What’s new in NodeRED 1.0

The NodeRED 1.0 is coming up!

The time is upon us, NodeRED 1.0 (beta) is now in the bug fixing phase, pending the imminent release. While I expect another beta update before the NodeRED 1.0 makes it to the public channel, it’s safe to say that the feature list has been closed.

This beta contains all of the remaining major features for 1.0. From this point on we’ll be focussed primarily on bug fixes only. Nick O'Leary

I’ve installed the NodeRED 1.0 (beta.3) to poke around and see what has changed.

What’s new in NodeRED 1.0

Apart from “under the hood” changes, NodeRED 1.0 comes with tweaks to the UI, improved message handling and a full asynchronous mode. Some of the planned features for the 1.0 were implemented in earlier versions – like context explorer and persistent variables.

User Interface changes

Node list

You will notice, that some nodes didn’t make it to the 1.0 release (Twitter, feedparser, GPIO) but these are still available via Palette Manager. The nodes have been categorised better too.

Shortcuts

There are a couple of new shortcuts and improvements too:

  • Ctrl + D (deploy flows)
  • Ctrl + click (search nodes – works on the wires as well)
  • Ctrl + Alt + L (clear debug messages)
  • Ctrl + Shift + P (Action List)
Subflows

Subflows come with predefined variables. You can specify the values of assigned variables to a subflow. This is extremely helpful when creating configuration files. Now, you could pick your settings from the side panel, deploy the flow and have it all set for you.

JSON

There is a visual tab to build and edit your JSON files. I have a great intro to JSON for you, but the visual editor should make things even better, as you can build complicated arrays without worrying about the correct number of brackets.

Link In|Out

There is also a new way to send the message object to a new Flow and trigger it. You can drop a pair of link nodes. Link Out captures the message object and sends it to Link In node deployed in another Flow. These nodes have to be coupled together in configuration to work.

Installing NodeRED 1.0

Before you even start with NodeRED, you are advised to update the nodejs and npm even on the fresh installation of Raspbian (Buster). So let’s do just that in case you start with Raspbian Lite version.

nodejs -v
npm -v

The target versions (25 Aug 2019) are nodejs v12.9.0 and npm 6.11.2 so if you are running behind or missing the packages follow:

npm & nodeJS

If you don’t have the packages installed running this:

sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get upgrade 
sudo apt-get install nodejs npm 

will bring you to nodejs v10.15.2 and npm 5.8.0 which is not enough to remove the warning. Further updates are needed.

Check the currently available version of nodeJS here and install using the following commands:

nodeJS
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_12.x | sudo bash - 
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs 
npm
sudo  npm install -g npm@next

Install NodeRED 1.0 (beta)

It’s time to install the main thing – NodeRED 1.0 and you can do this with a single line of code: sudo npm install -g --unsafe-perm node-red@next. Once installed run node-red to start it.

Conclusion

NodeRED 1.0 release is imminent, which means soon you will get to enjoy it on the main channel! The 1.0 is not the end of the development and the work will continue. I have been using NodeRED for almost 2 years now and hands down, it’s the most robust platform when it comes to home automation without serious programming skills. If you want to up your NodeRED game I have 7 part series introducing you to the concept of NodeRED and series of articles that cover other topics (security, communication and more). If you have any questions, visit this Reddit thread.

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