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Rule Machine® 5.0

Rule-5.0 is the culmination of a journey in the transformation of the Rule Machine app. All at once, it simplifies and adds power, resulting in a fully generalized automation engine. The prior top-level organization of Rule Machine has been replaced with an optimized interface. The changes described below, explain how prior rules were created versus how it is accomplished with Rule-5.0. The former structure of Rules, Triggers, Triggered Rules, Actions and Schedules are now replaced with the definition of what causes a rule to run, and the resulting action. The former Button Controller app is now incorporated into Rule Machine, but with increased power and flexibility. New conditional logic capabilities are provided, allowing the most subtle or complex automations to be created. You simply define what causes the a rule to run, and then that you want it to do.

Logic in a Rule-5.0 rule

In any Rule, the rule itself can be thought of as an overarching IF-THEN-ELSE, where if the condition was True for the IF part or the rule, then Actions for True are run, and if they are False, then Actions for False are run. In Rule-5.0, this same logic can now simply be done with the Conditional Actions of IF-THEN and ELSE in the Actions section of a rule. As described in the next section, IF-THEN now has the same full logical expression capability previously available, with the addition of AND, OR, XOR, NOT logical operators, and nested parenthetical sub-expressions.

  • Example: Using a Trigger Event such as a contact sensor Front Door *changed* to illustrate the difference, the previous Rule Machine version used this to interpret the Condition of Front Door *open*. The rule was evaluated whenever any event happened for the Front Door. In Rule-5.0, this is explicit, whereas in previous versions the rule was Front Door *open*, we now make that event the Condition of an IF-THEN action. What were formerly Actions for True, now become the Actions following IF-THEN, and the former Actions for False become the actions following ELSE. Most Rules will now follow this basic format.

Rule Triggers

All "Rules" in Rule-5.0 are in effect Triggered Rules. They each have a Trigger Event, and then Conditional Actions. Instead of a rule with Actions for True and Actions for False, they simply use conditional logic in the actions to create an equivalent IF-THEN-ELSE structure.


Each rule can have one or more Trigger Events that when triggered, cause the rule's actions to run.

Events are created by the devices or conditions in your system. Each device creates events appropriate to the type of device. A Trigger Event listens for specific events and when a trigger receives a selected event, it causes the defined Actions to run.

Rule Machine allows the following events in a Hubitat Elevation system to be acted upon. Each event results in a single test and the supported events and states that can be tested are listed below. For each event that refers to a device, one or more devices can be selected, and then the device state required for the Condition to be met can be selected. When multiple devices are selected, the Condition/Event may apply for ANY (default) or ALL of the devices.

Acceleration:	            active / inactive
Between two dates:          starting month on this date / ending month on this date
Battery: 		    value
Button:                     pressed / held / doubleTapped / released
Button Device:              select actions for any buttons of a button device
Certain Time:               at a certain time, including sunrise / sunset with offset
Cloud End Point:            hitting URL fires
Contact:		    open / closed
Custom attribute:           device capability
Days of Week:               on certain days of the week
Dimmer level: 	            value
Door: 			    open, closed, opening, closing, unknown
Energy meter:	            value
Garage door: 	            open, closed, opening, closing, unknown
HSM alert:                  intrusion, intrusion-delay, intrusion-home, intrusion-home-delay, intrusion-night, cancelRuleAlerts, intrusion-night-delay,  
                            smoke, water, rule, arming, armingHome, armingNight, cancel
HSM status:                 armed away, armed home, armed night, delayed arming home, delayed arming night, delayed arming away, disarmed, all disarmed
Humidity:		    value
Illuminance:	            value
Last Event Device           select device and attribute
Local End Point:            hitting URL fires
Lock:			    locked / unlocked
Mode:			    any of your hub's modes
Motion:			    active / inactive
Music player: 	            playing, paused, stopped
Periodic:                   allows periodic schedules for minutes, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly
Physical dimmer level:      value     
Physical switch:            on / off
Power meter:	            value
Power source:               mains / battery
Presence:		    present / not present or arrives / leaves
Private Boolean: 	    true / false
Rule paused: 		    rule
Smoke detector:             clear, detected, tested
Switch:			    on / off
Temperature:		    value
Thermostat cool setpoint:   value
Thermostat fan mode:        value
Thermostat heat setpoint:   value
Thermostat mode: 	    heat / cool / auto / off / emergency heat
Thermostat state: 	    heating / cooling / fan only / idle / pending heat / pending cool
Time of day:                specific time / sunrise / sunset
Variable:                   value
Water sensor: 		    dry / wet

Note: value means compare current value to a number, to another device with an offset, or to a variable with an offset, or changed, increased, decreased


Actions are the portion of a rule that defines what the rule does when it is triggered to run.

Actions as ordered script

As you define actions, you are creating a script of actions to perform when the rule runs. You may use as many actions as you want for each Action type and they can be run in whatever order you want. There is no predefined order of execution for Rule Machine actions, so you may arrange the order of actions any way you want. You can insert a new action anywhere in the list of actions, or at the end of the list.

Actions can be modified

The Rule-5.0 user interface provides the ability to Edit and Delete any action you have defined, giving you complete control over your list of actions.

Rule-5.0 Edit and Delete Actions.png

You may also Cut and then Paste actions if you need them to occur in a different order.

  1. Select the action to cut.
  2. Choose the new position for the action you just cut. The desired position could also be the end of the action list by choosing to paste the action before **End of Actions**, which would paste the cut action at the end of the action list.
    Rule-5 cut action.png
    Rule-5.0 Paste Action Before v2.png
    Rule-5 action position after paste action.png

Delay Actions and Delay Actions per Mode

All actions can be delayed, effectively pausing the action execution for a specified amount of time. Actions may also be delayed for a period of time that is dependent on the current Mode by using Delay Actions Per Mode.

Delay per Action

Each action you define can have an optional delay. These delays can be defined with hours, minutes, and seconds. Seconds can have decimal fractions, allowing millisecond resolution. In a rule, delays can have the option to be cancelled in the event of a change of rule truth. It is important to realize that the delay assigned to an individual action affects only that action, and not subsequent actions. Any subsequent action is executed immediately after the delayed action starts its delay timer, and does not wait for that delay timer to run. When the delay timer expires, the delayed action is executed (unless the delay was cancelled).

Rule Machine Delay per action.png

Delay all Actions

It is also possible to delay all actions (also with optional cancel). The script of actions runs sequentially when the rule runs, with each action happening in order. Actions with delays start their timer, which can vary for each action, and the next action in order runs. By using Delay Actions, the entire script can be paused by a delay.

Delay Actions per Mode

Delay Actions can also be specified on a per mode basis, so that the time the script is paused, varies according to the current mode.

Rule-5.0 Conditional Actions and Logical Expressions

In Rule Machine, IF-THEN-ELSE-ENDIF conditional blocks can be nested. The user interface utilizes textual indentation to help guide you in keeping track of which IF-THEN-ELSE-ENDIF block you are currently adding actions to. The user is responsible for completing each level of nested IF-THEN blocks.

The condition of an IF-THEN or ELSE-IF Action can be a full logical expression built-up from individual conditions, and the logical operators AND, OR, XOR, and NOT. Parenthesized sub-expressions are also possible. This is the same user interface of the former rule portion found in Rule or Triggered Rule from Rule-3.0. An individual Condition can be created on the fly while defining a logical expression. Every such Condition is kept in the list of available Conditions. This list of available conditions is present in the Define Actions page. The user interface then allows Creating, Editing and Deleting conditions. If a condition is edited, those changes will be reflected where it is used in an IF-THEN or ELSE-IF conditional action.

This combination of nested IF-THEN blocks and full logical expression for each IF-THEN and ELSE-IF, allows creativity for rules in Rule-5.0 that is limited only by your imagination. To help you with complex logic structures, new actions are available.

  1. Exit Rule - With Exit Rule the execution of Actions for that rule will stop, irrespective of what order in the rule it exists.
  2. Pending Delays are not cancelled, and current Repetitions are not stopped by Exit Rule, but these can be managed separately if needed with Stop Repeating Actions, Cancel Rule Timers, and Cancel Delayed Actions, where appropriate.

Automatic Condition Creation

When Event Triggers are defined, corresponding conditions are created for most types. Some conditions, like Button, Certain Time, etc, do not have a state and so have no corresponding condition. These created conditions are available in the Define Actions page for use in Conditional Actions, are available for use in other Actions, and can be edited.


You can introduce conditional execution of actions using the following method.

IF (condition) THEN 
     some actions...
ELSE-IF (condition) THEN 
     some actions...
     some actions...

IF-THEN and ELSE-IF both accept a logical expression as described above and IF-THEN-ELSE may also be nested. If the expression on the IF portion is True, then those actions following IF and before any ELSE-IF or ELSE statements will be carried out. If the expression is False, then those actions are skipped, and the ELSE portion or ELSE-IF are carried out. In the case of ELSE-IF, its expression will be tested, and the following Actions that follow it will either run or will not run, depending on the result of the evaluation. There can be as many ELSE-IF sections as you need, and the ELSE-IF and ELSE portions are both are optional. END-IF is also optional, and if omitted means all remaining actions are part of the preceding IF-THEN, ELSE-IF or ELSE. However, for good rule structure, just a sentence should have a period at the end, it is strongly recommended that you use END-IF to complete an IF-THEN-ELSE as a regular practice.

Repeat Actions

Portions of, or all of the script of an Action can be repeated periodically, but you must specify the time interval for the repetition. Be careful not to make this interval too short, as you can consume your hub CPU resources by repeating too quickly. You can select any number of iterations if desired, but some method to stop the repetition is required. When a Repeat Actions is introduced to the script, any action before END-REP will be repeated. Only the Actions between Repeat Actions and END-REP will be repeated. Actions following END-REP will run only once the repetition has stopped. There is an optional Stop for a Repeat Action choice and if selected, then Stop Repeating Actions will stop this repetition. Using Cancel Rule Timers from either the current rule or another rule, will stop all Repeat Actions, irrespective of which Stop selection is used.

Repeat Actions
     some actions...

A Repeat Actions, like any action, can have a condition specified. If the condition is False, the Repeat Actions block will not be executed. If the condition becomes False during repetition, the repetition will be stopped (with the exception of when Repeat N Times is selected). This provides three features well known to computer programmers.

  1. While-loop - The while-loop runs only if the condition is true, and stops if it is false.
  2. For-loop - A for-loop runs for a fixed number of times, but if a condition exists, it will only start that iteration if the condition is true; The condition is not retested during iteration.
  3. Repeat-until loop - A repeat-until loop runs until a condition becomes true, running at least once.


While loop - repeat while the condition is True:

IF (condition) Repeat Actions
     some actions...

For loop (repeat n times):

Repeat Actions n times
     some actions...

Conditional For loop (repeat n times if condition is True):

IF (condition) Repeat Actions n times
     some actions...

Repeat-Until loop:

Repeat Actions with Stop selected
     some actions
    IF (condition) Stop Repeating Actions

Repeat Actions cannot be nested. END-REP is optional, and if omitted, all actions after Repeat Actions will be repeated.

  • Note: The END-REP does not have anything to do with the when a Repeated Action will stop repeating, it merely marks the end of the list of actions to be repeated. If you use Repeat These Actions without specifying N Times (for loop), and without a Condition (while loop), and also without a Conditional Stop or a Stop on Truth Change (for rules only), that means it should repeat forever, and that is probably not what you want to have happen. In that case, some other rule would need to cause the repetition to stop.

Wait for Events and Wait for Conditions

Wait for Events and Wait for Conditions may be using with Conditional Actions and in a Simple Conditional Action. Additionally, Wait for Conditions allows for full logical expression with operators AND, OR, or XOR. If the conditions are true, no wait occurs, otherwise the rule execution is paused until the conditions are met. Both Wait for Events and Wait for Conditions have the option to select a Timeout period. Multiple events can be defined to cause the Wait to end. In effect, this introduces another trigger-like capability into the Actions. There is also an event type specifically for Wait for Events named Elapsed Time. When the Elapsed Time expires, the wait will be over, irrespective of other events it may be waiting for. Pending Wait for Events and Wait for Conditions will be cancelled each time a rule is triggered, and can be also cancelled by another rule with Stop Rule Actions, or by a Cancel Wait action (which presumably would have been part of a Delayed Action).

Wait for Conditions also has an option to use Duration instead of a Timeout period, allowing you to specify an amount of time that the Conditions must remain continuously true for the Wait to conclude. This is useful for many automations that require the passage of some time in a certain state, such as a door that has been left open for more than 5 minutes. The rule would Wait for Conditions that the door is open for a duration of 5 minutes, Following the Wait period, you could have a notification action. If the door was subsequently closed before the 5 minute duration period, the Wait wouldn't conclude. If the door opened again, the pending Wait would then be canceled, and a new one begins. Only if the door is opened and remains open for 5 minutes would the Wait conclude, and the notification be sent.

Wait for conditions example.png
  • NOTE: In cases where a rule’s trigger event is closely related to the Conditions, such as in the above example of a door remaining open, two subscriptions will fire. One subscription will be for the Trigger, and one for the pending Wait. The trigger will win, thus canceling the pending wait, but if logging is enabled you will find both outcomes of the event in the logs. It is important to never use a *changed* trigger with Wait for Conditions on a related event, since it would result in a re-trigger after every event related to the Conditions, and the Wait would never conclude because would be cancelled by the *changed* trigger.

Custom Actions

A Custom Action allows you to select a device, and send any of the commands that device supports along with parameters it may take. Custom Actions are created within your actions and they are specific to the rule where created.

Hub Variables

Hub Variables are a setting for creating very efficient variables directly in the hub for use in other apps, not just in Rule Machine, as is the case with Local Variables. There are five types of Hub Variables available - Number, Decimal, String, Boolean and DateTime.

Each Hub Variable can have an associated Connector. A Connector is a virtual device linked to the Hub Variable. When the Hub Variable value changes, so does the Connector value, and vice versa. When the Connector device is set to a different value, the corresponding Hub Variable is set to that value. Connectors can be used in any app. The aforementioned DateTime, allows both Date and Time to be set. The use of Date has very limited applicability for now, specifically in the Certain Time trigger for Rule 5.0, where triggering on a specific date is possible; by using a DateTime connector, that can be a variable Date and Time.

Managing Hub Variables can be found in Settings, allowing for the creation of a Hub Variable, changing its value, creating a Connector for it, and removing it. If a Hub Variable is in use by an app, the name of the Hub Variable is shown in Orange, and selecting that shows the apps it is in use by. When a Connector is created, the type of Connector is shown in Blue, and selecting that connector opens a new tab with the Connector device settings page. The value of the variable can be changed by selecting the Purple text in the Value column. When a Connector exists, the variable value is shown with the selected attribute for the Connector.

Example: A Boolean variable for which a Switch Connector is created, will show On or Off as the possible values, rather than True or False.

  • To remove a Connector, open the device page for the Connector and remove it from that page. If the Connector is in use by any apps, be sure to clean up those apps first; the warning to do so is presented to prevent mistakes.
  • To remove a Hub Variable, click on Delete for that variable. If the variable is in use by an app, an appropriate warning will be provided, and those apps should be cleaned up before deleting the Hub Variable.

Run Actions from the Rule-5.0 User Interface

When you first create a new rule, you are creating a child app of the parent Rule Machine app, and therefor you must select Done on the main page to install the Rule-5.0 rule. If you re-open the rule, its actions can be run by hitting Run Actions button. If you change the Trigger Events in any way, you must either select Done or the Update Rule button.

Rule Logging

You can select which types of logging you want to see in Logs. This is a very good way to determine exactly what a rule is doing.

List of Actions

  Conditional Actions 
	  IF (conditions) THEN
	  ELSE-IF (conditions) THEN
	  Simple Conditional Action
  Control Switches, Push Buttons 
	  Turn switches on
	  Turn switches off
	  Toggle switches
	  Flash switches
	  Set switches per mode
          Push a button
          Push a button per mode
  Set Dimmers and Bulbs 
	  Set dimmer level
	  Toggle dimmer level
	  Adjust dimmer level
	  Set dimmer level per mode
	  Fade dimmer level over time
          Stop dimmer fade
	  Start raising dimmer level
	  Start lowering dimmer level
	  Stop changing dimmer level
	  Set color and level
	  Toggle color and level
	  Set color and level per mode
	  Set color temperature and level
	  Toggle color temperature and level
	  Set color temperature and level per mode
	  Change color temperature over time
	  Stop changing color temperature
  Activate Scenes, Adjust Shades or Fans 
	  Activate scenes
	  Activate scenes per mode
	  Open shades
	  Close shades
	  Set shade position
	  Set fan speed
	  Cycle fans
  Control HSM, Garage Doors, Locks or Valves 
	  Arm/Disarm Hubitat® Safety Monitor
	  Open garage door
	  Close garage door
	  Lock locks
	  Unlock locks
	  Open valves
	  Close valves
  Control Thermostats or Thermostat Scheduler 
	  Set thermostats
	  Set Thermostat Scheduler
  Send, Speak, or Log a Message, Send HTTP Request 
	  Send or Speak a Message
	  Log a Message
	  Send HTTP Get
	  Send HTTP Post
  Control Music Player, Volume, Sounds
	  Control Music Player
	  Set Volume
	  Sound Tone
	  Sound Chime
	  Control Siren
  Set Mode or Variables, Run Custom Action 
	  Set Mode
	  Run Custom Action
          Write to local file
          Append to local file
          Delete local file
  Set Private Boolean, Run/Cancel/Pause Rules 
	  Set Private Booleans True
	  Set Private Booleans False
	  Run Rule Actions
	  Cancel Rule Timers
	  Pause Rules
	  Resume Rules
  Capture/Restore, Device Refresh or Polling 
	  Capture Devices
	  Restore Devices
	  Refresh devices
	  Poll devices
	  Start Z-Wave poll on switches
	  Stop Z-Wave poll on switches
	  Start Z-Wave poll on dimmers
	  Stop Z-Wave poll on dimmers
  Delay or Repeat Actions, Wait 
	  Delay Actions
	  Delay Actions Per Mode
	  Cancel Delayed Actions
	  Repeat Actions
	  Stop Repeating Actions
	  Wait for Events
	  Wait for Condition
	  Cancel Wait
	  Exit Rule

Export, Import or Clone of Rule Machine Rules

Select this option to allow export of your Rule Machine rules for import to another hub, or to clone an existing rule as a base from which to start a new rule.

Export Import and Clone RM rule v2.png

Export a Rule

  1. Select a single or multiple rules for Export. You may export multiple rules to a single file, and still have the option to select which rules to later Import.
    Export Selected RM rules v2.png
  2. Press the Download button to save the file to your local drive in the designated file download location for your browser. Typically this will be your Downloads folder.
    Export RM rule v2.png

Restore or Import a Rule

You may choose to Restore a rule instead of using the Import option. This is most appropriate for instances where you want to bring a Rule Machine rule into your hub database, but you do not want to change the name or the devices used in the rule. If you instead choose to Import, the process will pause to allow the rule to be renamed, and the devices used in the rule to be substituted with other devices installed on your hub before completing the import process.


  1. To Restore, select the saved file you previously exported, then press the Restore button.
    Restore RM rule.png


  1. To Import, select the saved file you previously exported and press the Import... button.
    Import RM rule.png
  2. Select the rules for import.
    Selected RM rule for import.png
  3. You will be prompted to replace the name and devices used in the rule if you need to.
    • NOTE: If you Import a rule to another hub without selecting replacement devices, any existing devices with those same names will be used in the imported rule. If the devices do not exist, virtual devices with those same names will automatically be created. This is very helpful when you need to replace devices of an imported rule, but do not yet have the devices available that will replace them.
      Rename and change RM devices before import.png
  4. When ready to import, press the Import [rule name] button.
    Rule Machine Import.png
  5. You will receive a confirmation that the rule you selected has been imported.
    RM Import confirmation.png
  6. If you changed the name, it will appear with the new name in your list of Rule Machine child apps.
    Show imported Rule-5 rules.png
    • IMPORTANT! - If you import rules that contain a Private Boolean, it must be manually adjusted after importing the rule. In the following example, you will see that an imported rule will not keep the correct setting for Private Boolean after import, and therefore must be manually corrected.
      Cloning or imported rules containing PB.png
      Imported rule with PB not pointing anywhere.png

Clone a Rule

  1. To Clone a rule, select the rule from the list of available Rule Machine rules on your hub and press the Clone button.
    Select Rule Machine rule for clone.png
    Initiate Rule Machine cloning.png
  2. You will be prompted to replace the name and devices used in the rule if you need to.
    Rename and change RM devices before clone.png
  3. When ready to proceed, press the Clone [rule name] button.
    Clone Rule Machine rule.png
  4. You will receive a confirmation that the rule you selected has been cloned.
    RM rule clone confirmation.png
  5. If you changed the name, it will appear with the new name in your list of Rule Machine child apps. If you did not change the name, the rule will be imported under the same name, but it will have the word clone added to the end.
    Show cloned Rule-5 rule.png
    • IMPORTANT! If you Clone rules that contain a Private Boolean, it must be manually corrected after cloning the rule. In the following example, you will see that a cloned rule will not keep the correct setting for Private Boolean after import, and therefore must be manually corrected.
      Cloning or imported rules containing PB.png
      Cloned rule with incorrect PB setting.png