Introduction to Node-RED

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Node-RED

The objective of this article is to provide an introductory understanding of Node-RED and to see how it works with 3D Repo.

About

Node-RED is a flow-based development tool developed originally by IBM for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services as part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Node-RED provides a browser-based flow editor, which can be used to create Javascript functions. Elements of applications can be saved or shared for re-use. The runtime is built on Node.js. The flows created in Node-RED are stored using JSON.

Node-RED is a great tool for connecting to 3D Repo’s APIs for model checking, analysis and data mining. Its graphical programming interface is similar to popular tools such as Grasshopper or Dynamo and allows users advanced filtering of metadata and visualising the results in 3drepo.io. Insights depend on the quality of the models and preferred format is IFC  for its interoperability, wide industry adoption and standardised data schema. 3D Repo supports BCF in and out which allows smooth integration to existing workflows.

Workflow

For the purpose of advanced search and analytics, Node-RED is installed and runs locally. Node-RED flows can be deployed in the cloud as well, however, running Node-RED on your computer is more cost-effective and also safer as you will be sending username and password in API calls.

  1. Export IFC model from your BIM authoring tool
  2. Upload the file to 3repo.io through a web browser
  3. Search and analyse data in Node-RED
  4. Visualise results in 3drepo.io and share with your team

Installation

Node-RED is a Node.js application which has to be installed first: make sure you have a supported version of Node.js before installing Node-RED.  Follow the instructions below:

  1. Node-RED installation instructions
  2. Install Node-RED Dashboards

Run

  1. Open Command Prompt on your Windows and type node-red to run it
  2. Access Node-RED editor in your browser (Chrome, Edge or Firefox) at http://localhost:1880
  3. You can start creating your first flow and more information can be found here

If you want to test Node-RED with our APIs, we a have a sample script for your ready to use.
Follow every step to see how you can automate 3D Repo environment without even opening our platform.