Migration from openHAB 1.x to openHAB 2

This tutorial provides a step-by-step procedure for migrating an existing openHAB 1.x installation to openHAB 2 snapshot. These procedures were generated starting from an apt-get installed openHAB 1.8.3, though they should work for previous versions. Where needed, additional details are provided for other platforms (Windows, OSX, non-Debian based Linux, etc.) and manually installed openHAB 1.x installs.

These instructions emphasize the text based procedures over the use of PaperUI and Habmin which is closer to the openHAB 1.x experience.

Note: In all of the other pages in this documentation, openHAB 2 is simply referred to as openHAB. In order to distinguish between the two versions in this, the current version is referred to as openHAB 2.

This page is structured as follows:


Now is the time to consider and plan for your newly installed openHAB. Some questions to ask and answer include:

Your answers to these and other similar questions will help guide you to prepare your installation before you start the migration. For example, if you want to start using git to back up and configuration manage your openHAB configurations, or if you are considering moving to Docker or a VM or starting over fresh (e.g. openHABian), now is a good time to start the process.

The following procedure primarily focuses on an in-place migration. If you are migrating to a fresh install, container, or another VM some of the following steps can be skipped. Those steps are identified.

One major consideration is that at the time of this writing openHAB 2 does not implement authentication and authorization (i.e. no username and password). If you are relying upon port forwarding to access your openHAB server remotely instead of via a VPN, SSH tunneling, or my.openhab, we highly recommend setting up a reverse proxy.


The first step is to backup everything that you have modified in the existing openHAB 1.x installation. If you installed using apt-get these files may include:

If you are on an operating system that does not support apt-get or performed a manual installation for some other reason simply backup the whole <openhab home> directory.

Shutdown openhab 1.x

One cannot run openHAB 1.x and openHAB 2 at the same time on the same machine with default settings. They both use the same networking ports and some bindings require exclusive access to hardware resources (e.g. zwave, RFXCOM).

On an apt-get installed openHAB 1.x running on a systemd based OS (Ubuntu 15+, Raspbian Jessy+) run:

sudo systemctl stop openhab.service

On manually installed systems follow your usual procedure for stopping openHAB (e.g. <ctrl>-c in the window where start.sh or start.bat was run).

Install openHAB 2

Follow the instructions for your platform here.

There are two choices to make: Beta or SNAPSHOT, and Offline or Online. Once the final release of openHAB 2 is made, the Beta will turn into the latest stable version.

The Beta release represents a point in the development of openHAB where the core of openHAB and most of its bindings are deemed stable and ready for broad test. The SNAPSHOT releases come from the nightly builds and represent the absolute most recent version. While SNAPSHOT is less stable in terms that it is undergoing lots of changes, this does not mean that SNAPSHOT is inherently less stable. And since new features are added and bugs fixed after the Beta release in some ways the SNAPSHOT is more stable and more capable.

The difference between the Offline and Online versions is whether or not all the bindings are included in the initial installation (included does not mean installed) or whether openHAB 2 needs to connect to and download the latest bindings on demand. Offline is a good choice if your openHAB server does not have access to the internet all the time.

If you plan on running openHAB 1.x as your primary while migrating make sure to disable openHAB 2 from starting automatically.

sudo systemctl disable openhab2.service

Prepare openHAB 2 for the Existing openHAB 1.x Configuration

Start your newly installed openHAB 2 instance per the instruction in the installation guide for your platform and navigate to http://<openhab server ip>:8080 where <openhab server ip> is the address of the server where openHAB 2 is running.

Congratulations, you have a running openHAB 2! See Concepts and below for important differences between openHAB 1.x and openHAB 2.

Theoretically one should be able to just enable the openHAB 1.x Compatibility Layer, copy over the existing add-ons and config files and have it work. However, while the compatibility layer is very good and very capable, this approach will result in errors and end up being more work than the steps below. Therefore the first steps will be to get it running using the 1.9 version of the bindings installed through openHAB 2’s new add-on management system.

There are three approaches one can use to install and configure bindings, an all text based one, using the Karaf console, or using one of the administration GUIs (i.e. PaperUI or Habmin 2). While all three approaches are presented below, the text based approach is the recommended one for those coming from openHAB 1.x as it will be more familiar and flexible.

Text Based

In your configurations folder for openHAB 2 (/etc/openhab2 on apt-get installed instances) there is a new folder named services. In this folder you will find a file named runtime.cfg. This file contains global openHAB 2 parameters. Open this file for editing and you will find a number of parameters you may want to set. In particular for this tutorial we recommend setting:

Next open for editing addons.cfg. This file contains parameters related to add-ons including allowing one to choose which add-ons to install. For now just set the following parameters:

If you have any doubt as to what add-ons are available and in which category they belong you can follow the instructions below for listing the bundles in the Karaf console or install PaperUI and browse the list through it.

This is a great opportunity to identify those add-ons you are not actively using and avoid their installation.

When you save this file openHAB will begin the download (if using the Online version) and installing the add-ons.

Note: if running in Docker, create <openHAB 2 home>/userdata/persistence prior to saving the file if there are any persistence add-ons.

An example addons.cfg:

# The base installation package of this openHAB instance (default is "standard")
# Valid options:
#   - minimal  : Installation only with dashboard, but no UIs or other addons
#   - simple   : Setup for using openHAB purely through UIs - you need to expect MANY constraints in functionality!
#   - standard : Default setup for normal users, best for textual setup
#   - expert   : Setup for expert users, especially for people migrating from openHAB 1.x
#   - demo     : A demo setup which includes UIs, a few bindings, config files etc.
package = standard

# Access Remote Add-on Repositories
# Defines whether the remote openHAB add-on repository should be used for browsing and installing add-ons.
# This not only makes latest snapshots of add-ons available, it is also required for the installation of
# any legacy 1.x add-on and all experimental features. (default is false for offline distro, true for online distro)
remote = true

# Include legacy 1.x bindings. If set to true, it also allows the installation of 1.x bindings for which there is
# already a 2.x version available (requires remote repo access, see above). (default is false)
legacy = true

# A comma-separated list of bindings to install (e.g. "sonos,knx,zwave")
binding = zwave,astro1,http,mqtt,nest,networkhealth,ntp

# A comma-separated list of UIs to install (e.g. "basic,paper")
ui = paper,classic,habmin,habpanel

# A comma-separated list of persistence services to install (e.g. "rrd4j,jpa")
persistence = influxdb,rrd4j,mapdb

# A comma-separated list of actions to install (e.g. "mail,pushover")
action = nma,mail

# A comma-separated list of transformation services to install (e.g. "map,jsonpath")
transformation = xslt,map,regex,javascript

# A comma-separated list of voice services to install (e.g. "marytts,freetts")
voice =

# A comma-separated list of miscellaneous services to install (e.g. "myopenhab")
misc = myopenhab

Karaf Console

Following the instructions above to populate runtime.cfg parameters.

Log into the Karaf console with:

ssh [email protected] -p 8101

Use habopen as the password.

See the Karaf Reference for details about navigating and using the console.

Run the following command to see the list of add-on repositories currently installed.


result of running feature:repo-list

The following command will give the list of available add-ons.


result of running feature:list

For each add-on you are using in openHAB 1.x, and for each transformation type you are using, install the corresponding add-on using:

feature:install <add-on name>

using the name from the list. For example, to install the Weather Binding run:

feature:install openhab-binding-weather

To get a list of all currently installed items run:

feature:list | grep Started

At this time only install add-ons that are 1.9.0 SNAPSHOT. The 2.0 add-ons will be installed later.

Note: if running in Docker, create <openHAB home>/userdata/persistence manually prior to installing persistence add-ons.

PaperUI Approach

These instructions assume no edits have been made to runtime.cfg or addons.cfg as described in the previous section.

Navigate your browser to http://<openhab server address>:8080 and select PaperUI from the list of UIs. Navigate to Configuration -> System on the left hand side and enable “Include Legacy 1.x Bindings” and “Access Remote Repositories”. This will allow you to install your current bindings even if there is an openHAB 2 version available. Press “Save”.

PaperUI System Settings

Now select “Extensions” from the left and browse or search for each of the bindings and add-ons you currently use. Make note of those that do not appear in the list. Do not install any binding that has a version 2.0. If there is not a 1.9.0 version we will install the binding manually (see below).

This is a great opportunity to identify those bindings you actually use and only install those.

When you find a binding to install, press the Install button and wait for installation to complete. Do not install the My.openHAB Binding yet.

If you are running openHAB in a Docker container you need to create <openHAB home>/userdata/persistence manually prior to installing a persistence add-on.

One thing to be aware of is any configuration done in PaperUI or Habmin gets saved to a non-human readable database. And since none of the administration UIs are currently capable of doing everything, you will end up with a mix of database and text based configuration. This is why we recommend not using PaperUI for those migrating to openHAB 2 from openHAB 1.x.

Configure Add-ons

As bindings and other add-ons are installed, you can watch for errors in the logs. Errors at this time may not be important but make note of those that did generate errors during installation for special attention later.

Once a binding or add-on is installed, it will create a <openHAB 2 conf>/services/<add-on name>.cfg file. Unlike in openHAB 1.x where all the binding configurations are placed in the one openhab.cfg file, openHAB 2 has a separate .cfg file for each binding. Transfer the settings for each binding from openhab.cfg to its new .cfg file, removing the binding name from the parameter. For example, the parameter nest:refresh=300000 in openhab.cfg becomes refresh=300000 in nest.cfg.

Note that a .cfg file is not always generated. If one is not generated and it is a binding that has a section in openhab.cfg, you can create one yourself and transfer the settings as described above.

One important thing to note is that bindings and add-ons that require extra steps to register with a cloud service like Nest and My.openHAB will require reregistering again as if this were the first installation and configuration (e.g. you need to generate a new pin code for Nest).

Unlike in openHAB 1.x, transformations are not automatically included in openHAB 2. Make sure you include these in your installation as well.

Installing Unofficially Supported openHAB 1.x Add-ons

Skip this section if all the add-ons you need have been installed already.

First check the list of add-ons that are known not to work in openHAB 2 and make sure yours is not among them.

Next install the openHAB 1.x compatibility layer using the Karaf Console instructions above.

Copy your openhab.cfg file to <openHAB 2 conf>/services. If you are running an apt-get installed openHAB 1.x openhab.cfg is located in /etc/openhab/configurations. For an apt-get installed openHAB 2 the <openHAB 2 conf> folder is located in /etc/openhab2. For manually installed openHAB 1.x this file is located in <openhab home>/configurations and in manually installed openHAB 2 it is <openhab home>/conf.

This file will have a lot of redundant configuration information in it that you have already moved over to individual binding .cfgs. Make sure to comment those out and just leave the config parameters for the bindings you are manually installing.

Now copy the add-on’s jar files that you want to install to the <openHAB conf>/addons folder for openHAB 2. For example:

cp /usr/share/openhab/addons/org.openhab.binding.astro-1.8.3.jar /usr/share/openhab2/addons

There may be some errors about there not being a bind and unbind method. If everything worked you should see in the log the same entries from the binding you see when openHAB 1.x starts.

Watch the logs for errors as they can be informative. For example, some Actions require a corresponding Binding be installed first. An example error of this sort looks like:

2016-09-08 15:15:04.613 [WARN ] [org.apache.felix.fileinstall        ] - Error while starting bundle: file:/openhab/addons/org.openhab.action.astro-1.8.3.jar
org.osgi.framework.BundleException: Could not resolve module: org.openhab.action.astro [210]
  Unresolved requirement: Import-Package: org.openhab.binding.astro.internal.calc

Note, the above error is for illustration purposes. You should not be installing Astro this way.

Final Add-ons Installation Steps

openHAB 2 has a different folder layout. Of particular node are the configuration folders and userdata folders. See the previous link for the location of these folders for your installtion.

As with openHAB 1.x, one must restart openHAB 2 to pick up changes to .cfg files. Therefore restart openHAB 2 now.

If you haven’t already, configure default persistence now. You can do this through runtime.cfg or PaperUI.

Now openHAB 2 is ready to receive your other configurations, items and such. Watch the log file as you transfer over files for errors. These errors will have to be fixed.

Copy over your files in the following order:

cp <openHAB 1.x conf>/configurations/transform/* <openHAB 2 conf>/transform/*
cp <openHAB 1.x conf>/configurations/scripts/* <openHAB 2 conf>/scripts/*
cp <openHAB 1.x conf>/configurations/persistence/* <openHAB 2 conf>/persistence
Copy any custom icons added from webapps/images to <openHAB 2 conf>/icons/classic
Copy any custom webviews from webapps to <openHAB 2 conf>/html
cp <openHAB 1.x conf>/configurations/items/* <openHAB 2 conf>/items/*
cp <openHAB 1.x conf>/configurations/rules/* <openHAB 2 conf>/rules/*
cp <openHAB 1.x conf>/configurations/sitemaps/* <openHAB 2 conf>/sitemaps/*

Necessary Changes




var HSBType hsb = HSBType::fromRGB(color.red, color.green, color.blue)
var Color color = Color::getHSBColor(hsb.hue.floatValue / 360, hsb.saturation.floatValue / 100, hsb.brightness.floatValue / 100)

Continue watching the logs as you move files over. There will likely be a number of errors. Take note of them with plans to return and correct them if they persist.


Once you are satisfied that your new openHAB system is up and running take a deep breath and take a break. Let it run for a few days or a week and verify that everything is working as it should. Watch the logs for inexplicable errors. Once you are happy with how it is running you can start migrating to the openHAB 2 native bindings and start taking advantage of Things and Channels (see the next section).

Now is also a good time to install Eclipse SmartHome Designer to edit and review your files.

New Concepts: Things and Channels

One of the new notions that people quickly come across when moving to openHAB 2 native bindings is that of a “Thing”. To understand what they are and how they relate to Items, we will compare them to how Items are “bound” and configured in openHAB 1.x.

In openHAB 1.x (and importantly still for 1.9 version bindings running in openHAB 2) one had to add “binding configuration” in curly brackets to the end of Item definitions in order to link that Item to some control point on a physical device or API. The openHAB wiki gives a nice examples of how this looks:

Switch  Light_Floor        "Light at Floor"                { knx="1/0/15+0/0/15" }
Switch  Presence           "I'm at home"                   { bluetooth="123456ABCD" }
Switch  Doorbell           "Doorbell"                      { serial="/dev/usb/ttyUSB0" }
Contact Garage             "Garage is [MAP(en.map):%s]"    { zwave="21:command=sensor_binary,respond_to_basic=true" }
String  Error_Ventilation  "Error in Ventilation %s"       { comfoair="error_message" }
Number  DiningRoomTemp     "Maximum Away Temp. [%.1f °F]"  { nest="<[thermostats(Dining Room).away_temperature_high_f]" }

Every binding came up with its own syntax for this binding configuration and while the rest of the item file had nice syntax checks and content assist when using Designer, this wasn’t possible to provide for the binding configurations themselves. The only way for the user to figure out what to put in there was to visit the wiki page of the binding. This not only are syntax errors and typos difficult to detest but it also prevents any “automated” editing of the binding configurations, e.g. through user-friendly UIs.

Besides the syntax, the old scheme leaves the binding developers the choice to implement multi-instance support or not. Usually most bindings started off supporting a single instance only to notice later on that it would be useful to add support for more than one. For example, you can see in the KNX binding configuration above that it simply does not allow one to select an interface (KNX system) to use for that Item. Instead, a single globally configured connection is defined in the openhab.cfg file.

These issues were identified a long time ago and the concept of Things and Channels were introduced to solve them. The general idea is to standardize the binding configuration and move it away from the .items file. A Thing represents a configurable device/system/unit, which provides different functionality through a set of one or more Channels. Each Channel corresponds exactly to one binding configuration string (stuff in { }) in openHAB 1.x.

Let’s look at a concrete example. The Yahoo Weather Binding supports exactly one Thing which takes two parameters: a WOEID location and unit.

Thus, as described in the Binding’s readme one would manually define a Thing in a .things file (located in conf/things) with the line:

Thing yahooweather:weather:berlin [ location=638242 ]

As described in the Binding’s readme, three Channels are supported: temperature, humidity, and pressure. Thus, rather than the old openHAB 1.x syntax:

// openHAB 1 Syntax
Number Temperature   { yahooweather="woeid=638242,value=temperature,unit=c" }
Number Humidity      { yahooweather="woeid=638242,value=humidity,unit=c" }

with everything defined on in the { } part of the Item, we now merely reference the Channels.

// openHAB 2 Syntax
Number Temperature   { channel="yahooweather:weather:berlin:temperature" }
Number Humidity      { channel="yahooweather:weather:berlin:humidity" }

As you can see, the Channel ID consists of the Thing’s name, a “#” and the Channel name.

For manually defined Things, you can find the syntax for defining a Thing on a given Item in that Binding’s readme.

However, with the concept of Things some openHAB 2 bindings are able to automatically discover and create Things for you. These automatically created Things will appear in your Inbox which you can access in PaperUI, Habmin, or the Karaf console. These Things can be accepted by the user. When you view these Things in one of the admin UIs it will list all of the supported Channels the Thing supports. To define an Item for one of these Channels, simply copy the Channel ID into your Item’s definition like the above.

Finally, I will reiterate, Things and Channels only exist for 2.0 version bindings. Any 1.9 bindings still use the traditional binding configuration as described on the openHAB 1.x wiki.

Retire openHAB 1.x

Now that you have a fully running and tested openHAB 2 instance, now is the time to disable and remove openHAB 1.x. Stop openHAB 1.x if it is running:

sudo systemctl stop openhab.service

Next disable openHAB 1.x from starting as a service.

sudo systemctl disable openhab.service

Finally, enable openHAB 2 to start as a service.

sudo systemctl enable openhab2.service

Back up your openHAB 1.x configurations and uninstall openHAB 1.x if desired.

Migrating to openHAB 2 Bindings

Eclipse SmartHome Designer

As mentioned above, there is a new Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for openHAB 2 configurations, Eclipse SmartHome Designer. The old openHAB Designer is not compatible with openHAB 2.


There is no 1.9 My.openHAB binding that is compatible with openHAB 2, only a native 2.0 binding. Furthermore, one can have only one openHAB instance linked to a http://my.openhab.org account at a time. This is why we have saved migrating this binding until now.

Each openHAB instance generates its own unique UUID and Secret so one cannot simply copy these files from your old openHAB 1.x installation.

Using your preferred method for add-on installation (see above) install the My.openHAB binding. Once installed a new uuid and secret file will be created. These two files are located in a different place in openHAB 2: <openhab 2 userdata>/uuid and <openHAB 2 userdata>/myopenhab/secret. As of this writing, the http://my.openhab.org documentation still references the openHAB 1.x locations.

Log into your My.openHAB account and select “Account” from the pull down menu under your email:

My.openHAB Account Menu

Copy the contents of the uuid file into the openHAB UUID field. Copy the contents of the secret file into the openHAB Secret field.

You may need to restart openHAB at this point to get the binding to reconnect. It should now show your system as being online and running openHAB 2.

My.openHAB Account Menu

Other Bindings

One is not required to use 2.0 version addi-ons with openHAB 2. It is highly recommended to do so as most cases where there is a 1.9 and a 2.0 add-on only the 2.0 binding is undergoing continued development. On-the-other-hand, some of the 2.0 bindings are currently lacking certain features their older version has (e.g. Astro). See the add-on’s wiki page and readme page to compare and contrast the two versions.

Identify an add-on where there is a 2.0 version that you want to migrate to. Begin by identifying those Items that use this binding. On Linux/OSX this can easily be done with the following command

grep <binding> <openHAB 2 conf>/items/*

where <binding> is the string used in the binding config on the Item. For example:

grep zwave /etc/openhab2/items/*
grep astro /opt/openhab2/conf/items/*

Now comment out those Items to ensure there are no unexpected interactions between the old configurations and the new ones.

Next uninstall the 1.9 binding. In the Karaf console use the command feature:uninstall <add-on name>. If you used addons.cfg to install the addons you must uninstall it using the Karaf console. In PaperUI, browse to the add-on and choose uninstall.

Move the add-on’s .cfg file to a backup location. Some bindings have significantly changed their configurations but much of the old information will still be relevant.

Install the 2.0 version of the add-on using your preferred method as described above. If this is the zwave binding, install the Habmin UI at this time as well if you have not done so already.

Configure the add-on as described in the add-on’s readme file. Once it is properly configured and if the binding supports automatic Thing discovery, new Things will start to slowly appear in the Inbox. If left on its own this process can take five minutes to an hour. However, one can press the scan button in PaperUI -> Inbox to speed this up. Or from the Karaf console one can run:

smarthome:discovery openhab-binding-<binding name>

Managing the Inbox, Things, and Channels

Managing the Inbox using PaperUI

In PaperUI, review the Items in the Inbox and accept those that should be included in your configuration. You can press the eye icon to hide the Thing from the list if you never plan on including it, such as a dead zwave node. Once approved browsing to the Configuration -> Things menus and selecting the Thing from the list one can get the list of Channel IDs for that Thing.

Managing the Inbox Using the Karaf Console

In the Karaf console you can see everything in the Inbox with the command:


Karaf console inbox listing

NOTE: The screenshot above shows Ignored Inbox Items. New Items will not show “IGNORED”.

To accept a Thing from the Inbox run:

smarthome:inbox approve <thingId>

Once approved one can get the list of Channel IDs with the command:

smarthome:links list

You can narrow down the list using grep:

smarthome:links list | grep <Thing ID>

To ignore a Thing in the Inbox use the command:

smarthome:inbox ignore <thingId>

Linking Channels to Items

There is more than one way to link Channels to Items using PaperUI, Karaf console, and through the text configuration files. Only the text configuration files are covered here as they are closer to the openHAB 1.x way of doing things and will cause the least amount of work to migrate.

Open your .items files where you commented out the Items that used the old version of the binding. Replace the old binding’s configuration with the Channel ID that Item represents. For example:

Switch S_L_Family "Family Room Lamp" <light> {zwave="10:command=switch_binary,respond_to_basic=true"}


Switch S_L_Family "Family Room Lamp" <light> {channel="zwave:device:528f7aca:node10:switch_binary"}

Congratulations, you are now using the 2.0 version of the binding. Assuming the behaviors of the binding are the same, there should be no required changes to your Rules, Sitemaps, or Persitence. Test your Items each step of the way to verify they are working.

Manually Creating Things

Not all 2.0 bindings support automatic discovery of Things or by their very nature require manual creation of Things. As with linking Channels to Items, there is more than one way to do this including through PaperUI, Habmin, the REST API, or through text files. This tutorial will only cover creating Things in text files as that will be closer to the openHAB 1.x way of doing things.

All definitions of new Things are written to .things files in the <openHAB 2 conf>/things folder. The syntax for a Thing definition varies from binding to binding. See the binding’s readme for the specific format and parameters required. Also see the binding’s readme for the list of channels the Thing supports. As discussed above, the Channel ID will be the <Thing ID>#<channel>.