What is Node-RED? Mastering Smart Home Automation 2024 What is Node-RED? Mastering Smart Home Automation 2024

What is Node-RED? Mastering Smart Home Automation 2024

What is Node RED? It’s an open-source visual programming tool that wires together devices, APIs, and online services in an intuitive and flow-based manner …

Imagine coming home after a long day at work, and with a simple voice command or touch, your lights gradually illuminate, and the thermostat adjusts to your preferred temperature. Seems unreal, no? Not anymore. Node-RED makes all this possible, bringing automation to your fingertips. It's not just a tool; it's a game-changer in the world of home automation. But what is Node RED?

Node RED is a visual programming tool that allows you to wire together devices, APIs, and online services in an intuitive manner. From customizing smart lighting scenarios to integrating security systems and creating intricate routines, Node-RED does it all. Its open-source nature and active community support mean that the automation possibilities are virtually limitless.

Let's discuss what is Node RED along with its functionalities, examples, and more!

What is Node RED?

What is Node RED? It’s an open-source visual programming tool that wires together devices, APIs, and online services in an intuitive and flow-based manner. It simplifies the process of creating automation and integration flows using nodes and is accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise.

Node-RED was initially introduced in 2013 by IBM Emerging Technology.

Now that you know what is Node RED, let’s discuss how it facilitates you in creating industrial IoT applications:

  • Firstly, it provides an extensive library of pre-built nodes, offering developers a wealth of functionalities. These nodes enable the seamless execution of intricate tasks like data transmission through protocols such as MQTT, Modbus/TCP, or email.

There are over two thousand nodes currently available, along with ongoing contributions from the open-source community. This Node-RED ensures a continually expanding set of resources for Industrial IoT applications.

  • Node-RED is a graphical development tool, and each application's nodes are strategically positioned on a canvas and interconnected. Each node is assigned a specific role—whether it's gathering, processing, or transmitting data. This graphical interface enhances the accessibility and ease of crafting IoT applications.

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Delving into Node-RED Functionality?

Now that you know what is Node Red, it's time to discuss Node RED functions!

What is Node RED function?

In Node-RED, a function is a node type that allows developers to add JavaScript code snippets to manipulate or transform data within a flow. It serves as a versatile tool for performing custom operations on the input data before passing it to the next node in the sequence. JavaScript object labeled msg is used to convey data between nodes, and the content of the message is accessible through the msg. Payload.

Now that you know about what is Node Red. Here's how you can assess and modify a message payload and message topic in the Node-RED function:

To access the message payload, you can use:

  • var payload = msg.payload;

To modify the payload, use the following:

  • payload = payload;

Similarly, to access the message topic:

  • var topic = msg.topic;

And for modifying the topic:

  • topic = topic;

Creating a Node-RED Function - Step-by-Step Guide

Here's the guide you can follow to create a Node-RED function:

  1. Ensure you have Node-RED installed and running in your web browser before creating a function.
  2. Connect to your local Node-RED instance by following the provided link.
  3. In the editor's left sidebar, navigate through categorized nodes.
  4. Under the function category, find the function node.
  5. Click and drag the function node onto the canvas to initiate your workflow automation.
  6. Double-click on the function node to open the configuration window.
  7. Adjust the function's name in the Name field for a clear label in the workspace.
  8. Below the Name field, you'll find different tabs for configuration and writing JavaScript logic based on the context.
  9. If you have logic to execute at the start of the node, use the On Start tab. This code runs once.
  10. The On Stop tab is where you write code for actions during node stopping or redeployment.
  11. The primary logic for your function resides in the On Message tab. This is where you handle actions triggered by incoming messages.

Following the given steps, you can effectively create and customize a Node-RED function to suit your specific automation needs.

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Applications of Node-RED Function

Here are some applications of Node-RED functions:

Data Transformation

Node-RED functions are pivotal in data transformation, allowing you to convert data between different formats. Be it restructuring data structures, converting timestamps, or extracting specific fields, these functions offer you a flexible and efficient means to adapt data to your specific requirements.

Date and Time Manipulation

Node-RED functions also shine in handling temporal aspects of data, enabling you to manipulate dates and times seamlessly. It adjusts timestamps, creates schedules, or performs other time-related operations. You can control and synchronize events within your automation flow, contributing to the precision and reliability of your system.

Text Processing

Within Node-RED, functions are adept at text processing, providing a powerful tool for manipulating and extracting information from textual data. You can employ these functions to parse, extract, or modify text strings, making them indispensable for various tasks.

Mathematical and Statistical Operations

Node-RED functions extend their capabilities to encompass various mathematical and statistical operations. From calculating averages to aggregating data, these functions empower you to integrate analytical capabilities seamlessly into their automation flows. This versatility adds a layer of intelligence to the system, allowing for data-driven decision-making within the automation environment.

Node-Red Variables

Here are two common variables used in Node-RED functions:

  • Global Variables: Variables in a global context have a broader scope and can be accessed by nodes in any flow within the Node-RED instance. They are suitable for sharing data globally across different parts of your Node-RED application.
  • Flow Variables: Variables stored in the flow context are accessible to nodes within the same flow. They are useful for passing data between nodes in the same flow instance.

What is Node RED Example?

A Node-RED example could involve creating a simple flow to control smart lights based on a motion sensor. Here's a brief walkthrough:

Drag and Drop Nodes:

  • Drag a "mqtt in" node for receiving messages from a motion sensor.
  • Add a "switch" node to filter messages based on motion detection.

Connect Nodes:

  • Connect the output of the "mqtt in" node to the input of the "switch" node.

Configure Nodes:

  • Configure the "mqtt in" node to subscribe to the motion sensor topic.
  • Set up the "switch" node to filter messages when motion is detected.

Add Function Node:

  • Insert a "function" node to customize the logic.
  • Inside the function node, use JavaScript to determine if it's daytime or nighttime.

Control Lights:

  • Connect the output of the function node to a "mqtt out" node to send commands to smart lights.
  • Configure the "mqtt out" node to publish messages to the smart lights topic.

Deploy the Flow:

  • Click "Deploy" to activate the flow.

What is Node RED Dashboard?

The Node-RED Dashboard simplifies the creation of interactive web-based user interfaces for IoT and home automation projects. It's a visualization tool that allows you to monitor and control smart home automation through a customizable and user-friendly dashboard.

Here are some components of the Node-RED Dashboard:

  • Intuitive Visualization: Node-RED Dashboard offers a user-friendly interface with intuitive visualizations, allowing easy monitoring and control of automation flows.
  • Diverse Widget Library: Various widgets, including gauges, charts, and switches, enable users to represent and interact with data in diverse ways.
  • Real-Time Updates: Supports real-time updates, ensuring instant reflection of changes in underlying data or device states on the dashboard.
  • Customizable Layouts: Users can customize the dashboard's layout, arranging widgets to suit their preferences for an optimized user experience.

What is Node RED's Role in Home Automation?

Let's look at the what is Node RED role in home automation:

  • Remote Control: The dashboard allows users to remotely control smart devices. For example, you can toggle lights, adjust smart thermostat settings, or lock/unlock doors directly from the dashboard.
  • Alerts and Notifications: Featuring Node RED's functionality, the dashboard is configured to send alerts and notifications based on predefined conditions, enhancing your awareness of critical events.
  • Device Monitoring: Provides a centralized platform to monitor the status of various smart home devices. You can quickly assess the state of sensors, lights, thermostats, smart speakers, and more.

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What is Node RED? Node-RED is a dynamic and versatile platform that empowers beginners and experienced developers in automation and IoT. Through its visual programming approach, Node RED simplifies the process of wiring together devices, APIs, and online services. It makes home automation way easier for homeowners and tech geeks alike.

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