FlowForge Node-RED Tools plugin

The Node-RED Tools Plugin is a module you can install into any Node-RED instance running outside of FlowForge, that gives you the ability to work on your projects locally.

The current version of the plugin allows you to create a new Project Snapshot using the flows you have locally and push them into a project on FlowForge.

This can make it easier to develop hardware-specific flows locally, that can then be pushed out to your Project's devices through FlowForge.

Install

This plugin can be installed through the Manage Palette option in the Node-RED editor, or on the command-line:

cd ~/.node-red
npm install @flowforge/nr-tools-plugin

This assumes the default location of the Node-RED user directory. If you are not sure where that is, check the log output when Node-RED starts as it will log the full path to the User directory.

Usage

This initial version of the plugin allows you to create a snapshot of your locally developed flows and push them into one of your projects running inside FlowForge.

Connecting to FlowForge

Before you can do anything, you need to connect the plugin to a FlowForge platform.

  1. In the Node-RED editor, open the FlowForge Tools sidebar and click on the cog icon to open the settings panel.

  2. Enter the url of your FlowForge platform. For example, if you have signed-up to FlowForge Cloud then use the URL https://app.flowforge.com.

  3. Click connect. This will open another window where you can log in to FlowForge and give permission for the plugin to connect to your account.

  4. Once connected, close the settings panel.

Working with Snapshots

The FlowForge Tools sidebar allows you to browse the teams you are a member of and their projects.

When you select a project, the sidebar lists its snapshots.

You can then create a new snapshot using the flows you have running locally.

Create a Snapshot

  1. Click the + snapshot button to open the Create Snapshot dialog.

  2. In the dialog, enter a name for the snapshot and an optional description.

  3. The dialog lists the modules your flows are using, along with the version number. This information is included in the snapshot when sent up to the FlowForge project. Check the notes below on how this is handled within FlowForge.

  4. Click 'Create Snapshot'

At this point, a new snapshot will be created in FlowForge. You can then switch to the FlowForge platform and from the Snapshot view either select the rollback option to deploy that snapshot to your project, or set it as the Device Target to deploy it to your project's devices.

We'll be working on improving this workflow in future releases of the plugin - to allow you to manage more from within the Node-RED plugin.

Adding modules to a snapshot

The snapshot created by the sidebar includes a list of the modules used by the flows. If there are any modules included that have not already been added to your project, you will need to manually add them via the Project Settings -> Palette -> Installed Modules view in the platform.

Defining Environment Variables

We do not currently support defining environment variables for the project from within the Node-RED Plugin. This means that when you create a snapshot from the plugin, the platform will automatically merge in the currently defined project environment variables.

To manage your Project's environment variables, use the Project Settings -> Environment view in the platform.