🎉 Node-RED 1.3.0-beta.1 released

The first beta release of Node-RED 1.3.0 is now available.

This contains just about everything planned for the final release.

The Change Log has the full list of changes in this release, but here are the highlights.

Note: if any issues are reported against the beta, we'll update this post to list them here. If you hit a problem, please do check back here before adding a comment.

Known Issues

  • Copy To Clipboard button in export dialog doesn't work in Firefox

Headline features

Function node use of npm modules

We've made it much easier for a Function node to use extra npm modules.

By setting functionExternalModules to true in your settings file, you will then be able to configure your function nodes with a list of additional modules it will use. The runtime will automatically try to install those modules when you deploy the flow.

Unlike the functionGlobalContext approach, where your Function node would have to retrieve the module from global context before using it, the modules loaded by this new feature are automatically required and defined in your code.

The edit dialog has a new setup tab where the number of node outputs and the list of modules used by the node can be configured. (If you haven't enabled the functionExternalModules setting, you'll only see the Outputs field).

You'll see we've relabelled the other tabs to try to make it clearer when the code in those tabs is run.

More details

Referencing msg properties in Change/Switch nodes

It is now possible to nest references to message properties in the Change and Switch nodes. In fact, any node that uses the RED.util.getMessageProperty(...) utility under the covers will gain this functionality.

For example, if you are receiving temperatures from a number of sensors. Each message has msg.topic set to the room the sensor is in and msg.payload is the value. You want to store the current temperature of each room in context under flow.rooms - for example flow.rooms.kitchen and flow.rooms.garage.

To do this with the Change node today requires the use of JSONata. For example:

  • set flow.rooms to the Expression $merge([$flowContext('rooms'),{$.topic:$.payload}])

More likely, users will fall back to a Function node - something it would be nice to avoid.

With 1.3, it is now possible to configure the Change node as:

  • set flow.rooms[msg.topic] to the value of msg.payload.

More details

Node-RED Plugins framework

We've introduced a new plugin framework for Node-RED to make it easier to customise
and add new features. Its very early days for this feature - but will form the basis for lots of new functionality in the future. By delivering extra function via plugins rather than core code, it keeps the core smaller and makes it easier for applications that embed Node-RED to be more selective over what 'extra' features then want.

More details

Taking advantage of this new framework, there are two new types of plugin available today:

  • Editor theme plugins, making is easier for users to install new themes and enable them in their settings file. More details. I know that @mbonani has been looking at updating his collection of themes to take advantage of this - so keep a eye out for updates from him.
  • Library source plugins. These will allow users to configure additional libraries that will appear in the import/export dialogs within the editor. We're publishing a local file system plugin (@node-red/library-file-store) as a first example. More details

npm packaged subflows

It is now possible to package a subflow as a module and publish it to npm to be installed in the palette just like any other node.

As part of this, the subflow property edit dialog has a new 'module properties' tab where you can set optional meta-data about the subflow that can be used when generating an npm module.

The process for generating the module is currently entirely manual and something we need to document properly.

More details

Editor Features

Export preview

The Export dialog now shows a structured list of what you are exporting. The raw JSON can still be seen on a second tab in the dialog. This should help users understand what they are exporting.

Selecting nodes

If you shift-click on a node, we would already automatically select all of the nodes in its flow.

With this release, if you shift-click on the left-hand side of the node, we will select all of the up-stream nodes. If you shift-click on the right-hand side, we will select all of the down-stream nodes. Shift-clicking on the middle of the node will select the whole flow as before.

We've also added corresponding actions and default keyboard shortcuts for these:

  • core:select-connected-nodes - alt-s c - selects all nodes connected to the current selected node(s).
  • core:select-upstream-nodes- alt-s u - selects all nodes reachable from the input of any currently selected node
  • core:select-downstream-nodes - alt-s d - selects all nodes reachable from the outputs of any currently selected node

More details

Keyboard shortcuts

It is now possible to set custom keyboard shortcuts via the editorTheme option in the settings file. This means you can more easily copy your customisations between instances. More details

Other Editor updates

  • If you reorder the sidebar tabs, we now ensure the first tab is always the one shown when you reload the editor.
  • Add confirm dialog when deleting subflows with instances in use
  • The Outline view in the info sidebar now shows how many instances of each subflow there are. Clicking on the number will open up the search dialog listing them all.
  • You can toggle the enable/disabled state of a groups contents with a single click in the Outline view

Runtime Features

New externalModules setting

There is a new setting available that governs what can be installed into Node-RED - externalModules.

This covers two separate things - what new nodes can be installed via the palette manager, and what modules can be loaded by the Function node.

Under this setting, you can provide allow and deny lists that are used to determine what modules can be loaded by the runtime. These lists are also used by the editor to filter the list of nodes the palette manager shows.

This new setting replaces some existing settings which are now deprecated.

  • editorTheme.palette.editable for externalModules.palette.allowInstall
  • autoInstallModules for externalModules.palette.allowInstall = true and externalModules.autoInstall = true
  • autoInstallModulesRetry for externalModules.autoInstallRetry
  • editorTheme.palette.upload for externalModules.palette.allowUpload

More details

Other Runtime updates

  • You can now explicitly set what language you want the runtime to use via the lang option in the settings file. More details
  • When stopping flows, configuration nodes are now stopped last so that flow nodes can rely on them still existing whilst trying to stop themselves. More details
  • You can able to the simplified git workflow via your settings file with the editorTheme.projects.workflow option. More details
  • httpAdminMiddleware and httpNodeMiddleware can now be an array of middleware to apply, rather than just a single function. More details

Node Features

  • The MQTT nodes now support MQTTv5 and the vast majority of the new features v5 introduces.
  • A number of the core nodes have been updated to support triggering the Complete node - Batch, Delay, Split, Join, Trigger
  • The Exec node no longer appends msg.payload by default - this routinely caught users out. This only applies to newly added nodes - existing nodes won't be affected.

Lots more...

Be sure to read through the Change Log to see what else is in there.

Installing the beta

If you want to try out the beta, you will need specify node-red@next when you use npm to update. Without the @next you'll still get 1.0.x.

So on a Pi you'd do:

sudo npm install -g --unsafe-perm node-red@next

Reporting problems

If you hit any problems, please report them either as a reply on this topic, or in the #dev slack channel. Please do not post new topics to the forum regarding the beta as that could confuse users who are not using the beta.

Outstanding work

There is one PR outstanding at the moment that overhauls the German translations. We're currently blocked on that until we get a review by another German speaker. If you can help out, please take a look at the PR.


Apart from enabling functionExternalModules, are there changes to settings.js that require updating when trying the beta?

No. Aside from the specific cases mentioned above, you should just be able to upgrade and carry on running as-is.

1 Like

I installed the 1.3.0 beta and I set functionExternalModules: true in settings.js but I'm still not getting the functionality in the function nodes after re-starting Node-RED.

Am I missing something?

@dudleyjosh the usual troubleshooting questions, my apologies if these are obvious, but it never hurts to check...

  • Did you restart Node-RED after editing the file?
  • Did you edit the right settings file? NR logs the path to the settings file it is using when it starts - always worth checking you've got the right one.

@knolleary no apologies needed, it is very often the most obvious things that get overlooked... but in this case the answers to your questions are yes and yes... so it is something else.

Just a standard install on macOS, nothing crazy or unique here either.

1 Like

That is strange. I just did a clean install, changed the settings file, ran it and I see the Function module UI.

One more silly question... you did reload the editor after restarting NR?

Yeah, I even did a commad-shift-r reload incase it was a cache issue of some sort... but no luck yet?

I've also tried multiple up-to-date browsers... Chrome (v88), Firefox (v87) and Safari (v14).

Works for me (but then I'm running from src not npm (not that that should make a difference)). Are you getting any errors in browser console especially when you open the function node settings?

I had a theory that some other node might be somehow affecting the display of the new modules elements so I dived into the html an I noted an odd class name of hide in the class list.

In my installation there is no definition for the class hide but if you have a node that has a global scope css class named hide it may well be hiding your modules list.

It may not even be another module - could be a bug/artefact (I havent dug into the new 1.3.0 src) but it is definitely odd to see that hide class in the list.

@Steve-Mcl no, that is all expected. Those rows have the hide class applied and get dynamically shown if RED.settings.functionExternalModules is set to true.

Not sure i follow Nick. On my running copy - I can see the modules list and the rows definitely have this hide entry in the class list.

Do you add / remove the hide class itself (leaving the hide entry in the div?)


I see there is no matching selector for that hide class to take effect

perhaps there is something in @dudleyjosh browser - another node with a .hide class that is making it hidden for him?

I see there is no matching selector for that hide class to take effect

The style applied by the hide class has been overridden when we use jQuery to show the row. You can see the inline style has been set to display: block - which takes precedence over the hide class. Like I said, that is all expected.

I missed the display block :embarrased:

Perhaps still worth a look in @dudleyjosh browser src to see if the divs are rendered present in the DOM (or what is hiding them if they are there)? At least to rule it out?

I installed the 1.3 beta on my personal computer (also macOS) when I got home from work and it is working as expected?

On my work computer, I tried a bunch of stuff and even re-installed the 1.3 beta again, never did get it to work correctly. I'll check the browser for errors tomorrow when I am back at work.

I just published the BETA versions of my themes with initial compatibility with Node-RED 1.3.

Since I'm very original, I followed @knolleary example and added the tag @next to them. :slight_smile:

  • dark ​- npm install @node-red-contrib-themes/dark@next
  • midnight-red ​- npm install @node-red-contrib-themes/midnight-red@next
  • oled ​- npm install @node-red-contrib-themes/oled@next
  • solarized-dark ​- npm install @node-red-contrib-themes/solarized-dark@next
  • solarized-light ​- npm install @node-red-contrib-themes/solarized-light@next

Please report any issues in the theme repository on GitHub. Links above.

P.S. @knolleary thanks for the shout-out. My themes are getting more and more known thanks to your mentions.


Hi @knolleary excellent features :+1:

I installed the beta version for testing and i think there's a problem when we Export a selection of nodes and use the button
It doesnt copy the json.

Can anyone replicate this?

What browser are you using?

Firefox v.86
(no errors in the browsers devtools)

Chrome seems to be ok