Bixby Home Studio Basics

Bixby Home Studio (BHS), a web-based graphical interface tool, helps developers design the voice interfaces between the Bixby virtual assistant and smart devices registered with SmartThings. In BHS, you create logical action flows using connected nodes and save them in voice metadata files. You can add intelligence to the voice commands by creating voice metadata. You can also test your action flows and submit them for testing, review, and release (available to the user).

Launching and Configuring Bixby Home Studio

Launch BHS in your browser by visiting https://bhs.bixbydevelopers.com.

BHS displays the Settings window. If you're not logged in to your Samsung Account, you'll receive a prompt to sign in.

BHP settings

If BHS doesn't open the Settings window by default, click on the Settings icon towards the bottom of the left-side menu bar.

Settings Icon in BHS

You can configure BHS for your device in the Settings window:

  1. Select the preferred language for testing purposes under Hints/Dialogue Language.
  2. Select the maximum number of backups for metadata.
  3. Click on Save.

Configuring a SmartThings Device

Connecting a SmartThings device enables you to associate multiple voice capabilities with that device. At the bottom left of the screen, click the Device Details icon. A menu opens up.

Device details window

Select a location to load the list of devices present in that location. Select a device from the list. Your device is now configured. You can create metadata for it, and then the action flows for the voice intents.

You will see the following device details in the window that appears after you click the Device Details icon:

  • Device ID: This is the unique identifying number for the device.
  • Name: This is the name of the metadata file.
  • Label: This is the name that you assigned to the device.
  • Location ID: This is the unique identifying number for the location, such as your home.
  • Room ID: This is the unique identifying number for the specific location of the device, such as your living room at home.
  • Manufacturer: This is the device manufacturer.
  • VID: This is the vendor identifier number assigned to your device.

If a device is offline, then “[offline]” will be displayed next to the device name, as shown below. The default status is online.

Device details window with name of selected offline device highlighted

Creating a New Voice Metadata Project

To create a new project, start by clicking the ⊕ icon in the left menu bar. If you haven't created any projects yet, you can also click the New Project button in the sidebar.

Image to create new voice metadata

Choosing Initial Metadata Creation Option

Select the SmartThings location and device from the menus. Then choose one of these options:

New Project Info Screen

If a device is offline, then “[offline]” will be displayed next to the device name, as shown below. The default status is online.

Partial Image of New Project Info Screen with Offline Device Name Highlighted

For more information about which metadata option to choose, see the appropriate section below.

Create Metadata Using SmartThings Capabilities of the Device

Choose this option if your device already supports existing SmartThings capabilities and can therefore use BHS' general purpose graph metadata. Many SmartThings devices (switches, bulbs, thermostats, plugs, etc.) and SmartThings-compatible third party devices support SmartThings capabilities.

If the SmartThings Device you select supports existing SmartThings capabilities, you will be able to select Create metadata using SmartThings capabilities of the device. If the SmartThings Device you select doesn't support existing SmartThings capabilities, this option will be disabled.

To learn more about existing SmartThings capabilities, see the list of standard SmartThings capabilities.

Click NEXT. Now you're prompted to select voice intents from the selected device's existing capabilities. Voice intents are a set of user's intentions that Bixby can understand from natural voice commands. Different capabilities support various voice intents. Select voice intents.

For more information on voice intents, read the voice intents reference page.

Select the Voice Command

Click NEXT. Add the project name and click DONE.

Create new project

Create Metadata From Scratch

Choose this option if you want to create all of your own metadata. If the SmartThings Device you select doesn't support existing SmartThings capabilities and you're not planning to work on an existing metadata file, you should select this option. If your SmartThings Device doesn't support existing SmartThings capabilities, you can create metadata from scratch by using different capabilities, which utilize protocols that are different from those of SmartThings capabilities, to create your BHS graph.

Click NEXT. Now you're prompted to select voice intents supported by a specific Bixby Voice Category. Select a Bixby Voice Category. Then, select voice intents from the list.

Choose Bixby Voice Category and Voice Intents

Click NEXT. Add the project name and click DONE.

Choose Bixby Voice Category and Voice Intents

Update From Existing Metadata

Choose this option if you're working with other people, so you can download an existing metadata file from the server. You can modify the downloaded metadata and publish it to the cloud.

Click NEXT. Now you're prompted to select voice intents from released projects. Select an MNID (the manufacturer ID assigned to developers by SmartThings). Then, select a VID (vendor identifier number assigned to your device) from the list. Click NEXT.

Choose Bixby Voice Category and Voice Intents

Note

To edit the metadata after the project is created, click the BHP Metadata icon BHP Metadata icon at the top left corner of the menu bar in the main editor window.

Displaying Voice Intents

BHS now displays its main editor screen with the voice intents you added or that were included in the existing metadata you selected, displayed in the Voice Intents section of the left sidebar.

BHS main editor screen

Confirm or Edit Device Configuration Information

To view or update device configuration information, click Metadata profile in the left sidebar. A new tab opens, which contains the following information:

  • Name (of the voice metadata file)
  • Version (of the voice metadata file)
  • MNID (the manufacturer ID assigned to developers by SmartThings)
  • VID (the vendor identifier number assigned to your device)

voice metadata info

Bixby Home Studio Tour

BHS follows design patterns you'll likely be familiar with if you've used other graphical user interfaces for Internet of Things (IoT) devices: a sidebar on the left and a larger tabbed editor window to the right.

The BHS interface has five main areas:

  1. Editor: the main area of the window
  2. Activity Bar: vertical, along the leftmost edge of the metadata sidebar
  3. Metadata Sidebar: left sidebar, right next to activity bar
  4. Action Flow Nodes: in a hidden sidebar to the right of metadata sidebar, opens when you click the Graph icon under a voice intent in metadata sidebar
  5. Status Bar and Console: horizontal, along the the bottom of the window

Editor

In the editor, you can create action flows, execution graphs that start with a user's spoken command and lead to the appropriate commands to send to the smart device. To create logical action flows to export to your device, you simply drag and drop nodes in the editor. It has a grid background to help you organize your flows. Also, you can easily move nodes around and connect them to each other. You can also select a group of nodes by dragging a highlight box around them, in order to move, delete, or copy them.

Bixby Home Studio's main screen

At the top right of the editor, there are four action buttons:

  • Try It: test an action flow
  • Align: align the current graph
  • Raw: display the graph as raw JSON data
  • Show Diff: show differences between the current graph and the latest deployed version

Activity Bar

BHS’ left margin displays five icons, three at the top and two at the bottom. These activity bar icons switch between various tasks used in action flow development.

BHS Activity Bar

In order from top to bottom:

Action Flow Nodes

You can drag these nodes into the home editor window to create the action flow graph. Each node performs a specific action. An action flow contains different types of nodes connected by execution and data paths. By associating a voice intent with an action flow, you specify the behavior the device should exhibit for that voice intent.

Nodes are the functions that developers can use in BHS. A node consists of the following components:

  • Configuration: This describes how the node is set up.
  • Data input/output ports: These ports transfer information into and out of the node. For more information, see the Data Types reference page.
  • Triggering ports: These are where the node receives or sends the execution flow.

To help you better keep track of what various nodes do, you can add inline node comments.

The action flow nodes are grouped by category:

  • Function: These include nodes that start or end an action flow.
  • SmartThings: These nodes can get information about the SmartThings device's specified capability attribute or execute a specified capability command of the device.
  • Value: These nodes allow you to operate on values like store, read, define constants, map values, etc.
  • Utterance: These nodes can perform various functions related to user utterances.
  • Comparison: These nodes compare numerical and string values for various objectives.
  • JSON: These nodes allow you to perform various actions related to JSON data.
  • Mode: These nodes return attributes and lists of labels that are mapped to the node's relevant input ports.
  • Common response: These nodes send the user default dialogue for various situations.
  • Duration utility: These nodes can convert numbers and strings to amounts of time or convert time values to formatted strings.
  • Flow control: These nodes perform logical operations on boolean values, control triggers according to boolean values, and route triggers based on input values.
  • String utility: These nodes allow you to perform various actions related to strings, such as converting input values to strings and getting substrings.
  • Utility: These nodes can perform actions such as returning a UTC timestamp, generating random strings, concatenating values, and counting elements in a collection.
  • Math: These nodes enable mathematical actions, such as computing sums, calculating remainders, and rounding to the nearest integers.
Adding Inline Node Comments

You can also add inline comments to nodes. Sample graphs use node comments to help make execution flows easier to understand by explaining the process node by node. You can also use node comments on a single node within a graph to show useful information, such as what a node is supposed to do or what information is supposed to be returned. This graph shows inline node comments that help explain the execution flow:

Action flow graph that sets the increased brightness value of the device. Each node has inline comments with information about what the node does.

To add comments, right-click a node and enter a comment in the pop-up window on the Comment line. To make comments visible, click the box next to Show Comment.

Right-click menu of node, with a comment added and the "Show Comment" box selected.

In this example, the Attribute Node fetches all the supported fan modes for the air conditioner. This makes it easier to more quickly know what information the node is getting from the device.

The inline comment becomes visible in green, in a green-outlined box above the node.

Comment above Attribute Node

To learn more about the various types of nodes, see the Nodes Reference Page.

Creating an Action Flow

By associating a voice intent with an action flow consisting of nodes, you specify what action the device should perform for that voice intent.

Graph for turning on a device

To learn more about action flow nodes and graphs, read the Sending a Device Command guide.

Align Graphs

To streamline your graph, click the Align button at the top right of the editor.

Metadata Sidebar

The metadata sidebar displays the list of voice intents you selected when creating your new metadata project. Buttons at the top of the sidebar allow you to create, add, export, and manage metadata.

Voice Intents

Voice intents are a set of user's intentions that Bixby can understand from natural voice commands. Voice intents determine what voice commands (utterances) can be used to control a device.

For every voice intent, there's an option to either create a new action flow or provide the payload directly in JSON format. You can also import existing metadata for a device to use instead. Different capabilities support various voice intents. If you have an existing metadata graph, you can add additional voice intents.

If you want to create and use an action flow for a voice intent, navigate to the relevant Voice Intent menu in the left sidebar, and click Graph.

voice intent

To learn more, visit the Voice Intents reference page.

Add More Voice Intents

You can add additional voice intents from the main editor screen:

  1. In the left sidebar, under Metadata profile, click the "+" symbol to the right of "Voice Intents." This opens the "Add Voice Intent" window.

    If you can't see the left sidebar, click on the "BHP Metadata" icon in the top left corner of the menu bar to open it.

    Adding new voice intent from sidebar

  2. Select a Category from the drop-down.

    PowerSwitch capability in drop down of the Add Voice Capability

  3. Select a voice intent from the list of potential voice actions and sample utterances for the chosen category.

    Image to select voice action

  4. Click ADD. You can view the voice intent you added in the Voice Intents section.

    added voice intent

Status Bar and Console

The bottom of the window shows your device information and your account email address. It also allows you to do the following:

  • To view test device information, click on the device name.
  • If the device is online, a green dot is visible next to the device's name. If it's offline, a red dot is visible next to the device's name.
  • To view your BHP settings, click on your account name (your email address).
  • To open and close the console window, click the left corner icon. This is the only way to get to the Log and Node Search tabs.
  • To open the console window with the Problems tab open, click either of the warnings and errors icons. The number by each icon will show you the number of warnings and errors in your project.
  • To open the console window with the Notifications tab open, click the notifications icon (the bell).

A closeup of the Status Bar

Log

In the console, to view the log of activities that have taken place during your BHS session, click the Log tab.

You can choose to add time stamps and enable auto scrolling by checking the boxes for Timestamp and Auto Scroll, which are at the top right of the console window.

The Log tab shows a list of activities that have taken place during the BHS session, with time stamps to the left of each logged activity.

Problems

To view the Problems tab in the console, click the icons for warnings and errors in the status bar along the bottom of the editing window. This opens a pane at the bottom that shows current issues with the project.

You can choose which kinds of messages to show by checking or unchecking the boxes for Warnings and Errors.

The Problems tab, with the Errors and Warnings checkboxes also highlighted

Notifications

The Notifications tab will show you any push notifications that have been sent to you during on-device testing.

Node Search

The Node Search tab helps you find specific nodes in the currently displayed graph. This can be useful to navigate around large graphs.

The Node Search tab

You can type in the search field to find nodes by type (such as Response or Ask Confirmation) as well as any description text associated with the node, such as response text or a command. Click on any node in the result list to highlight it in the graph.

Pop-out Console Window

You can also pop the console out of the main editor window into a separate window, which enables you to more easily read the console information while working on your metadata graphs.

To pop the console out, click the Pop out window icon that is at the top right of the console window.

Pop out window icon

A new window opens, which contains the console information.

A new browser window showing the console information, with the Log tab showing a list of activities with time stamps and the Timestamp and Auto Scroll options checked

You can put the console window next to your main editor window to more easily access the console information while working on your metadata.

The console window on the left alongside the main editor window

To pop the console window back into the main editor window, click the Pop in window icon at the top right of the console window.

Pop in window icon

Submissions

To display the status of your submissions to BHS, click Submissions in the activity bar. You can also view the submission history and state transition details.

Metadata submission history

To learn more about submissions, read the Publishing The Bixby Device Graph (BHS Metadata Submission) guide.

Sample Graphs

You can use sample action flow graphs to build your own graphs. To drag and drop a sample graph to the editor, first click Graph under your chosen voice intent in the metadata sidebar. Then, in the activity bar, click the Sample Graphs icon. When you find an appropriate graph, drag it to the editor.

The sample action flow graphs sidebar selected, displaying thumbnails of graphs

Here are some additional resources on sample graphs:

Metadata Options

Aside from creating new metadata, you can also load, import, export, backup, restore, or save changes to metadata. This allows you to collaborate with other device developers on your action flows, as well as gives you backups for flows you are working on.

Load Metadata

You can update the existing metadata of the device, to add or edit voice actions for it. To do this, click the Load Metadata icon at the top of the metadata sidebar. Then, you can choose metadata to load, by clicking the New or History tabs in the Load Metadata pop-up. The metadata listed under the New tab consists of existing metadata for devices that you have never loaded. The metadata listed under the History tab consists of existing metadata for devices that you have loaded before. Under either tab, you can specify which file to load by selecting a listed MNID, VID, and version number.

Load metadata icon

Load Metadata Pop-up showing a selected MNID, VID, and file version under the New tab

Compare Metadata Changes

If you want to compare metadata changes between a file and another version of it, you can do this in two ways:

You can also filter the types of changes when comparing.

Note

For a visual comparison between the current graph and the most recently deployed version, see Show Visual Differences.

When comparing two versions of metadata, you can tell the type of change based on the icon next to the file name:

  • Changes with green ADDED icons indicate additions. ADDED Icon to The Right of Relevant Listed Update.
  • Changes with red DELETED icons indicate deletions. DELETED Icon to The Right of Relevant Listed Update.
  • Changes with yellow MODIFIED icons indicate modifications. MODIFIED Icon to The Right of Relevant Listed Update.
Comparing Original and Updated File

You can compare the original file and your updated one when submitting an updated metadata file for publishing:

  1. After you make updates to an existing metadata file and upload your new version, click COMPARE WITH {metadata file version number} in the Metadata Submission Message pop-up. Compare With {Metadata File Version Number} Button Appears in Metadata Submission Message Pop-Up
  2. The Metadata Changes tab opens. Click on a listed change under Metadata changes on the left to see comparisons of the two files.
    Metadata Changes Tab Appears and Compares Original and Updated Files
Comparing Two Versions of a File

To compare any two versions of a metadata file:

  1. Click the Submission icon in the activity bar on the left. Submission Icon

  2. At the top left, Enter the Vendor Identification Number assigned to your device (VID) in the search bar. VID Entered in Search Bar

  3. Open the menu for the relevant device category, such as SmartThings or Samsung Electronics. Device Category Options Appear

  4. A list of files with different metadata versions appears. Choose two files to compare. Drag one on top of the other to compare them. List of Metadata Files With Different Versions Appears

  5. The Metadata Changes tab opens. Click on a listed update under Metadata changes on the left to see comparisons of the two files.

    Metadata Changes Tab Appears and Compares Original and Updated Files

Filtering Metadata Changes

In both situations, you can show only certain types of changes by using the filter icon to the right of the listed metadata changes. A pop-up appears where you can make your selection by clicking one or more boxes for these listed options:

  • ADDED: Sections that have been added in the updated metadata file.
  • REMOVED: Sections that have been removed in the updated metadata file.
  • MODIFIED: Sections that have been modified in the updated metadata file.
  • EQUALS: Sections that remain unchanged.

After Clicking Filter Icon, Filter Options Appear

The original file appears to the left of the updated one. You can see the changes highlighted in green in the updated file. Original File Is on Left and New File Is on Right, With Updated Sections Highlighted in Both Files and Updates Visible in The New File

Show Visual Differences

You can compare the current version of the graph to the most recently deployed version by clicking the Show Diff button at the top right of the editor. The two versions will be compared and displayed similarly to the example below.

Show diff view displaying differences

  • Graph features that have been deleted in the current version, but did exist in the previous version, will be highlighted in red.
  • Graph features that have been added in the current version, but did not exist in the previous version, will be highlighted in green.
  • Graph features that have changed between the two versions will be highlighted in yellow.

When a node has been modified between the two versions (highlighted in yellow), click on the node to show the previous and current configuration values.

Show diff view with a modified node selected, showing changed configuration values

When the editor is displaying differences, the Show Diff button will change to Hide Diff. Click it again to return to the normal editing mode.

Import and Export Voice Metadata

If you want to collaborate and share your voice metadata, you can import and export the voice metadata in a .json file.

Import Metadata

You can load your voice metadata to the editor. To do this, click on the Import button in the menu bar on the top left of the screen.

Import Icon

Click SELECT to select the metadata .json file.

Importing Voice Metadata file

Click OK to load the metadata file.

Imported Metadata

Export Metadata

You can upload created voice metadata to a server or share it with another developer using the Export feature. To do this, click on the Export button in the menu bar on the top left of the screen.

Export Icon

Enter the filename to save to:

Exporting Voice Metadata File

Click on the Export button and your Voice Metadata will be downloaded as a .json file.

Backup Metadata

To backup your metadata, click the Backup Metadata icon at the top of the metadata sidebar. As mentioned earlier, you can set the maximum number of backups by clicking the Settings icon at the bottom right of the activity bar.

Backup Metadata Icon

Restore Metadata

To restore the metadata that you last worked with, click the Restore Metadata icon at the top of the metadata sidebar.

Restore Metadata Icon

Save Changes to A Local File

You can import a local file, make changes in BHS, and overwrite the existing file. Alternatively, you can save the changes in a duplicate file and choose its location. You can then load those recently saved files on your next BHS session.

First, import a local metadata file. Once you do this, the Save and Save as icons in the menu bar on the top left of the screen become fully visible and clickable.

Save and Save as Icons Appear

Note

The Save and Save as features are only supported in Chromium-based browsers, such as Chrome and Edge.

To overwrite the existing imported file using the Save function:

  1. In BHS, make changes to the metadata.

  2. Click the Save icon to overwrite the existing file. In this example, the name of the imported file is SampleGraph1.json. Save Icon

  3. A pop-up appears and asks if you would like to save changes to SampleGraph1.json. Click Save changes.

    After you click Save changes, a pop-up appears in the middle of the screen that says "Metadata saved to SampleGraph1.json".

To save a duplicate of the updated imported file using the Save as function:

  1. In BHS, make changes to the metadata.
  2. Click the Save as icon. Save as Icon
  3. Enter a file name and choose a location in which to save it. In this example, the file is saved as example-file.json in the JSON files location. Entered file name is example-file.json and chosen location is JSON files After you save the duplicated file, a pop-up appears in the middle of the screen that says "Metadata saved to example-file.json".
Load Recently-Saved File

If you use the Save or Save as function for a metadata file before signing out of BHS, then upon signing into BHS again, a pop-up asks you if you want to restore metadata from the file you most-recently saved.

To restore metadata from this file:

  1. Click OK. Pop-up Shows in Bottom Right of BHS Screen Asking If You Want to Restore Metadata From Most-Recently-Saved File After you click OK, a pop-up asks if you want to let BHS edit the file.

  2. Click Edit file.

    BHS restores the metadata and a pop-up message confirms that your file has been loaded. Recent files Icon

List Recent Files

To list up to five of your most-recently-saved files, click the Recent files icon at the top of the metadata sidebar.

Recent files Icon

You will see a pop-up with a list of up to five of your most recently-saved files.

Pop-up With List of Five Most-recent Files

About

To view the BHS version, click the About icon at the bottom of the activity bar.

Raw Data

To display the graph's payload directly in JSON format, click the Raw button at the top right of the editor.

A window opens with the graph's raw JSON data. You can add new data or copy the existing data to the clipboard.

Raw Graph Window

Test Action Flows

You can use the Try it out feature of the editor to test if the action flow works as intended on a real device. To test, click the Try It button at the top right of the editor.

Trying out the created action flow

You can see the green flowing dashed line over the execution path as shown below. Any obtained values or responses are shown below the corresponding nodes.

Results from testing the action flow

Testing Virtual Devices

If you don't have an actual device to test on, you can use the SmartThings simulator to create a virtual device. For more information, see the FAQ: Creating a virtual Device SmartThings community page.


Video Tutorial: Simulated Devices