Web Services Tutorial–SmartApp

This is the first part of two that will teach you how to build a Web Services SmartApp and a web application to illustrate the authorization flow.


In part 1 of this tutorial, you will learn:

  • How to develop a Web Services SmartApp that exposes endpoints.
  • How to call the Web Services SmartApp using simple API calls.

The source code for this tutorial is available here.

Part 1 of this tutorial will build a simple SmartApp that exposes endpoints to get information about and control switches.

Create a new SmartApp

Create a new SmartApp in the IDE. Fill in the required fields, and make sure to click on Enable OAuth in SmartApp to receive an auto-generated client ID and secret.

Make sure to specify the redirect URI as this will be used to validate the authorization code request. For the purposes of this tutorial, simply type in http://localhost:4567/oauth/callback.

Note the Client ID and secret - they’ll be used later (should you forget, you can get them by viewing the “App Settings” in the IDE).

Define preferences

SmartApps declare preferences metadata that is used at installation and configuration time, to allow the user to control what devices the SmartApp will have access to.

This is a configuration step, but also a security step, whereby the users must explicitly select what devices the SmartApp can control.

Web Services SmartApps are no different, and this is part of the power of this approach. The end user controls exactly what devices the SmartApp will have access to, and therefore what devices the external systems that consume those web services will have access to.

The preferences definition should look like this:

preferences {
  section ("Allow external service to control these things...") {
    input "switches", "capability.switch", multiple: true, required: true

Also ensure that you have an installed() and updated() method defined (this should be created by default when creating a SmartApp). They can remain empty, since we are not subscribing to any device Events in this example.

You can learn more about Web Services SmartApp preferences here.

Specify endpoints

The mappings declaration allows developers to expose HTTP endpoints, and map the various supported HTTP operations to an associated handler.

Our SmartApp will expose two endpoints:

  • The /switches endpoint will support a GET request. A GET request to this endpoint will return state information for the configured switches.
  • The /switches/:command endpoint will support a PUT request. A PUT request to this endpoint will execute the specified command ("on" or "off") on the configured switches.

Here’s the code for our mappings definition. This is defined at the top-level in our SmartApp (i.e., not in another method):

mappings {
  path("/switches") {
    action: [
      GET: "listSwitches"
  path("/switches/:command") {
    action: [
      PUT: "updateSwitches"

Note the use of variable parameters in our PUT endpoint. Use the : prefix to specify that the value will be variable. We’ll see later how to get this value.

Go ahead and add empty methods for the various handlers. We’ll fill these in in the next step:

def listSwitches() {}

def updateSwitches() {}

See the Mapping endpoints documentation for more information.

GET switch information

Now that we’ve defined our endpoints, we need to handle the requests in the handler methods we stubbed in above.

Let’s start with the handler for GET requests to the /switches endpoint. When a GET request to the /switches endpoint is called, we want to return the display name, and the current switch value (e.g., on or off) for the configured switch.

Our handler method returns a list of maps, which is then serialized by the SmartThings platform into JSON:

// returns a list like
// [[name: "kitchen lamp", value: "off"], [name: "bathroom", value: "on"]]
def listSwitches() {
    def resp = []
    switches.each {
      resp << [name: it.displayName, value: it.currentValue("switch")]
    return resp

See the Response handling documentation for more information on working with web request responses.

UPDATE the switches

We also need to handle a PUT request to the /switches/:command endpoint. /switches/on will turn the switches on, and /switches/off will turn the switches off.

If any of the configured switches does not support the specified command, we’ll return a 501 HTTP error.

void updateSwitches() {
    // use the built-in request object to get the command parameter
    def command = params.command

    // all switches have the command
    // execute the command on all switches
    // (note we can do this on the array - the command will be invoked on every element
    switch(command) {
        case "on":
        case "off":
            httpError(400, "$command is not a valid command for all switches specified")

Our example uses the endpoint itself to get the command. You can learn more about working with requests here.

Self-publish the SmartApp

Publish the app for yourself, by clicking on the Publish button and selecting For Me.

Run the SmartApp in the Simulator

Using the Simulator, we can quickly test our Web Services SmartApp.

Click the Install button in the Simulator, select a Location to install the SmartApp into, and select a switch.

Note that in the lower right of the Simulator there is an API token and an API endpoint URL:



The base URL for of your SmartApp’s API endpoint will vary depending on the Location being installed into.

Be sure to copy the URL from the Simulator to ensure you have the correct URL!

We can use these to test making requests to our SmartApp.

Make API calls to the SmartApp

Using whatever tool you prefer for making web requests (this example will use curl, but Apigee is a good UI-based tool for making requests), we will call one of our SmartApp endpoints.

From the Simulator, grab the API endpoint. It will look something like this:


Your installation will have a different, unique URL.


The base URL for of your SmartApp’s API endpoint will vary depending on the Location being installed into.

Be sure to copy the URL from the Simulator to ensure you have the correct URL!

To get information about the switch, we will call the /switch endpoint using a GET request. You’ll need to substitute your unique endpoint and API key.

curl -H "Authorization: Bearer <api token>" "<api endpoint>/switches"

This should return a JSON response like the following:

[{"name":"Kitchen 2","value":"off"},{"name":"Living room window","value":"off"}]

To turn the switch on or off, call the /switches endpoint using a PUT request. Again, you’ll need to substitute your unique endpoint and API key:

curl -H "Authorization: Bearer <api token>" -X PUT "<api endpoint>/switches/on"

Change the command value to "off" to turn the switch off. Try turning the switch on and off, and then using curl to get the status, to see that it changed.

Uninstall the SmartApp

Finally, uninstall the SmartApp using the Uninstall button in the IDE Simulator.


In this tutorial, you learned how to create a SmartApp that exposes endpoints to get information about, and control, a device. You also learned how to install the SmartApp in the Simulator, and then make API calls to the endpoint.

In the next part of this tutorial, we’ll look at how a external application might interact with SmartThings using the OAuth2 flow (instead of simply using the Simulator and its generated access token).