Eclipse SmartHome has a strict separation between the physical world (the “things”, see below) and the application, which is built around the notion of “items” (also called the virtual layer).

Items represent functionality that is used by the application (mainly user interfaces or automation logic). Items have a state and are used through events.

The following item types are currently available (alphabetical order):

ItemnameDescriptionCommand Types
ColorColor information (RGB)OnOff, IncreaseDecrease, Percent, HSB
ContactItem storing status of e.g. door/window contactsOpenClose
DateTimeStores date and time
DimmerItem carrying a percentage value for dimmersOnOff, IncreaseDecrease, Percent
GroupItem to nest other items / collect them in groups-
NumberStores values in number formatDecimal
PlayerAllows to control players (e.g. audio players)PlayPause, NextPrevious, RewindFastforward
RollershutterTypically used for blindsUpDown, StopMove, Percent
StringStores textsString
SwitchTypically used for lights (on/off)OnOff

Group Items can derive their own state depending on their member items.

  • AVG displays the average of the item states in the group.
  • OR displays an OR of the group, typically used to display whether any item in a group has been set.
  • other aggregations: AND, SUM, MIN, MAX, NAND, NOR

State and Command Type Formatting


DateTime objects are parsed using Java’s SimpleDateFormat.parse() using the first matching pattern:

  1. yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSZ
  2. yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSX
  3. yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ssz
  4. yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss

DecimalType, PercentType

DecimalType and PercentType objects use Java’s BigDecimal constructor for conversion. PercentType values range from 0 to 100.


HSB string values consist of three comma-separated values for hue (0-360°), saturation (0-100%), and value (0-100%) respectively, e.g. 240,100,100 for blue.


PointType strings consist of three DecimalTypes separated by commas, indicating latitude and longitude in degrees, and altitude in meters respectively.

Enum Types

Type Supported Values
IncreaseDecreaseType INCREASE, DECREASE
NextPreviousType NEXT, PREVIOUS
OnOffType ON, OFF
OpenClosedType OPEN, CLOSED
PlayPauseType PLAY, PAUSE
RewindFastforwardType REWIND, FASTFORWARD
StopMoveType STOP, MOVE
UpDownType UP, DOWN

A note on items which accept multiple state data types

There are a number of items which accept multiple state data types, for example DimmerItem, which accepts OnOffType and PercentType, RollershutterItem, which accepts PercentType and UpDownType, or ColorItem, which accepts HSBType, OnOffType and PercentType. Since an item has a SINGLE state, these multiple data types can be considered different views to this state. The data type carrying the most information about the state is usually used to keep the internal state for the item, and other datatypes are converted from this main data type. This main data type is normally the first element in the list returned by Item.getAcceptedDataTypes().

Here is a short table demonstrating conversions for the examples above:

Itemname Main data type Additional data types conversions
Color HSBType <ul><li>OnOffType - OFF if the brightness level in the HSBType equals 0, ON otherwise</li><li>PercentType - the value for the brightness level in the HSBType</li></ul>
Dimmer PercentType OnOffType - OFF if the brightness level indicated by the percent type equals 0, ON otherwise
Rollershutter PercentType UpDownType - UP if the shutter level indicated by the percent type equals 0, DOWN if it equals 100, and UnDefType.UNDEF for any other value