FlowHub.org: Visual Node-RED Flow Management

FlowHub.org provides a web-based process for visually sharing, documenting and collaboratively modifying Node-RED flow code. Supporting importing, comparing and exporting of flows, thus making Node-RED development more holistic and comprehensive.

Background:

Personal Use

FlowHubs Node-RED nodes support personal tokens for interacting with your own GitHub repo - private or public. Generate your own FlowHub.org token to commit your flows to your GitHub repository - private or public. All functionality of the FlowHub.org nodes are available using your own flows and repository.

Node-RED seamless integraation.
Comparing local changes and server content for flows.

How does FlowHub.org work?

FlowHub.org provides web visualisation of flows, seamless Node-RED integration and GitHub repository for versioned storage.

GitHub Integration

GitHub repositories provide version management for flow changes. Each change is captured as a git commit within the repository, direct interaction with the flows using git commands is therefore possible. Once added to the repository, a flow is has a web visualisation using the flowviewer.

Web Visualisation

Web visualisation of flows allows flows to be visually embedded within third party pages using the oEmbed standard. FlowHub.org supports oEmbed discovery, making visually integration of flows into chats or forums simple.

Versions of a flow can be visually compared using the web visualiser. A comparison of a flow distinguishes between visual changes and code changes. This makes tracking changes simpler than purely comparing the textual representation of flows. Thus providing a effective mechanism for visual code reviews. Additionally any number of versions may be compared.

Finally the web visualisation of flows provides two alternate presentation of flows: UML and 3D. Both are initial attempts to provide more understanding of visual code by transforming the representation of the code. Visual code becomes more inclusive by shifting the focus away from algorithmic code to data flows and data manipulation, thus making stakeholders and product owners more aware of what the software is doing.

Node-RED integration

Using the FlowHub.org nodes, flows can be imported, exported and visually compared directly within Node-RED. Additionally dependent flows can be referenced within secondary flows creating a chain of dependency and enabling better flow reuse and structuring.

Core Idea: Node-RED First!

FlowHub.org aims to make Node-RED a complete development environment for any and all forms of visual data-driven programming. Be it Web, ETL, LEDs, 3D, OSM, ANN or I2C.

In combination with the NodeDev package to make custom node development smoother and the introspection package that provides tools for faster development within Node-RED, a complete Node-RED centric development process can be constructed.

Visual programming is inherently more understandable for non-developers. Algorithmic centric textual programming requires much more effort to understand because of the textual representation. Visual programming centric paradigm thus provides the basis for better communication amongst stakeholders, product owners and developers.

FlowHub.org: Unifying visual programming for better communication.

Features

  1. Visually reviewing flow changes before updating flow collections
  2. Frictionless flow transfer between multiple instances of Node-RED
  3. Definition of flow dependencies between flows using the FlowHubPull node, thus enabling structured flow reuse
  4. Maintaining an overview of large flow collections
  5. Annotated documentation of flows using pink-link™ technology
  6. One-click version control of flows
  7. Automatic version tagging of flows
  8. Web visualisation of flows using oEmbed discovery
  9. Node-RED package dependency tracking
  10. Separation of visual and textual changes in flow revisions

Technology

FlowHub.org is written 100%, maintained 100% and deployed 100%: in, by and with Node-RED. To host FlowHub.org all that is needed is a Node-RED installation.

Try it out

Either install the FlowHub nodes in Node-RED and generate your own personal token.

Alternatively try out FlowHub nodes in the server-less serverless client-only Node-RED installation. The serverless Node-RED installation provides a read-only example of the integration of FlowHub.org into Node-RED. The only functionality not supported is pushing flows to FlowHub.org.

Interested?

If you are interested in having your own installation of FlowHub.org or want to know more, get in touch.

If you would like to try FlowHub.org out on your own flows, then install the nodes and generate your own personal token to interface with GitHub.


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