Node properties

A node’s properties are defined by the defaults object in its html definition. These are the properties that get passed to the node constructor function when an instance of the node is created in the runtime.

In the example from the creating you first node section, the node had a single property called name. In this section, we’ll add a new property called prefix to the node:

  1. Add a new entry to the defaults object:

     defaults: {
         name: {value:""},
         prefix: {value:""}
     },
    

    The entry includes the default value to be used when a new node of this type is dragged onto the workspace.

  2. Add an entry to the edit template for the node

     <div class="form-row">
         <label for="node-input-prefix"><i class="icon-tag"></i> Prefix</label>
         <input type="text" id="node-input-prefix">
     </div>
    

    The template should contain an <input> element with an id set to node-input-<propertyname>.

  3. Use the property in the node

     function LowerCaseNode(config) {
         RED.nodes.createNode(this,config);
         this.prefix = config.prefix;
         var node = this;
         this.on('input', function(msg) {
             msg.payload = node.prefix + msg.payload.toLowerCase();
             node.send(msg);
         });
     }
    

Property definitions

The entries in the defaults array can have the following attributes:

  • value : (any type) the default value the property takes
  • required : (boolean) optional whether the property is required. If set to true, the property will be invalid if its value is null or an empty string.
  • validate : (function) optional a function that can be used to validate the value of the property.
  • type : (string) optional if this property is a pointer to a configuration node, this identifies the type of the node.

Reserved property names

There are some reserved names for properties that must not be used. These are:

type, x, y, z, wires, outputs

If a node wants to allow the number of outputs it provides to be configurable then outputs may be included in the defaults array. The Function node is an example for how this works.

Property validation

The editor attempts to validate all properties to warn the user if invalid values have been given.

The required attribute can be used to indicate a property must be non-null and non-blank.

If more specific validation is required, the validate attribute can be used to provide a function that will check the value is valid. The function is passed the value and should return either true or false. It is called within the context of the node which means this can be used to access other properties of the node. This allows the validation to depend on other property values.

There is a group of common validation functions provided.

  • RED.validators.number() - check the value is a number
  • RED.validators.regex(re) - check the value matches the provided regular expression

The following example shows how each of these validators can be applied.

defaults: {
   minimumLength: { value:0, validate:RED.validators.number() },
   lowerCaseOnly: {value:"", validate:RED.validators.regex(/[a-z]+/) },
   custom: { value:"", validate:function(v) { return v.length > this.minimumLength } }
},

Note how the custom property is only valid if its length is greater than the current value of the minimumLength property.

Property edit dialog

When the edit dialog is opened, the editor populates the dialog with the edit template for the node.

For each of the properties in the defaults array, it looks for an <input> element with an id set to node-input-<propertyname>. This input is then automatically populated with the current value of the property. When the edit dialog is okayed, the property takes whatever value is in the input.

The <input> type can be either text for string/number properties, or checkbox for boolean properties. Alternatively, a <select> element can be used if there is a restricted set of choices.

Custom edit behaviour

The default behaviour works in many cases, but sometimes it is necessary to define some node-specific behaviour. For example, if a property cannot be properly edited as a simple <input> or <select>, or if the edit dialog content itself needs to have certain behaviours based on what options are selected.

A node definition can include two functions to customise the edit behaviour.

  • oneditprepare is called immediately before the dialog is displayed.
  • oneditsave is called when the edit dialog is okayed.
  • oneditcancel is called when the edit dialog is cancelled.
  • oneditdelete is called when the delete button in a configuration node’s edit dialog is pressed.

For example, when the Inject node is configured to repeat, it stores the configuration as a cron-like string: 1,2 * * * *. The node defines an oneditprepare function that can parse that string and present a more user-friendly UI. It also has an oneditsave function that compiles the options choosen by the user back into the corresponding cron string.