Node RED v4 : Single File Executable


It's Back!!
Single File Executable for Node RED v4 (With the option of embedding your flows)

Some History:

A while ago, I posted a guide on how to create an SFE :
See Node-RED Standalone Executable - #12 by marcus-j-davies

This quickly become incompatible shortly after, due to ESM being used and various other changes in the core, so I have spent many many hours in getting this working... and


I share a new guide:

  • Easier
  • Node RED v4
  • Allows embedding a flow (i.e protecting your IP)
  • Allows hiding your logic

It contains the following routines:

  • Converting the ES Modules to CommonJS (got for example, used by the http-request node)
  • Bundling Node RED to a single file
  • Patching Node RED and other source files, where needed
  • Packing them into an executable
  • You don't need to do the above yourself :grin:

What's more, this new guide has an easier way to embed your flows, that are loaded from within the executable.

Let's Begin

Adjust the Settings "file"

The Node RED settings object, can be found in main-source.js
you will see some hackery here - don't mess with it, such as the userDir redirect

  • Only change flowFile if it is different.

  • You MUST change secret !

  • disableUI should be set to true (IF) embedding the flow.
    The editor security routines, seems to want to write to userDir, so just disable it.

    NOTE: This should be done just before compiling the executable
    (not during design) - see below

you can (I think) treat this like the standard settings.js file


  • If you DON'T want to embed a flow [ userDir : {PWD}/Home ]

    • npm run-script build
    • npm run-script package
  • If you DO want to embed a flow [ userDir : Embedded ]

    • npm run-script design
    • Design your flow, publish, install nodes etc etc
    • Terminate once you're done
    • set disableUI to true (if you want to hide the Editor)
    • npm run-script build
    • npm run-script package


You now have a Node RED executable in ./build/dist
as well as embedded nodes and the flow being run from the embedded flows file, if you decided to.


I have spent sometime getting this right and working, but I more than happy for contribution here.
I'm sure it can be optimised in areas!

I developed this toolkit on OSX, but can't see why it wouldn't work on other platforms.
And do note: the executable is built for the platform this toolkit is run.

Note : I have favoured Node 20 in these scripts

Please do comment and add your input

Enjoy (now I am off for a gin :grin:)




You no longer need to install extra nodes via the command line.
you can install them as normal. :smiley:

(I have updated the guide above, and the Gist)