Node-RED Plugin for Thinger.ioJorge Trincado Castán
Node-RED is an Open Source development tool with a powerful graphical programming interface that makes it very simple to use. In recent years, Node-RED has become a favorite tool for prototyping and developing data processing projects, especially in the maker environment because of its ease of learning and use, also thanks to the support offered by its huge user’s community that has made more than 2,000 contributions. More information about this amazing project on their website nodered.org
In many different IoT projects, Node-RED begins especially useful to process and analyze data or create rules to automate behaviors in response to events produced by the readings of the IoT devices. It can also be used as an MQTT broker since it has very valid contributions to make. However, its greatest potential is obtained when used in combination with an IoT platform like Thinger.io, leaving one in charge of data acquisition, storage, and device management and the other one for processing, automation, etc.
With this approach, few months ago we release a Thinger.io contribution to Node-RED repository, which can be added to any project palette to include some nodes created ad-hoc to simplify the integration of Node-RED flows with Thinger.io features, allowing to interact with the IoT devices, data buckets or endpoints in a very simple way, just dragging and configuring nodes. This contribution was a great step to join both technologies that complement very well one to each other, however, there was still the problem of hosting the Node-RED server additionally.
Hosting Node-RED and Thinger.io Platform together
With that problem in mind we decided to increase the bet with the introduction of a plugin that can be used over all Thinger.io private instances that allows deploying a Node-RED instance and Thinger.io Platform together in the same host, just with a couple clicks, allowing our users to explode their IoT data with Node-RED in a simple and fast way, and also offering Node-RED users a simple and economical way to host that service without limitations, since it will be running 24×7 and with no flow limits, becoming a perfect alternative to using FRED or deploying the server in a cloud provider.
The plugin is now accessible on the Thinger.io Plugins Marketplace, to deploy it you will need a premium license for the platform, which can be deployed in minutes from the Thinger’s pricing page by less than 30$ / month. All the documentation about how to deploy Thinger.io Private Instance and Node-RED plugin is now available at our documentation site.
The combination of these technologies results in a system flexible enough to develop almost anything we can think of, including some nice use cases that have been reported by our users during the evaluation of the new integration, such as:
- Geofencing: This is an interesting IoT use case, with many applications in asset management, fleets or package tracking. The next flow shows how to monitor the location of any device to create an alert when it leaves an area specified with a Geofence Node.
Creating this project with Thinger.io Platform, it is possible to integrate any kind of IoT device no matter if they are using 3/4G, Sigfox, TTN or even HTTP devices.
- Data transformation: Recovering data in unwanted units or quantities is no longer a problem if we can convert a stream before storing the data.
- MQTT integration: Until now it was not possible to integrate data from MQTT devices into the Thinger.io platform. This will be improved in the near future, however, it is now possible to do this integration through a Node-RED flow that retrieves data from each topic and transforms it into data from a Thinger.io HTTP device, benefiting from the use of all the platform’s functionalities
In the coming months we will continue developing this integration, adding new nodes that allow easy interaction with 100% of the platform’s functionalities, so stay tuned for the latest updates!