Node-RED started life as an IBM product designed as a middleware platform intended to wire together connected devices, now commonly referred to as “The Internet of Things” (IOT). Node-RED provides a browser-based editor within which “flows” can be created to connect devices from different manufacturers and often speaking different languages – Node-RED provides the middleware upon which these devices can communicate. Now an open source project hosted on Github, it’s free to download and use with no limitations.
The editor itself will be familiar to anybody who has ever used any form of process flow designer tools, such as Microsoft Visio. Connecting devices is as easy as dropping the building blocks (known as “nodes”) onto the page (known as a “flow”) and connecting the nodes together.
Once your flows are wired together how you want them, you deploy them to your server and they become active.
Here’s a very basic flow, one which queries my Sony Bravia Android TV for its power status and posts the response back to my home automation platform (Domoticz) which in turn updates a virtual switch in Domoticz which is then made available to Homebridge, an open source implementation of Apple’s HomeKit platform – with all this hanging together, it’s possible to get and set the power status of the TV using Siri, e.g. “Siri, turn off the TV” gets used a lot in our house!