Node-RED & Node.js: visual programming and scripting in IoT development

Node-RED is built on Nodejs, bringing new experiences to IoT and other applications. Nodejs empowers developers to use JavaScript on the server side, and also supports Node-RED to rapidly build business processes quickly.

Node-RED: A Visualization Tool to Simplify Processes


Node-RED is a stream-based programming tool designed to allow developers to easily create applications through a graphical interface. Its biggest advantage is visual programming, an approach that is particularly well suited for rapid prototyping and simple process automation.

1. Graphical Programming Environment

Node-RED provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that allows developers to define data flow by connecting nodes. This graphical approach greatly reduces the complexity of programming and allows non-professional developers to get started quickly.

2. Rich Node Library

Node-RED has a large number of predefined nodes that support a variety of protocols and services. Whether it is HTTP request, MQTT communication, or interaction with the database, developers can easily find the corresponding nodes and quickly integrate various functions.


3. Real-time debugging and monitoring

In Node-RED, developers can view and debug data streams in real time. Through the debugging panel, the status and output of each node can be monitored to quickly find and solve problems. This real-time debugging feature improves the efficiency of development and operation and maintenance.

Nodejs: flexible and powerful scripting environment


Nodejs is a runtime environment based on the V8 engine, known for its non-blocking I/O and event-driven architecture. It is suitable for developing high-performance server-side applications, and is also widely used in the Internet of Things.

1. Efficient event-driven model

Nodejs employs event-driven and non-blocking I/O, allowing it to excel in handling large numbers of concurrent requests. IoT devices often need to handle large amounts of data and high-frequency requests, and Nodejs is able to provide excellent performance in such scenarios.

2. Huge Ecosystem

Nodejs’ NPM ecosystem provides a huge number of open source packages covering a wide range of requirements from device communication to data processing. Developers can easily bring in off-the-shelf modules to speed up development and implement complex functionality.


3. Flexible Scripting

Nodejs allows developers to write flexible JavaScript scripts to handle complex business logic and data manipulation. Compared to the graphical programming of Node-RED, Nodejs is more suitable for application scenarios that require a high degree of customization and fine-grained control.

Choose Node-RED or Nodejs?

1. Development threshold

Node-RED’s graphical interface lowers the programming threshold and is suitable for rapid development and prototyping. For IoT projects that need to be built and tested quickly, Node-RED is a good choice. Nodejs, on the other hand, requires developers to have a certain programming foundation, which is suitable for projects that require flexible programming and complex logic control.

2. Performance requirements

For applications with high concurrency and real-time requirements, Nodejs has obvious performance advantages. Its non-blocking I/O model can efficiently handle a large number of requests and is suitable for the core server side of the IoT system. While Node-RED is more suitable for data processing and visualization interface interaction, suitable as an auxiliary tool.

3. Integration and Extension

Node-RED excels in integrating third-party services and platforms, providing a wealth of nodes and plug-ins to facilitate developers to quickly realize the function. And Nodejs, through the NPM ecosystem, can achieve more customization and extension, suitable for applications that require complex functionality and extensibility.


Node-RED and Nodejs each have unique strengths and are suitable for different IoT development scenarios. Node-RED is suitable for rapid prototyping and simple applications with its graphical programming and simplified development process. Nodejs, on the other hand, is suitable for complex backend services and high concurrency processing with its high performance and flexibility.

Node-RED is widely popular in China, and enterprise developers value its rapid prototyping and process visualization advantages for IoT automation. Zongheng company uses Node-RED to provide customers with secondary development and customization, building a series of industrial-grade IoT solutions for different industries.


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