Packaging

Nodes can be packaged as modules and published to the npm repository. This makes them easy to install along with any dependencies they may have.

Directory structure

Here is a typical directory structure for a node package:

- package.json
- sample
   |-sample.html
   |-sample.js
   \-icons
      \-sample.png
- README.md
- LICENSE

There are no strict requirements over the directory structure used within the package. If a package contains multiple nodes, they could all exist in the same directory, or they could each be placed in their own sub-directory.

Testing a node module locally

To test a node module locally, the npm link command can be used. This allows you to develop the node in a local directory and have it linked into a local node-red install, as if it had been npm installed.

  1. in the directory containing the node’s package.json file, run: sudo npm link.
  2. in your node-red user directory, typically ~/.node-red run: npm link <name of node module>.

This creates the appropriate symbolic links between the two directories so Node-RED will discover the node when it starts. Any changes to the node’s file can be picked up by simply restarting Node-RED.

package.json

Along with the usual entries, the package.json file must contain a node-red entry that identifies what nodes the module provides, along with a pointer to their .js files.

If any of the nodes have dependencies on other npm modules, they must be included in the dependencies property.

To help make the nodes discoverable within the npm repository, the file should include node-red in its keywords property. This will ensure the package appears when searching by keyword.

Note : Please do NOT add the `node-red` keyword until you are happy that the node is stable and working correctly, and documented sufficiently for others to be able to use it.
{
    "name"         : "node-red-contrib-samplenode",
    "version"      : "0.0.1",
    "description"  : "A sample node for node-red",
    "dependencies": {
    },
    "keywords": [ "node-red" ],
    "node-red"     : {
        "nodes": {
            "sample": "sample/sample.js"
        }
    }
}

Naming

Node modules should use node-red-contrib- as a prefix to their name to make it clear they are not maintained by the Node-RED project. Alternatively, any name that doesn’t use node-red as a prefix can be used.

README.md

The README.md file should describe the capabilities of the node, and list any pre-requisites that are needed in order to make it function. It may also be useful to include any extra instuctions not included in the info tab part of the node’s html file, and maybe even a small example flow demonstrating it’s use.

The file should be marked up using GitHub flavoured markdown.

LICENSE

Please include a license file so that others may know what they can and cannot do with your code.

Publishing to npm

There are lots of guides to publishing a package to the npm repository. A basic overview is available here.

Adding to flows.nodered.org

If all of the packaging requirements are met, the Node-RED Flow Library will automatically index your node within a couple of hours. If it does not appear after that time, you can ask for help on the Node-RED forum or slack.