APIVIS is a cloud-based SaaS, with which you with a few button clicks and entering your OAuth2 credentials will get an online Node-RED editor for workflows and event processing deployed on a virtual server on an apivis.io subdomain, secured with a GitHub OAuth2 authentication sign-in process.
So essentially APIVIS has lowered the threshold for no-code developers to get started with Node-RED. We also write tutorials, curate workflows, and give online help with our AI chatbot.
The APIVIS cloud-based editor is based on Node-RED which is open-source and maintained by JS Foundation with primary contributors coming from IBM and Hitachi. According to the Github project README, Node-RED is “a visual tool for wiring the Internet of Things.”
Not just for IoT
Node-RED is not just for IoT, but any kind of application involving workflows and/or event processing. Developers can integrate data sources, APIs, and services with ease. Node-RED “code” is created in a flow, which is easily visualized by both expert and beginner developers alike.
Built on node.js
Node-RED is built on Node.js, taking full advantage of its event-driven, non-blocking model. This makes it incredibly lightweight and ideal to run at the edge of the network on low-cost hardware such as the Raspberry Pi as well as in the cloud. In Node-RED, flows are visual, so you can effectively draw your code as flows with drag and drop functionality. Each box is referred to as a node. Node-RED nodes are connected together to create a Node-RED flow.
There are plenty of nodes prepackaged into Node-RED as well as thousands of additional nodes available on npm. One of the biggest benefits of Node-RED is how widely adopted and supported it is within the IoT and Node.js communities. Because of this, there are tons of examples available online.
Cookbook and example flows
The Node-RED website features both a cookbook full of recipes that solve common programming issues and over 1000 community sourced example flows. Tasks like edge analytics, data ingestion, and server-side data migration can be handled with ease with a relatively simple flow. More complex flows can be made manageable by using sub-flows.
In the Apivis cloud editor, we are using the project setting as default. The flows created are backed by a Git repository, meaning all of the files are fully version controlled and allow developers to use familiar workflows to collaborate with others.
Node-RED excels in building backend services, but building a simple web page could be a little more challenging. This article gives some tips and tricks:
Front-end Website with Node-RED using CSS/JS/HTML : Example Form https://flows.nodered.org/flow/1bffe6808d37bd96cce283939983e758
With the UI-builder node, we can create a responsive UI. See the following example: UI-builder with MoonJS - simple, responsive UI quick example
With the dashboard node, it is easy to make a dashboard to show input from IoT devices by using nodes for different gauges, tables, forms, or graphs for time series. https://flows.nodered.org/node/node-red-dashboard
The freeboard node is also useful to create a dashboard. Follow the link to read more about it and see examples. https://flows.nodered.org/node/node-red-contrib-freeboard
Connect IoT devices are an obvious use case. Here follows some other cases:
Testing the flows
It is important to be able to test that the flows you create work as intended. Here are nodes that can be used for testing the flows: https://github.com/node-red/node-red/wiki/Flow-testing
Support with flows
We have a Telegram chatbot that uses the latest in NLP (Natural Language Processing) that can answer frequently asked questions about building flows with the Node-RED editor. This Youtube video shows you how to use it: https://youtu.be/wbkLMtuh8KA
Check it out and start building visual workflows: https://www.apivis.com