigger depending logics only if the value transit the threshold.

low:high to set a value for the lower and upper threshold, e.g. 21.4:25.0 which triggers the logic if the value exceeds 25.0 or fall below 21.4. Or simply a single value.

eval if the value of the item is to be changed and this attribute presents a formula then the new value will be calculated using this formula
eval_trigger trigger to initiate the evaluation of the formula given with eval
crontab see logic.conf for possible options to set the value of an item at the specified times / cycles.
cycle see logic.conf for possible options to set the value of an item at the specified times / cycles.
autotimer sets the items value after some time delay


For using scenes a config file into the scenes directory for every scene item is necessary. The scene config file consists of lines with 3 space separated values in the format ItemValue ItemPath | LogicName Value

Column description
ItemValue: the first column contains the item value to check for the configured action.
ItemPath or LogicName: the second column contains an item path, which is set to the given value, or a LogicName, which is triggered
Value: in case an ItemPath was specified the item will be set to the given value, in case a LogicName was specified the logic will be run (specify ‘run’ as value) or stop (specify ‘stop’ as value).
    type: scene

    type: num


This attribute is useful for small evaluations and corrections. The input value is accessible with value.

    type: num
    eval: value * 2 - 1    # if you call sh.level(3) sh.level will be evaluated and set to 5

Trigger the evaluation of an item with eval_trigger:


        type: num

        type: num

        type: num

        # 'eval_trigger: every change of temp or hum would trigger the evaluation of dew.'
          - room.temp
          - room.hum

Eval keywords to use with the eval_trigger:

sum compute the sum of all specified eval_trigger items.
avg compute the average of all specified eval_trigger items.
and set the item to True if all of the specified eval_trigger items are True.
or set the item to True if one of the specified eval_trigger items is True.

        type: num

        type: bool


        type: num

        type: bool


        type: num
        name: average temperature
        eval: avg
          - living.temp
          - kitchen.temp

        type: bool
        name: movement in on the rooms
        eval: or
          - living.presence
          - kitchen.presence

Item functions

Every item provides the following methods:

function description
id() Returns the item id (path).
return_parent() Returns the parent item.
return_children() Returns the children of an item.
autotimer(time, value) Set a timer to run at every item change. Specify the time (in seconds), or use m to specify minutes.
timer(time, value) Same as autotimer(), except that it runs only once.
age() Returns the age of the current item value as seconds.
prev_age() Returns the previous age of the item value as seconds.
last_change() Returns a datetime object with the time of the last change.
prev_change() Returns a datetime object with the time of the next to last change.
prev_value() Returns the value of the next to last change.
last_update() Returns a datetime object with the time of the last update.
changed_by() Returns the caller of the latest update.
fade(tovalue,step,timedelta) Fades the item to a specified value with the defined stepping (int or float) and timedelta (int or float in seconds).

Example logic with uses of above functions

# getting the parent of item

# get all children for item and log them
for child in sh.item.return_children():
   logger.debug( ... )

# set the item after 10 minutes to 42
sh.item.autotimer('10m', 42)``

# disable autotimer for item

# will in- or decrement the living room light to 100 by a stepping of ``1`` and a timedelta of ``2.5`` seconds., 1, 2.5)``