Getting started with Node-RED

The LEGO Principle

Article from Issue 277/2023

Node-RED lets you connect ready-made code building blocks to create event-driven applications with little or no code writing.

Imagine you come home and the blinds come down in the living room, subtle lighting turns on, Alexa says hello, and the coffee maker prepares a cup of coffee. You can arrange all this magic at the push of a button without staying up all night writing code thanks to the low-code Node-RED platform [1].

With Node-RED, a few elements control the flow. Each element represents a whole block of instructions that would require a large number of lines of code in conventional programming (Figure 1).

Every Node-RED flow follows the same programming principle. First, you need a trigger. In the example shown in Figure 1, the trigger evaluates a ping signal from a cell phone. You could also use geodata as the trigger by replacing the ping evaluation with a geofencing element. In either case, the event triggers the data processing, which includes queries and involves modeling data or, as an example, setting a dashboard display. All of this can be arranged visually, and it takes place – unlike many other home automation systems – in a unified user interface.


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