We sat down with Nick O’Leary to learn more about the current status of Node-RED and how they are helping users who are not typical software developers.
In a blog written by Nick O’Leary, the main focus of Node-RED 2.0 is dropping support for old versions of Node.js that are themselves no longer supported which allows the team to make major dependency updates internally.
The new release also includes first versions of the Node-RED Flow Debugger and Linter. These are optional plugins that really step up the developer experience within the project’s editor.
For all details, check out the Node-RED blog and watch Nick outline the release notes in this video.
Node-RED, the flow-based programming tool, has released version 1.3 as of April 2021. Node-RED is a growth project at the OpenJS Foundation.
Node-RED was originally created in 2013 by members of IBM’s Emerging Technology Services group and has been in open source development since. It is one of the founding projects of the JS Foundation in 2016 and came into the OpenJS Foundation through the 2019 merger with the Node.js Foundation.
Users of Node-RED include Hitachi, Veritone, Go-IoT, Handy.ai, and many more.
Notable changes in Node-RED 1.3 include relabelling of tabs, nesting references in Change/Switch nodes, and a new plugin framework for Node-RED. To make it easier for developers to use extra npm modules, users can now set their function nodes to be automatically run and defined in their code. It is also now possible to configure a Change or Switch node to nest references to message properties. The new configuration of Change nodes is cleaner and easier to read.
The new plugin framework for Node-RED allows for easier customization and feature addition. This feature is still in its infancy, but will serve as the backbone for new iterations. Extra functions are implemented via plugin as opposed to code, keeping the core code smaller and allowing for users to be more selective over what “extra” features they want. For now, there are two types of new plugins available. Editor theme plugins which make installing and enabling new themes easier, and library source plugins which allow for configuring of additional libraries within the editor.
To learn more about the 1.3 release, you can read about it on the Node-RED website here.
Node-RED Con Tokyo, a technology conference for all of the Node-RED users is taking place on October 10th 13:00 – 18:15 Japan Standard Time. Node-RED is a hosted project at the OpenJS Foundation. For more information and registration info check out the conference page: https://nodered.jp/noderedcon2020/index-en.html
A recent technology trend is “Low-code/No-code tools” which helps developers who have great ideas and eagerness create their own applications. Node-RED is a great example of a Low-code/No-code tool. NodeRED is suitable for industrial IoT, Web of Things, smart city projects, education, and prototyping.
This conference features a great line up of speakers talking about their use cases and technologies using Node-RED. Talks will be in Japanese or English. The conference has been organized by Node-RED users groups Japan with input from community members around the globe including United Kingdom, Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan.
– “A mechanism to grow OSS Eco-System – Linux Foundation – OpenJS Foundation – Node-RED”, Noriaki Fukuyasu, Linux Foundation Japan
– “Looking to the future of Node-RED”, Nick O’Leary, IBM
– “DevOps with Node-RED. How to quickly turn an idea into a service.”, Masanori Usami, Uhuru
– “Node-RED suitable for education in the no-code era”, Wataru Yamazaki, Uhuru
– “Utilizing IoT interoperability and Node-RED based on the Web of Things standard”, Kunihiko Toumura, Hitachi, Ltd.
– And the other 15 great sessions!
More than 200 attendees have registered for the conference. Everyone can join the free event virtually via the web. We look forward to seeing you there, virtually!
The creators of Node-RED recently gave an informative Ask Me Anything (AMA) which you can watch below. Node-RED is a Growth Project at the OpenJS Foundation. Speakers include Nick O’Leary (@knolleary), Dave Conway-Jones (@ceejay), and John Walicki (@johnwalicki).
This AMA can help individuals interested in Node-RED get a better understanding of the frameworking tool. Using a combination of user generated and preexisting questions, the discussion focuses heavily on the processes employed by the creators of Node-RED to optimize the tool.
The creators of Node-RED answered questions from the live chat, giving insight into how Node-RED is iterated and improved. Questions ranged from where Node-RED has gone in the last 7 years to whether or not Node-RED is a prototyping tool.
Video by Section
- Introductions (0:00)
- What’s been going on last 7 years (2:21)
- Did you have use cases in mind? (4:46)
- What’s it been like to work with open source? (7:10)
- Why is Node red so popular in iOT space? (9:30)
- Where else is node red popular? (12:25)
- How do you answer the question “is it a prototyping tool?” (15:00)
- Where does Node-RED fit in the low programming world? (17:20)
- 2020 Recap, what’s next? (20:00)
- New features in 1.1? (23:10)
- Flow change for nodes? (26:00)
- Thoughts about encryption? (28:40)
- Do you see Node-RED scaling? (31:50)
- Best practices for sharing readable flows (34:15)
- Do you have large applications and flows being created now? (37:15)
- What would you say to a developer who should use Node-RED? (40:00)
- What can developers help? (41:25)
- Open is a mindset, how do you wade through forums and open source? (43:30)
- YouTube Q, on the edge constrained environment modeling? (45:40)
- Node Red + AI? (48:50)
- POV on containerization (50:30)
- Refreshing node red dashboard, thoughts on replacing framework? (53:40)
- Node Red conference? (57:45)
- Last thoughts? (59:25)
Our next AMA is with the Node.js Security Working Group on June 3 at 9 am PT. Submit your questions here.
Build a hyper-local weather dashboard
Learn how to build a weather dashboard using a personal weather station, Node-RED, Weather Underground, and The Weather Company APIs and the node-red-contrib-twc-weather nodes. This tutorial demonstrates how to display hyper-local weather information from a residential or farming weather station.
In this tutorial, you will:
- Learn the basics of personal weather stations (PWS)
- Connect your PWS to Weather Underground (WU) and view PWS data on WU
- Register for a The Weather Company (TWC) API key
- Get started with the TWC API documentation
- Learn about Node-RED (local and on IBM Cloud)
- Explore the node-red-contrib-twc-weather Node-RED PWS node examples
- Import / Deploy the Weather Dashboard example
- Display PWS data in your Weather Dashboard
- Build a Severe Weather Alert Map Node-RED Dashboard using TWC APIs
- Build a Call for Code Water Sustainability solution
- Node-RED installed locally or Create a Node-RED Starter application in the IBM Cloud
- Once Node-RED is installed, add the dependencies:
npm install node-red-contrib-twc-weather node-red-dashboard node-red-node-ui-table node-red-contrib-web-worldmap
- Send your PWS data to http://www.wunderground.com and retrieve your PWS API key
- If you don’t have a PWS, you can still get a time-restricted TWC API key by joining Call for Code (which gives you access to most of the TWC PWS APIs)
Completing this tutorial should take about 30 minutes.
Introduction to personal weather stations
Wikipedia defines a personal weather station as a set of weather measuring instruments operated by a private individual, club, association, or business (where obtaining and distributing weather data is not a part of the entity’s business operation). Personal weather stations have become more advanced and can include many different sensors to measure weather conditions. These sensors can vary between models but most measure wind speed, wind direction, outdoor and indoor temperatures, outdoor and indoor humidity, barometric pressure, rainfall, and UV or solar radiation. Other available sensors can measure soil moisture, soil temperature, and leaf wetness.
The cost of a sufficiently-accurate personal weather station is less than $200 USD; they have become affordable for citizen scientists and weather buffs.
Connect your PWS to Weather Underground
Many PWS brands offer the ability to connect and send weather data to cloud based services. Weather Underground, a part of The Weather Company, an IBM Business, encourages members to register their PWS and send data to http://www.wunderground.com.
Members can view their personal weather station data on Weather Underground
Get a TWC API key and get started with the TWC API documentation
In addition to the wunderground.com dashboard, the PWS data is available through your API Key and a set of robust TWC Restful APIs. Copy your API Key and click on the View API Documentation button.
Register for a TWC API key
If you don’t have a Personal Weather Station, you can still register for a time-restricted TWC API key by joining Call for Code 2020. The API Key is valid from March 1 to October 15, 2020. This API key gives you access to most of the TWC Personal Weather Station APIs. You can complete this tutorial using this API key.
Learn about Node-RED
Node-RED is an open source programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs, and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using the wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click.
Install node-red-contrib-twc-weather nodes
Once Node-RED is installed, add the dependencies for this tutorial:
npm install node-red-contrib-twc-weather node-red-dashboard node-red-node-ui-table node-red-contrib-web-worldmap
Explore node-red-contrib-twc-weather Node-RED PWS node examples
The node-red-contrib-twc-weather GitHub repository includes an example flow that exercises each of the Node-RED PWS APIs. You can learn about the nodes and their configuration options by clicking on each node and reading its comprehensive node information tab. Import this PWS-Examples.json flow into your Node-RED Editor and Deploy the flow. Don’t forget to paste in your TWC PWS API key. If you want to explore personal weather station data but don’t have your own PWS, you can query the weather station data at the Ridgewood Fire Headquarters using the StationID KNJRIDGE9
Import / Deploy the weather dashboard example
Now that the Node-RED node-red-contrib-twc-weather nodes are able to query weather data, let’s build an example Weather Node-RED Dashboard that displays Personal Weather Station current and historical data on a map, in a table, a gauge, and on a chart. The PWS API key includes access to the TWC 5 Day Forecast, which is displayed with weather-lite icons. This flow requires node-red-dashboard, node-red-node-ui-table, and node-red-contrib-web-worldmap. Import this PWS-Dashboard.json flow and Deploy the flow.
Display PWS data in your weather dashboard
Launch the Node-RED Dashboard and experiment with the current conditions, forecast, and map. The Call for Code TWC API key might not have access to private PWS historical data.
Build a Severe Weather Alert Map Node-RED Dashboard using TWC APIs
In addition to the node-red-contrib-twc-weather Node-RED nodes, you can review the TWC Severe Weather API Documentation and use the http request node and your API Key to make calls directly.
The The Weather Company APIs includes an API to query all of the current Severe Weather Alerts issued by the National Weather Service. This next example plots those Severe Weather Alerts on a Node-RED Dashboard.
This example flow and Node-RED Dashboard might be useful as part of a Call for Code solution.
Display Severe Weather Alerts on a map
Get the Code: Node-RED flow for Severe Weather Alerts
Build a Call for Code Water Sustainability solution!
Now that you have completed this tutorial, you are ready to modify these example flows and Node-RED Dashboard to build a Call for Code Water Sustainability solution.