What I thought I knew now I don't

Just a question that I’ve had for over a year now.

How do ‘new’ people navigate and learn anything? For instance/example.

I see ‘badges’… okay great yes I want those for certain things.

Do a search in the forum… nothing really clear ‘how to’… well not for a new person anyway just more confusion for a ‘simple’ thing.
Do an internet search… nothing really clear there either.
Documentation… ohhhhhh that makes no sense. I go click on things it says and I don’t see or have what they say I should.

Okay well guess I’m not doing that…

Do a search for something else… look in the forum… nothing there that helps.
Read documentation… oh that makes no sense.
Do an internet search… okay I can do that… oh wait it says do this and I don’t have that. Where is that… do a search… nope still can’t find it.

Okay well guess I don’t need that either…

How do I… oh okay the forum says… uhmmmm where is that located? Oh no it’s not… this post was from 3 years ago and that’s not how to do it now.
Oh wait it says ‘just do this and that’… oh… where is that? spend 40 minutes looking through everything and can’t find that…

Okay well guess I’m not doing that…

Fast forward a year…
A year behind on everything that even looks like an update because the last time you updated everything broke and you couldn’t figure out how to fix it… so you put your back up in and just left it alone…

Does HA work? Yeahhhhhhh it’s working but things work and don’t work from time to time… how to fix those… uhhhhhh I don’t know. Goes out and reads… no that didn’t work. Read on the forum… no that didn’t work either. Now what? Oh well just disable it… didn’t really need that anyway.

What’s the end result?
Does it work… yeah for the most part…
Are you happy with it? Nope.
Is it where you want it to be? Nope.

Well how does it get updated, upgraded… how do you create what you want or new things that you like? You have to wait for someone else to do it for you… well that took 3 days to update and fix everything just to get you back to square 1… Oh look now everythings different and what little you did know you don’t know anymore.

Can anyone, someone without pointing to old docs or old forum posts please tell me how is anyone supposed to learn anything when you can’t find what you need to find? I completely understand this is a ‘free’ project but really doesn’t mean anything if someone can’t at least figure it out.

There has to be something somewhere that has to be easier to follow to begin to understand or figure things out. Trust me I write programs for other ‘things’ which I can’t name because it gets flagged [God knows why…]. So being ‘new’ only means being new to HA… which after a year I’m not new but still completely lost.

Many Thanks for all the people that have understanding what it’s like to be frustrated but just want to use and understand something…


I can’t speak for “everyone” but I learned by reading the docs (pretty much all of it, including all the integrations), reading and posting on the forums and watching current YouTube tutorials.


Well, Im new to HA too, in new for a bunch of weeks now, and that exactly how I feel. I have been a hundred times to the point where I thought "F**k this s***e, Ill go back to FHEM". But still I stayed, HA got stuff thats nice, but the learning curve is a real PITA PITB(ackside).

(i would have liked to add more asterisk’s but then it would result in bolt letters :slight_smile: )
(edit 2 ahhhhrg, now its italic, ill mark it code!)

The most frustrating thing is, you dont get the docs, then ask the forum, you get a nice guy answering your problem. Then you copy code from these nice folks that are “moderators” who posted it as an answer to your specific question, and it does result in errors… that IS really frustrating for HA beginners. While still being grateful for the help form the folks further down the learning curve road. So you ask again, and think, o man, the other guy must be thinking Im somewhere between a simpleton and totally stupid. That makes you feel real grate. You kind of learn to hate and love HA. It kind of kills the user experience.

My own super mess, I just lost a HA server for not knowing that it would fill up a 32gb disc in a bunch of weeks with backups from updates and its DB. Well in my case it resulted in a full disc on the host, just a couple of MBs before the virtual disc would have been full. So it was my fault. But the HA UI did not mention anything even being past 98% full and starting the next update with an other new backup.

It’s frustrating for moderators too.

Home automation is complex. Mistakes will be made. Accept that and learn from the mistakes rather than getting upset / frustrated.


no i did not criticize folks that help!

i did give my experience with HA. thats a totally different shoe.

Yeah I re-read your post and adjusted mine.

Also there’s a difference between a forum moderator that is trusted to oversee the activity of the forum and a subject matter expert. Some moderators have more experience than others. Home Assistant has a huge range things to know about. For example I know next to nothing about voice assistants as I don’t use them, however I can read the documentation and offer help if I think it will. I can also cobble together a template to help out but there are users here who are far better at it that I am. I’m still learning from them.

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One other thing. Try to retain a sense of proportion.

e.g. turning a light on when your set of circumstances is met sounds easy but it is in fact quite a complex task that is being made to look easy. Many things could go wrong.

Also is it really the mind bendingly frustrating end of the world if you can’t get the light to turn on how you want today?

Maybe with a bit more investigation and a good night’s rest you will work it out tomorrow.

A sense of proportion and the appropriate attitude go a long way to dispelling frustration that can occur when things don’t work the first (or even second or third) time.

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indeed, I was too fast, you personally did help me a great deal, too…

I would never complain about or kick a guy who really tries to help, so long its constructive… there are some folks around here that basically tell you to go stick HA where the sun doesnt shine… but they just get ignored, the usual trolls, we all know em.

its so kind from those of you who have the knowledge to try to hlep. but HA is so sensitive to such small things like spaces in yaml and where you put it in the code base… and in some places perfectly fine code is rejected as wrong, in other places, right code cant be displayed in the UI or shows just part of the code.

Im used to FUP (FBS/C+) from Siemens industry automation and other similar languages, even html and php or mysql, its all darn simple, took me a day or two to warp my mind around each of em, and a cheat list with the more complex code samples. HA would be way simpler with FUB, instead of trying to code everything in automations into text and grafics. Not all visual systems are better than coding. FUP is a good system to build logics. Others are better than for other stuff. In HA we are now forced to the unfinished UI no matter what.

e.g. in here, sometimes you have to put the entity with a minus a row below, sometimes its right behind entity: and it seams there is no logic to when and where to it.

such stuff.

or that the HA project decides to deprecate stuff, (yes I do understand they have to do this), and by this brake your integration. even so the thing their going to brake is clearly still used according to the statistics, but not actively maintained any more.

They also opt to not take over such projects that are well used inside the HA community, since HA itself does not supplies a decent solution, and that just has lost its maintainer. No expectation to swallow active projects, but if a well used project looses its maintainer, HA should consider to implement the function into the core or just take over the addon.

What I really would like to see in this project would be a basic guide to HA, where all the core functions are explained. How to code in yaml, where to put stuff, how to design your !include stuff what goes where. What to watch out for, how long stuff stays in the DB, it gets purged? WTF?. Oh nobody cleans up the backup form updates, you have to do it manually and so on.

HA uses so many words, that just are used different in all other projects. They kind of hijacked the English language with their definitions. At least from my understanding as a non native speaker.

Just take the word automation. In real live coding all automations are scipts, as well as scirpts are scripts of course, if I want to automate in CLI, I write a bash script, or a batch script for DOS, so why pull that stuff apart, its the same thing, just one is triggered manually the other by a set trigger but also can be triggered manually, so its the same. But in HA its different… and that goes on and on and on and on.


well, Ive tried stuff, that is downright simple in FHEM, in HA, that still got me stuck, for weeks now, hundred different ways tried and not accomplished anything aside of learning… I just stopped complaining to the forum, as it did not help me on.

To quote Edison, i have not failed; I just found thousand ways that do not work.

But this is not the topic of this thread, @cowboysdude wanted to know how to steepen the learning cuve.

I suggested a kind of basic how for after your finished with the “automated discovery for all” that gives you nothing but a real mess. A how to where you understand how the hassos is set up and how to start and where to put stuff and what to look out for

sometime you can name entities in the lovelace card, sometimes the id name is forced… just had that with a history graph, where the ID is so long you cant read it, and you cant give it an other name, but you could add a fat title…

reading my text, i think its highly time to retire to my warm and cozy bed. wow, such a boggled up English. And that after grammar and spellchecking it for endless times.


You may be happy to know that there will be an opportunity for you to easily bring up these little annoyances for “streamlining” later in the year. Stay tuned…

Unfortunately have no idea what any of those acronyms you used mean (FUB, FUP etc…). Google was no help either.

off topic as answer to @tom_l 's question regarding FUP

thats FUP

straight from Wikipedia

it adds 100 to the value of “wert1” and limits it to stay inbetween +/- 10,000

Google for Siemens S5, its the first generation automation control units used since about the 80s. Did cost a fortune, still ten thousands are in use around the world, I did have one to control my water heating with pool etc. pp. since the usual oil heater manufacturer did not offer enough options to represent my system.

Back to the original question…

I was new to HA once. I was using IFTTT for my home automation, but switched to HA in the autumn of 2020 (start of the paid plans by IFTTT).

The proof of concept, surprised me. Several integrations were found automatically and converting my IFTTT Applets to HA automations went smooth, but not flawless.

Debugging start with determining the error (read the logs) and what has changed.

  • New version of HA (read the change log, which should have been done prior to the installation)
  • Automation fails (Have I modified it)
  • Integration fails (Has the firmware or API changed)
  • Etcetera.

Based on the change I try to modify or revert it. And if the problem remains for me there are a few sources to look for a solution (I always assume I’m not the only one with the problem):

  • This forum
  • Reddit
  • A detailed search on Google

Until now I have resolved all my problems.

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I’m also new to Home Assistant, moving from HomeSeer and yes there is an extremely steep, resistive ever changing hill to climb. I prospected Home Assistant a few years ago and almost immediately shut it down because it was built for ‘programmers’.

Fast forward to mid 2021, and wow what a difference. I can now, mostly with the help of the community develop the logic to at least duplicate what I had in HomeSeer. Huge advancement have been made to allow, what is IMO a programmers home automation package to be utilized by us non programmers.

Because I’m so new, I have not reached the “What I thought I knew now I don’t” point yet…


I use the word resistive above because there are 2 areas that are a HUGE problem for me and really shouldn’t be (Easy for me to say).

  1. Documentation: IMO, It’s a mess for the non-programmer. You can tell it’s written by programmers, and for me it’s difficult to understand even with the few examples that are sometimes provided. I’m so grateful to the content creators (both here and on YT) for all their hard work in this area.

  2. Date / Time Automatons: This almost always requires extensive knowledge to accomplish the ‘simplest’ task. What took seconds in HomeSeer, can take me hours in Home Assistant.

I say all this because I’ve learned I need to have a lot more patience and learn to ‘roll with the punches’ when working with HA.

As you know, It’s an extremely powerful project and the team here are truly making great efforts to make it more accessible to those of us with no or limited programming skills.

anyway my .02

In the docs, there is a page for “user interface”. Within that page are links to topics. READ THEM. On about the third or fourth there is a description of how to add them. A couple of pages further on there is a detailed page on configuring various badge types.

As that is the only specific example you gave, hard to help more.

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I call it hobbyassistant. See it as a hobby and then the effort of keeping all running is less.

Although I must admit, from time to time when something’s broken, it makes my hobby less fun. But after I fixed It I do have immediate satisfaction.

It’s just complex, but hey, what’s better out there? This is the best :ok_hand:


Please, please, please don’t forget to update the Docs when you finally manage to resolve some of your problems!


You don’t even have to update them yourself (though it is quite easy) you can also make suggestions for improvements. The links are at the bottom of every documentation page.

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That’s a great feature. Sometimes I know something is wrong, but not 100% sure if my own interpretation is right.