groov Manage: Node-RED

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 29, 2023 1:07:09 PM

Find out what's behind the Node-RED button on the groov Manage home screen.

In this week's edition of our 12-part groov Manage journey, we take a look at Node-RED. This low-code/no-code programming tool is a popular feature of groov EPIC and groov RIO.

Our engineers love all aspects of technology, so it's no surprise to learn that many of them were tinkering with Node-RED at home before bringing their excitement to work.  After some roundtable discussions on just how much Javascript coding was required (hint: as little or as much as you want), we decided to embed Node-RED into our product range and future hardware devices.

Watch groov Manage: Node-RED to see why Node-RED is so popular with groov EPIC and RIO customers.

Our customers quickly made Node-RED a runaway success. With its low-code/no-code flow-based programming style, you can use any web browser to quickly arrange pre-built nodes that take information, apply a specific change or function, then pass it on. It's very easy to visualize the flow of automation data from one node to another.

Then add nodes from the 3000+ installable, open-source nodes available on flows.nodered.org, and just about any data can be ingested and used to add value to your task at hand.

Two quick examples:

One of the more popular node add-ons for the groov RIO is a group of nodes simply called "dashboard." With these nodes, you can build simple HMI visualization of text, gauges, and trends to give operator insight into the I/O and data flowing through the RIO. This has given the RIO superpowers to be installed in more machines and factory-edge environments than we ever imagined.

Another area where Node-RED has seen solid adoption is facilitating Modbus RTU communications. Using an affordable authentic FTDI serial-to-USB adaptor and installing the Node-RED Modbus nodes, customers have liberated production data from these legacy serial devices all over the plant floor. 

We have example after example of our customers using Node-RED in so many different industries, You can read more about them in the FlowFuse blog

Turning now to our groov Manage page for Node-RED, we once again see that Opto 22 has done a great job at making somewhat tricky tasks move into the realm of smooth sailing. For example, setting up Node-RED on a PC or Raspberry Pi for secure HTTPS can be complicated. But when running Node-RED on a groov device, you don't even have to think about it, since Node-RED will use the same security options as groov Manage.

Backing up and restoring your entire Node-RED project also gets an unassuming simple button press to perform those operations.

If you are using those dashboard nodes I mentioned a moment ago, you can have your groov device launch straight to that HMI rather than having your user go via groov Manage. What a great end-user experience to give to your customers.

And of course, all the EPIC's and RIO's memory and CPU data is available, allowing your engineers to fine-tune their Node-RED flows for their end users.

Clearly, I'm a huge Node-RED fan, as is Terry Orchard with countless YouTube videos on getting started, and advanced topics for all things Node-RED. We encourage you to view our playlist.

Terry takes a half-day deep dive into Node-RED in our premium factory training class, so if you want to learn more about it and all the other groov Manage options, please register to attend a class here at Opto 22 headquarters.

Reminder—you can see all 12 parts of the groov Manage menu in a speed run by watching this overview video, or click backward on this blog to see a slightly deeper dive into each menu option.

We have just two more menu options left in this blog series and they are not to be missed, so till next week!

Cheers Mate,

Topics: Node-RED, groov EPIC, groov Manage, groov RIO, groov Manage series

Written by Ben Orchard

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