Tiles, Super Tiles, and Custom Tiles Compared

As you build dashboards in SharpTools, you'll inevitably come across special tile types like Super Tiles and Custom Tiles. This article describes each of these tile types, how they compare to regular tiles, and why you might want to use one over the other. 

Basic Tiles Low Predetermined Thing Attribute Display / Actions
Hero Attribute Medium Mix and match attributes (one thing), basic action customization
Super Tile Medium-High Mix and match data from things / variables, basic action customization
Custom Tile Developer* Fully customizable (can even be mini ‘apps’)
* Custom Tiles developed by other community members can also be imported to your own account

Basic Tiles

The first type of tiles you're likely to come across are the basic tile layouts that are automatically used when you add a Thing, Variable, Media, or other type of resource to your dashboard. For Thing tiles, the system automatically picks the relevant tile layout based on the primary 'capability' of the thing. For example, if the device has Switch capabilities with on/off commands, you'll see the Switch tile and if the device has Thermostat capabilities, you'll see the Thermostat tile.

If the Thing has multiple capabilities, you can also change the tile layout to use one of the other capability based layouts. 

Similarly, as you add other resources like Dashboards, Media, Hyperlinks, Calendars, and more to your dashboard, you'll find that each of these resources has an associated tile type which enables you to display and interact with the associated resource.

Many of the basic tiles are almost like mini "apps" -- they provide a smooth, tailored experience that's intuitive to use 'out-of-the-box'. If you could pull back the curtain, you'd find quite a bit of logic to provide such a smooth experience. As such, you may find that Basic Tiles are more feature-rich (for their targeted use-case) than you could accomplish with Hero Attribute or Super Tiles.

Hero Attribute Tiles

For Things that implement custom attributes or aren't directly covered by one of the standard tiles, you can also change the tile layout to use the Hero Attribute layout. The Hero Attribute Tile enables you to display any attribute from a device as the main content on a tile and optionally display a secondary attribute in the footer. 

Hero Attribute tiles are unique in that they provide a more flexible interface for setting the style and icon for the tile. Internally, we refer to this as the State Mapping Editor since it lets you set various 'state' conditions for when each style or icon is applied. 

Most attribute values are lowercase, so be sure to check the documentation for your thing when adjusting states. 

Super Tiles (Premium)

When Basic Tiles or Hero Attribute Tiles don't meet your needs, you may find yourself reaching for Super Tiles. These tiles are defined in your Manage Resources screen and enable you to build custom layouts using a drag-and-drop editor that mix and match attributes, variables, icons and more. 

Super Tiles are unique in that they allow you to mix and match data from multiple things and/or multiple variables into a single tile with a custom layout. 

This is especially helpful when you want to combine data from multiple 'things' as in a single tile – sometimes presenting them as if they were a single Thing or at least a logical grouping. You can also customize the actions for each item on the tile or the whole tile. This enables you to run rules, control things, and open hyperlinks – opening up a wide variety of possibilities. 

Custom Tiles (Premium)

Custom Tiles can be used to embed web pages or integrate with other services using standard web technology like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They're generally targeted to more of a 'developer' audience as they require the aforementioned technology skills, but the community has also begun sharing their creations -- making it so you can just import someone else's custom tile and use it as your own. 

Custom Tiles are unique in that they provide full control over what's displayed in a tile and can interact with external services.

Examples of community developed custom tiles include weather widgets, air quality data, geopresence and mapping, music, slideshows, and more. 

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