Lab Fun: Math! Dates!

Lab Fun: Math! Dates!
Photo by Artturi Jalli / Unsplash
These features are now available natively in the Rule Engine in beta!

With the sunset of the SmartThings Groovy platform announced, we noticed an influx of webCoRE users arriving in the SharpTools community who brought with them a desire for math functionality and improved date features!

While the feature request for Math with Variables is gaining more votes by the day, we wanted to quickly put something together to help our transitioning webCoRE friends, so we built out some 'labs' features!

Overall Concept

Since we already support HTTP Actions within SharpTools rules, we knew we could quickly build out endpoints on our labs environment and make those available to the community.

The beauty of this is you can pass variables to these endpoints and get data back in the form of context variables. This enables a high degree of customization and flexibility while keeping things relatively simple to use for this experienced demographic.

Math and Formulas

The /math endpoint accepts a single formula parameter that enables you to perform calculations. The beauty of this is you can include variables in the formula enabling you to build dynamic calculations.

Temperature Conversion Calculation

In the above example, we're using the well-known temperature conversion formula to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius.

C = (F - 32) * 5/9

We're able to pass our existing $temperature variable into the formula and then can access the result of the formula using a context variable.

For more details on the math endpoint check out the linked math post where you can ask questions if you need help!

Dates and Time

The /date endpoint provides information about the current date and time. You can optionally pass a timezone, locale, and format parameter to further customize the response.

Details about the optional parameters can be found in the linked date post including a number of examples!

As an example, check out the following URL which shows the current date/time in Phoenix, Arizona along with a custom MMM-D formatted response (eg. Aug-20):

You can either use the individual components from the response to build up your string or you can use the format option and get the formatted response in a single go:

Since the response is made available as a variable, you can do things like use it in conditions, notifications, or even pass it forward to the math endpoint for calculations (eg. limit rule to only even weeks).

Furthermore, the endpoint can parse input dates and format those in your localized date / time formats.

By request, we've also added the ability to check if the current date is between two dates. This is particularly helpful for things like holiday lighting or rules that you only want to run during a limited window of days.

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What kind of math calculations or rules using dates are you looking to build? Share your examples in the comments below!