Node Red visual programming on PC & RPi

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I came across Node RED as I was looking into IoT projects to do with Raspberry Pi. You can use it on PC’s and on Raspberry Pi’s, it comes installed in the Noobs package.

It is an Open Source visual programming language that you plug actions into each other to create a flow of actions. It uses Node.Js and is written in JavaScript.

There are specific blocks that do certain actions, and it is focused at the Internet Of Things devices. Triggers tend to be manual or timed. It can use the MQTT broker protocol to be a client or a subscriber and also link to databases. Sounds seriously powerful. It basically runs as a server on Raspberry Pi or PC and you access it through a browser.

I got very excited about this initially, but after setting it up and just doing a simple 2 node send time to file I got a bit frustrated. It ended up being the File node I was using was the wrong one. I was using the utf8 or buffer output instead of the append to file/delete one. So as a noob some frustration with nodes not being as obvious/distinguishable as you’d think. So that’s made me cautious. If you can’t do the real basic’s simply then the rest of the programme does not bode well as to its usability.

Although, to be fair, when I first started using Knime, that has a similar visual flow process I struggled with the nodes. Now, I still struggle with them but I’ve produced some nice stuff using that tool.

Node RED on Raspberry Pi

I’ve just opened up the Pi and looked at the software and fired it up. You need to keep a terminal window open (running server) then go to the browser and type localhost:1880

So can do programming of flow from Remote Desktop or Browser on PC. So that is accessible , and can test run the programme to see it does what its meant to do. So that is handy. Currently I have Ethernet cable in, I’m not sure how fast it would be over Wifi alone.

Another thing that I wonder about, in tutorials with Raspberry Pi’s I haven’t seen this being used much to run actual code. There is also Python that I want to play with too.

I will add more later when I’ve found a use case

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