Organizing and Integrating ST/WC With a Google House


1) Give a description of the problem
Best initial configuration of ST Classic, ST Connect, and webCoRE when creating smart homes for 2 somewhat technophobic households.

2) What is the expected behaviour?
You tell me :slight_smile:

Seriously though, I’m a newbie to ST and WC, but have about a year’s worth of experience on IoT, Google Home / Google Assistant, tons of experience with Android & Google, some programming knowledge in PHP, less in JS and SQL, and I can see that the UI in WC at least makes creating the code easy.

3) What is happening/not happening?
After initially getting started in the ST Connect app (grrrr…wish I didn’t do that first), then learning Classic, and now starting WC 2 days ago, I’m starting to create a disorganized mess after only 3 or 4 pistons. There has to be a (1000) better way(s) to incorporate ST into 2 existing Google Home houses.

My families are mostly older and not tech savvy. They just started getting to know GA voice commands. They’re leaving automations and further expansion of sensors, etc to me. I started adding automations and scenes to ST Connect before needing more flex, hence the decision to enter the WC world.

Aside from requiring some organization, I also quickly realized that anything I do in WC will not show up (I think?) in the apps, so anything they try to do in either app will inevitably cause both to step all over each other.

Is there a community standard for structuring this? I’ve read things like “Use Action Tiles” or “Create all your scenes in WC”, but have no idea where to begin. I migrated most Google Assistant routines with compatible devices over to ST Connect so far, and have about 20 automations. I also imported 1 piston for location mode changes, and created 1 piston on my own to automate lighting in one room, but the 2nd has already become a small spaghetti factory when I tried to use variables for more specific situations. There are also 2 other test pistons which are paused, one for speaking notifications through my Android phone with Tasker, and another to test some random events.

I realize this is kind of vague, and may not be the appropriate “beginner’s” forum for such a request. Mods, please move this to another forum if necessary.

Any help is appreciated, even by PM. Thanks.


I started with ST APP and hated it. If some one is after very simple automations and happy to click on stuff on their phone 24/7 then YES, ST app will do the job alone.

I finally moved everything to webcore. Around 300 devices, over 100 active pistons and some pro help, now my house is almost like AI. And all that heavy load, I have only a single ST App automation (Because the DTH for motorized blinds was keep failing)

I would say, - Since you have coding experience - design your house on paper first and start creating that design in webcore. Let WC do the job for you:))))


Thanks for the advice Ike. Congrats on almost achieving a singularity. And all the WC work, of course.

Speaking of planning ahead, how do you integrate the people??

I know it’s easy to get caught up in the devices & code, and forget there are also people walking around the house and testing your work. Is it common around here for posters to run their smart homes alone, with little to no intervening from roommates or family members?

One of my original concerns with doing all the scenes and automations as pistons was constantly being depended on by 2 households for tweaks, schedule changes, managing automations & creating new ones, expanding to add more devices, etc.

Not to derail my own thread with one topic, but it does feel like they’ll never be able to get rid of me if I make 100 pistons invisible to the ST app(s).

Am I missing a simple solution or overthinking things in some way?


Apologies for butting in…

Normally, I try to “train” the family members to leave the switches in the “on” position (so the smart devices have power), but when there are lots of guests going thru a house, I often recommend installing Smart switches in the wall in high traffic areas. This lets unfamiliar people turn on/off, without even realizing that it is smart.

Of course, with Smart switches, I usually recommend dumb bulbs… So this method does have the penalty of not having colored bulbs as an option, but dimming and automatic on/off is easily programmed…

If you trust those in your house, a good alternative plan is to dedicate a tablet (wall mounted or not) that displays a custom layout to the lights and devices that you want family members or guests to have access to. ActionTiles is great for this!

A cheap tablet plus this app runs about $100, but it can act like a dedicated “Command Center”…

WebCoRE still handles all of the logic, but overrides are just a single button click away.

(Alexa can also be used to verbally override)


Oh man, we have a little secret club around here “Abused husbands by wifes because of ST home” club.

Well every house and living style is different but I’m assuming IF my wife & I and 3 cats managed really nice automation, it’s doable for most houses AND we both work from home AND we don’t have any regular life style routines.

As i said it wasn’t easy and I even had some pro help along the way. (If we didn’t have cats walking around 24/7 it would have been lot easier.)

Let me give you an example for different people and schedules.

  • I wake up around 5.00am almost everyday and my wife around 6.30am
  • Each room has tons of global variables.
  • The house changes a PHASE around 4 in the morning. Now waiting to see who is up first, because she wants different lights etc in the morning, I want different lights etc.
  • If I wake up first, (Sensors can pick that up) the whole house starts acting differently because global variable changes to IKE is UP FIRST (just as a example)
  • If ike’s global variable turns TRUE that hallway is lit now because my thing is go the my office and get some coffee.
  • If my wife is up first, then her assigned global variable changes to TRUE that means we need bathroom lights.

Using PHASES (it’s like MODES in ST app but way more complex) saved my st home and my life LOL


How true…

All the best programming is unique to that household


Oh there he is:)))
@Wcmore is the pro who helped me a lot…

One other thing was my wife hated automation first. She still wanted to use actual switches on the walls. Even I made that possible (Zwave smart switches) she can use the automation or wall switch. What ever she does, the house will run smoothly.

But i forgot to mention, in order to do what I did in a very complicated house situation, I had use smart switches, motion sensor, vibration sensors, open close sensors, alexa, action tiles, wall ipads etc… You name it I have it but finally it happened (Hence a little over 300 devices:))))


Nah, plenty of useful info here, and I’ll probably need a bunch of help anyway. I don’t mind an “answer me anything” newbie thread if you don’t.

It feels like I took on too much at once and ended up overwhelmed though. And this is only like 35 devices with 3 or 4 sensors and limited automation so far. I can’t imagine how deep this rabbit hole goes.

I’m especially stumped with motion (the standard problem of getting a single detector to stay on in an occupied room without smart switches), scenes (whether to remake them all in WC, to run automations for each one - ugh, or why they sometimes don’t change brightness with Lifx) like I mentioned briefly in the OP, and started losing the logic after defining just a few variables in pistons with so much app & IDE nonsense still in my head. Pathetic, I know.

On top of that, we’re integrating into an existing Google Home system that they’re still getting used to. I doubt they’ll be willing to spring for a $100 dashboard after just filling rooms with speakers, and thinking the Google “Hub” was the main automation machine all this time. It’s definitely going to take lots of time and explaining, all because I had the brilliant idea of trying to incorporate sensors for true automation, and found out Google can’t do it but ST can.

So now only 5 days later, I’m stuck here, pot committed and chasing my losses with webCoRE.


Is that a lot more complicated than this?:

Setting Modes Based On Time Of Day And Presence

I added that piston a few days ago and it seems to be doing the job correctly. It hasn’t armed & disarmed SHM based on presence out of the box, and I still haven’t done any manual arming either yet. ST has only been in my vocabulary for 6 or 7 days.

But the reason I asked is because breaking down into more sub-modes, or “phases” as you say, might help with the planning you suggested earlier. There is one major hurdle though: old(er) technophobes resisting and having a say in the matter.

If it were entirely up to me, I’d go all out automation. But budgeting and fear of things like loss of independence and humans becoming weak & lazy plagues some of the family members. I’m sure almost everyone here can relate to something similar.

Given that + me having some free time = working on building up the back end I guess. I was thinking along the lines of making some templates from my living area (with the most toys to practice on) that can be adjusted slightly for various expansions in other areas.

The current layout of this house (there’s another location too with other family) is pretty funny. My area is only 2.5 rooms but jammed with devices. Their area is 8 or 9 rooms + some outside areas, and sparsely populated with like 1-2 devices in each room lol. That’s the nightmarish part.


Well you can still please both parties BUT it will cost more money, time, effort.
As I mentioned earlier my wife still wanted have the OPTION to use automation AND wall switches.
Here is what I did for the house. (Some pros don’t like this but I had to do it)

Rooms use the fallowing

  • Smart bulbs
  • Smart wall switches
  • open close sensors
  • Motion sensors

Let’s say she walks into the bathroom,…
Lights turn ON
But she chooses to turn OFF the lights with wall switch.
That means my smart bulbs are going to be disconnected until someone turns ON the switches…
WC takes care of that…

IF wall switch is turned OFF
Wait 30 seconds (Until she leaves the room)
Turn on wall switch (now the lights are back ON, but we want them OFF)
Wait 10 seconds
Turn OFF light bulb 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (All bathroom lights)

back to normal…

She used St home to enter, used the wall switch, but as soon as she left the room is reset back to smart home.


Yes, I kind of tried doing that by the “pro” method of a ST button (no wall switches yet, mainly because the homeowners like the simplicity of bulbs and “don’t want to do electrical work after retiring” or whatever). The method I saw was using an override variable like setting the light to 51% with a switch or button instead of 50%. That’s when I paused that piston and put it in the pile of later on stuff.

The last 2 are what led to SmartThings and then here a few days after that. Google Home didn’t do the sensors thing, and one of the 2 houses was asking me to integrate some motion. I told them not to waste money on unconnected devices (like EVER again), and that I would look into it.

As far as lighting and plugs go, I already have about 1 year’s experience with those. Automation and local processing is a whole new (enticing & addictive) ballgame.



What was the verdict on getting WC work to appear in the ST apps? I don’t believe anyone is interested in using a tablet or Action Tiles for a while, especially after getting used to Google Home and having a Nest Hub as a pseudo “brain” and pseudo “automation”

If the users prefer to use the ST Connect app because they like the pretty wallpapers and tiles, how can everything be structured so that they can create basic automations and scenes in addition to whatever I do on the inside? Can pistons be made to display in the apps as scenes or routines/automations?


Anyone who read this probably said “WTF is he talking about?”

I had a eureka moment yesterday with virtual switches and dimmers, and no longer see the need for this method I read about the other day. It seems redundant for a simple motion lighting override, and makes writing pistons for it a lot easier.

This kind of circles back to the original question I had though…

If WC stuff doesn’t show up in the apps, how do you guys organize everything without making a mess? I just discovered the usefulness of Smart Lighting, and it makes a FOURTH place to have a ton of snippets (routines/automations, scenes, Smart Lighting, WC). And I’m sure there are more SmartApps similar to it.

So, is there a community naming standard, or way to organize everything? I see categories in WC, and have been using modifiers like [-], [+], {PM}, when naming routines/automations and scenes so they are easy to find when sorted alphabetically.

It will take me year(s) to do everything in WC, so I’m still forced to use the apps for things. What’s the best way around this?

(NOTE: Apologies for the long-winded posts in what’s supposed to be a piston forum.

I’ll look back at this thread in a few weeks and laugh at how I was as dumb as an appliance without a connected plug, and also look back in 2021 wondering why I wasted so much time on something that comes fully customizable by laypeople out of the box nowadays, or learns through AI interactions with occupants.

But I really do appreciate the help. It’s been great. Thank you to everyone who bothered to read & reply so far.)


Any switch/light/outlet that webCoRE turns on or off, will be visible in all other apps connected to that device.

I always recommend keeping 99% of all programming logic here in webCoRE. If done correctly, it is very rare to need help from an outside app.

If you are trying to get away from being their tech support, the best plan is to teach what you are doing in webCoRE so they can take over.

By the way, ActionTiles can be very “pretty”, and can be run on any device with a web browser… but again, it is for toggles and current status of devices… Not for programming. (but I still think it is worth a $30 investment for quick and easy action)

Alphabetical… Categorized by rooms or “themes”… Behind-the-scene pistons grouped at the bottom, out of the way… Current pistons being worked on in the top Category until perfected… Then relocated to the right section.


This helps a lot, thanks. Seems like it would still get fairly crazy after a while regardless. At this early stage, I have no idea what belongs grouped together yet.

Ok. So the updates would be visible immediately, and they’ll learn the automation patterns after a little explaining and a lot of life happening. Got it.

I guess that means pistons need to update the state of devices. Not sure if that’s supposed to happen automatically, since I haven’t gotten that far into learning WC yet. The only thing I’ve noticed so far is that the Lifx lights don’t seem to update state half the time. A little research on how to run them locally wasn’t successful, though I do have the API connected. I haven’t noticed whether it was always in pistons or not, but I think some automations and scenes had the problem with Lifx refreshes too.

Ha! If I offered a cash reward to whoever was able to reach the “Create a blank piston” button, 7 out of 8 people living in the 2 homes would be no richer than they are now.


Oh, I almost forgot,

  • Near the top category, I have one for “Weather”
  • Also near the top, I have one for “Status Information” (devices, people, thermostat etc)
  • Near the bottom, I have another for things on a timer (regular events).

It actually works in reverse. The devices should be reporting their status to the hub… Once that happens, then webCoRE will be aware if you have subscribed to that device.

This also means if webCoRE sends a command to do X with deviceY, it does not verify that deviceY did what it should have. Usually, the Device Handler is responsible to pass data both ways…

Sorry buddy… It looks like you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, LOL
(it’s not a bad hobby though… :sunglasses:)


Hi All,

Just wanted to offer a quick thanks to everyone who helped in this thread, and also whoever put up with the long stories and basic Q&A stuff. It’s been a few weeks and I now have a better understanding of WC and the ST system.

Now, let’s get WC localized! Is it possible? ETA?