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):

Item Name Description Command Types
Color Color information (RGB) OnOff, IncreaseDecrease, Percent, HSB
Contact Item storing status of e.g. door/window contacts OpenClose
DateTime Stores date and time -
Dimmer Item carrying a percentage value for dimmers OnOff, IncreaseDecrease, Percent
Group Item to nest other items / collect them in groups -
Image Holds the binary data of an image -
Location Stores GPS coordinates Point
Number Stores values in number format Decimal
Player Allows to control players (e.g. audio players) PlayPause, NextPrevious, RewindFastforward
Rollershutter Typically used for blinds UpDown, StopMove, Percent
String Stores texts String
Switch Typically 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


StringType objects store a simple Java String.


DateTimeType 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:

Item Name Main Data Type Additional Data Types Conversions
Color HSBType OnOffType - OFF if the brightness level in the HSBType equals 0, ON otherwise
PercentType - the value for the brightness level in the HSBType
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