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ozett edited this page Jan 26, 2015 · 6 revisions

How to use Drools in openHAB


Since openHAB 0.9.0, JBoss Drools support is available as a separate download (link?). This can be used as a replacement for the integrated rule engine, if a more powerful rule engine is needed for the definition of automation rules.

To install this package, simply extract it to ${openhab.home} and you are done. If you want to switch off the integrated rule engine, you have to add the parameter -DnoRules=true to the script.

Note that in contrast to the integrated rule engine, there is no IDE support in the openHAB Designer for Drools. You may want to download and install the JBoss Tooling for it.

Most of the rule code can be written in plain Java, but you should make yourself familiar with the specifics of the Drools rule syntax.


Drools Integration in openHAB

Rule files can be created in the folder ${openhab.home}/configurations/drools. They should have the file extension drl for normal Java-based rule files. The runtime distribution already comes with an example rule file.

Type System

Most of the time you will be dealing with item states in your rules. You will have to refer to the sources to see what type the states of your item are and how these can be transformed into Java primitive types.

You can find the item definitions here and the type definitions here. To get a Java float of a temperature value defined as an NumberItem, you could use the following code: ((DecimalType)$item.getState()).toBigDecimal().floatValue()

Working Memory Objects

The working memory of the Drools engine contains the following objects:

  • The Item instances for all defined items of openHAB. These have the following attributes (their type is given in brackets):

  • name (String)

  • state (State)

  • A StateEvent instance for every status update that was received on the event bus since the last rule evaluation. A StateEvent has the following attributes:

  • itemName (String)

  • item (Item)

  • timestamp (Calendar)

  • changed (boolean)

  • oldState (State)

  • newState (State)

  • A CommandEvent instance for every command that was received on the event bus since the last rule evaluation. A CommandEvent has the following attributes:

  • itemName (String)

  • item (Item)

  • timestamp (Calendar)

  • command (Command)

StateEvent and CommandEvent objects are removed after a single rule evaluation again, so that rules are not triggered multiple times on such events. The Item objects clearly stay in the working memory, but are always directly updated when their status changes.

The rule evaluation is triggered continuously with a 200ms pause between two evaluations.

Import Statements

To have all functions and types available, you should at least use the imports as they exist in the demo.drl file. Add additional import statements for any additional Java classes you might want to use (e.g. java.math.*).

Defining the When clause (LHS)

The when clause (LHS) of a rule should contain conditions based on the objects in the working memory, i.e. items and events.

Here is an example of a when clause:

$event  : StateEvent(itemName=="Rain", changed==true)
$window : Item(name=="Window", state==OpenClosedType.OPEN)

Defining the rule logic (RHS)

The rule logic can use the variables defined in the when clause and contain any kind of Java code. To work with item states, see the notes on the type system above - unfortunately, there is quite some ugly type casting involved in this. Besides normal Java operations, there are some statically imported methods available to your rule code, called "actions" in openHAB - see the next section on what features are provided through these actions.

Here is an example of a rule logic for the LHS from above:

boolean $isRaining = ((OnOffType)$event.getNewState()).equals(OnOffType.ON);
if($isRaining) {
    say("It has started raining and your window is still open!");
} else {

Actions available in the rule logic

In general, Drools can call any kind of static Java methods that are available on the classpath. openHAB comes with a set of useful actions for different use cases.

feature overview


Setup intro

Linux and OS X





User Interfaces



(link to openHAB forum)



Application Integration



A good source of inspiration and tips from users gathered over the years. Be aware that things may have changed since they were written and some examples might not work correctly.

Please update the wiki if you do come across any out of date information.

Binding configurations

Use case examples

Item definition examples

Sitemap definition examples

Collections of Rules on a single page

Single Rules


Syntax highlighting for external editors

Release Notes

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