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Node-RED and Minecraft - CamJam September 2015

This workshop uses the Node-RED framework as development tool for JavaScript. Building on functionality available for generic programming challenges, we’re going to use the communication standard TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) to interact with the Minecraft API (Application Programming Interface). The material is aimed at people who have had first experience with the Minecraft API on a Raspberry Pi (say, using Python), who now want to understand what's going on behind the scenes and what TCP, API and all those other acronyms mean. It also introduces flow-based programming concepts.

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CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript
	
   - 1 -
	
  
	
  
	
  
http://nodered.org
	
  
An	
  introduction	
  to	
  flow-­based	
  
programming	
  using	
  Node-­RED	
  
	
  
! Node-­RED	
   is	
   a	
   visual	
   tool	
   for	
   wiring	
   the	
   Internet	
   of	
   Things	
   (IoT).	
   Node-­‐RED	
   is	
  
platform-­‐independent,	
   but	
   has	
   been	
   developed	
   with	
   small	
   computers	
   such	
   as	
   the	
  
Raspberry	
  Pi	
  in	
  mind.	
  
	
  
! Traditional	
   IoT	
   development	
   can	
   be	
   very	
   technical:	
   Access	
   to	
   the	
   GPIO	
   and	
   other	
  
hardware	
  requires	
  skills	
  in	
  C	
  or	
  assembler,	
  output	
  of	
  data	
  to	
  web	
  services	
  or	
  sending	
  
tweets	
   and	
   emails	
   requires	
   the	
   use	
   of	
   complex	
   APIs.	
   Node-­RED	
   takes	
   care	
   of	
   the	
  
technicalities	
  and	
  lets	
  you	
  concentrate	
  on	
  the	
  logic	
  of	
  your	
  workflow	
  
	
  
! While	
   most	
   programming	
   in	
   Node-­‐RED	
   is	
   done	
   visually	
   using	
   pre-­‐defined	
   functions	
  
(“nodes”),	
  any	
  additional	
  functionality	
  can	
  be	
  added	
  in	
  JavaScript.	
  
	
  
! Node-­RED	
  is	
  a	
  multi-­purpose	
  survival	
  tool	
  –	
  use	
  it	
  for	
  any	
  prototyping!	
  
	
  
	
  
WORKSHOP	
  CONTENT:	
  In	
  this	
  workshop,	
  we’re	
  going	
  to	
  use	
  Node-­‐RED	
  as	
  a	
  development	
  
tool	
   for	
   JavaScript.	
   Building	
   on	
   functionality	
   available	
   for	
   generic	
   programming	
   challenges,	
  
we’re	
   going	
   to	
   use	
   the	
   communication	
   standard	
   TCP	
   (Transmission	
   Control	
   Protocol)	
   to	
  
interact	
  with	
  the	
  Minecraft	
  API	
  (Application	
  Programming	
  Interface).	
  
CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript
	
   - 2 -
Technical	
  background:	
  For	
  this	
  workshop,	
  you	
  will	
  find	
  a	
  Raspberry	
  Pi	
  with	
  Node-­‐RED	
  already	
  installed.	
  While	
  the	
  installation	
  of	
  Node-­‐RED	
  
software	
  is	
  relatively	
  easy,	
  it	
  would	
  be	
  difficult	
  to	
  include	
  this	
  step	
  within	
  the	
  time	
  constraints	
  of	
  the	
  exercise.	
  On	
  a	
  fresh	
  and	
  up-­‐to-­‐date	
  
Raspian	
  installation	
  we	
  added:	
  node.js,	
  npm	
  and	
  Node-­‐RED	
  as	
  per:	
  
http://nodered.org/docs/hardware/raspberrypi.html	
  
Note:	
  On	
  your	
  own	
  system,	
  to	
  leverage	
  the	
  power	
  of	
  Node-­‐RED,	
  consider	
  installing	
  the	
  node	
  for	
  GPIO	
  access	
  as	
  well.	
  
	
  
1)	
  Exercise:	
  Starting	
  Node-­RED	
  as	
  Raspberry	
  Pi	
  user	
  
Node-­‐RED	
  can	
  be	
  installed	
  as	
  a	
  service	
  on	
  the	
  Raspberry	
  Pi,	
  i.e.	
  as	
  a	
  program	
  that’s	
  always	
  
executed	
  when	
  your	
  Pi	
  is	
  running.	
  However,	
  this	
  is	
  only	
  useful	
  if	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  commit	
  your	
  Pi	
  
for	
   this	
   particular	
   use	
   as	
   it	
   can	
   consume	
   considerable	
   resources.	
   For	
   everyone	
   else,	
   it’s	
  
recommended	
  to	
  start	
  Node-­‐RED	
  only	
  when	
  needed:	
  
1. Open	
  the	
  LXTerminal	
   	
  to	
  see	
  a	
  console	
  that	
  allows	
  you	
  to	
  enter	
  Linux	
  commands.	
  
2. Start	
  Node-­‐RED	
  by	
  issuing	
  “node-­red”.	
  
	
  
You	
  should	
  now	
  see	
  Node-­‐RED	
  starting	
  up	
  –	
  that	
  may	
  take	
  a	
  few	
  seconds:	
  
	
  
Congratulations.	
  You’re	
  now	
  ready	
  for	
  the	
  exercises.	
  
Node-­‐RED	
  represents	
  a	
  server	
  on	
  the	
  basis	
  of	
  node.js	
  and	
  interacts	
  with	
  the	
  user	
  through	
  a	
  
graphical	
   user	
   interface.	
   It	
   can	
   be	
   reached	
   on	
   port	
   1880.	
   To	
   use	
   Node-­RED,	
   open	
   a	
   web	
  
browser	
  and	
  direct	
  it	
  to	
  http://localhost:1880	
  
It’s	
  useful	
  to	
  remember	
  that	
  Node-­‐RED	
  acts	
  as	
  a	
  server	
  in	
  your	
  entire	
  network.	
  That	
  is,	
  if	
  your	
  Raspberry	
  Pi’s	
  internal	
  IP	
  address	
  is	
  something	
  
like	
  192.x.x.x,	
  every	
  computer	
  in	
  your	
  network	
  can	
  open	
  the	
  Node-­‐RED	
  GUI	
  through	
  http://192.x.x.x:1880.	
  You	
  can	
  make	
  your	
  system	
  more	
  
restricted/secure	
  by	
  following	
  the	
  configuration	
  advice	
  on	
  http://nodered.org/docs/security.html.	
  
	
  
2)	
  Exercise:	
  Your	
  first	
  flow	
  –	
  this	
  is	
  a	
  recap	
  for	
  those	
  who	
  attended	
  the	
  last	
  course(s)	
  
The	
  best	
  way	
  to	
  explain	
  “a	
  flow”	
  is	
  by	
  creating	
  one.	
  In	
  this	
  mini	
  flow,	
  we’re	
  going	
  to	
  inject	
  a	
  
value	
  into	
  our	
  debug	
  window	
  (refer	
  to	
  page	
  1	
  for	
  what	
  the	
  GUI	
  elements	
  are	
  called).	
  
1. Open	
  the	
  Epiphany	
  Web	
  Browser.	
  (It	
  supports	
  JavaScript	
  better	
  than	
  Midori).	
  
2. In	
  the	
  address	
  line,	
  enter	
  localhost:1880.	
  You	
  will	
  then	
  see	
  the	
  Node-­‐RED	
  GUI.	
  
CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript
	
   - 3 -
3. Drag	
   and	
   drop	
   an	
   “inject”	
   node	
   from	
   the	
   nodes	
   library	
   into	
   the	
   flow	
   editor	
   (once	
  
you’ve	
   chosen	
   the	
   inject	
   node,	
   you	
   should	
   see	
   some	
   general	
   explanation	
   about	
   its	
  
functionality	
  in	
  the	
  info	
  pane	
  –	
  no	
  need	
  to	
  read	
  that	
  now).	
  
4. Drag	
  and	
  drop	
  a	
  “debug”	
  node	
  from	
  the	
  nodes	
  library	
  into	
  the	
  flow	
  editor.	
  
5. Create	
  a	
  pipe	
  between	
  the	
  inject	
  and	
  debug	
  nodes	
  by	
  drawing	
  a	
  connection	
  between	
  
their	
  small	
  grey	
  rounded	
  rectangles.	
  
6. Change	
  from	
  the	
  info	
  pane	
  to	
  the	
  debug	
  pane	
  (upper	
  right).	
  
7. Deploy	
  (=start)	
  your	
  flow.	
  
8. Once	
  deployed,	
  press	
  the	
  left	
  blue	
  rectangle	
  that’s	
  attached	
  to	
  the	
  inject	
  node.	
  Check	
  
what’s	
  happening	
  in	
  the	
  debug	
  pane.	
  (Yes,	
  that’s	
  a	
  Unix	
  time	
  stamp).	
  
	
  
3)	
  Exercise:	
  Finding	
  the	
  Minecraft	
  API	
  	
  and	
  understanding	
  the	
  protocol	
  
1. Open	
   another	
   LXTerminal	
   and	
   change	
   to	
   your	
   Minecraft	
   installation	
   by	
   issuing	
   “cd	
  
/opt/minecraft-­pi”.	
  
2. In	
  the	
  API	
  directory	
  (“cd	
  api”),	
  get	
  a	
  list	
  of	
  available	
  files	
  and	
  directories	
  (“ls”).	
  
Those	
   with	
   previous	
   programming	
   experience	
   may	
   recognise	
   the	
   python	
   sub-­‐directory.	
  
Inside	
  you	
  would	
  find	
  the	
  files	
  that	
  expose	
  the	
  Minecraft	
  functionality	
  of	
  the	
  mcpi	
  package	
  
to	
  Python.	
  It’s	
  important	
  to	
  note	
  that	
  the	
  Application	
  Programmers	
  Interface	
  (API)	
  –	
  be	
  
it	
   for	
   a	
   locally	
   installed	
   application	
   like	
   Minecraft	
   or	
   a	
   web	
   server	
   that	
   listens	
   to	
   your	
  
commands	
  over	
  the	
  Internet	
  –	
  is	
  just	
  a	
  convention	
  on	
  which	
  interface	
  (local	
  socket	
  or	
  IP	
  
address,	
  port)	
  an	
  application	
  is	
  listening	
  to	
  other	
  programs	
  (like	
  yours),	
  which	
  commands	
  
are	
  available	
  and	
  what	
  parameters	
  in	
  which	
  formats	
  are	
  expected.	
  
The	
   mcpi	
   package	
   encapsulates	
   these	
   concepts	
   (connection,	
   commands)	
   in	
   easy-­‐to-­‐use	
  
Python	
  commands.	
  Sometimes	
  the	
  underlying	
  specification	
  is	
  not	
  communicated	
  and	
  as	
  a	
  
programmer	
  you’re	
  stuck	
  with	
  the	
  functions	
  available	
  in	
  the	
  higher-­‐level	
  library.	
  However,	
  
the	
  Minecraft	
  API	
  is	
  rather	
  transparent	
  and	
  if	
  you…	
  
3. Change	
  into	
  the	
  spec	
  directory	
  (“cd	
  spec”),	
  you	
  are	
  going	
  to	
  find	
  mcpi_protocol_spec.txt	
  –	
  
a	
  humble	
  text	
  file	
  with	
  the	
  information	
  that	
  you	
  require.	
  
4. Open	
  the	
  file	
  in	
  an	
  editor	
  (“nano	
  mcpi_protocol_spec.txt”)	
  and	
  have	
  a	
  look	
  around.	
  
Most	
  modern	
  web	
  services	
  (including	
  Twitter	
  or	
  the	
  BBC)	
  provide	
  APIs	
  for	
  programmatic	
  retrieval	
  of	
  information.	
  If	
  you’re	
  interested	
  how	
  to	
  
use	
   APIs	
   over	
   the	
   Internet	
   in	
   Node-­‐RED,	
   I’ve	
   put	
   up	
   a	
   guide	
   on	
   accessing	
   IoT	
   platforms	
   that	
   can	
   serve	
   as	
   an	
   entry	
   point:	
  
http://www.slideshare.net/BorisAdryan/node-­red-­iotplatformtest	
  
	
  
The	
  specification	
  states	
  that	
  the	
  Minecraft	
  binary	
  listens	
  to	
  incoming	
  messages	
  at	
  “TCP	
  port	
  
4711”	
   and	
   expects	
   character	
   strings	
   that	
   are	
   terminated	
   with	
   a	
   “n”	
   (Unix	
   linefeed).	
   A	
  
following	
  schematic	
  of	
  the	
  Open	
  Systems	
  Interconnection	
  (OSI)	
  Model	
  helps	
  to	
  digest	
  this:	
  	
  
In	
  a	
  nutshell,	
  once	
  a	
  physical	
  connection	
  is	
  established	
  between	
  two	
  devices	
  (Level	
  1)	
  and	
  
they	
  can	
  exchange	
  signals	
  (Levels	
  2+3),	
  Level	
  4	
  in	
  the	
  OSI	
  Model	
  takes	
  care	
  of	
  housekeeping	
  
jobs:	
   Is	
   there	
   an	
   error	
   in	
   the	
   communication?	
   Can	
   we	
   recover	
   from	
   small	
   errors?	
   Do	
  
CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript
	
   - 4 -
information	
  packages	
  arrive	
  in	
  the	
  right	
  order?	
  While	
  some	
  protocols	
  like	
  UDP	
  optimise	
  for	
  
high	
  throughput	
  (little	
  error	
  checking,	
  little	
  redundancy),	
  others	
  are	
  slower	
  but	
  more	
  secure	
  
in	
  terms	
  of	
  data	
  integrity	
  (like	
  TCP).	
  
	
  
	
  
http://programmerhelp404.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/iso-­osi-­layer-­model-­tcpip-­model.html	
  
It’s	
  important	
  to	
  understand	
  that	
  these	
  communication	
  routes	
  exist	
  on	
  the	
  Internet,	
  but	
  at	
  the	
  
same	
  time	
  localhost	
  (IP:	
  127.0.0.1)	
  offers	
  the	
  same	
  functionalities	
  on	
  your	
  local	
  computer.	
  One	
  
can	
  imagine	
  the	
  communication	
  via	
  the	
  Internet	
  Protocol	
  (IP,	
  Level	
  3)	
  like	
  a	
  motorway,	
  but	
  
there	
  are	
  65536	
  (216)	
  different	
  lanes,	
  commonly	
  referred	
  to	
  as	
  port.	
  
	
  
4)	
  Exercise:	
  	
  “Hello	
  World”	
  in	
  Minecraft,	
  Node-­RED	
  style	
  
Please	
   start	
   Minecraft	
   and	
   open	
   a	
   new	
   world.	
   You	
   may	
   want	
   to	
   arrange	
   the	
   console	
  
windows,	
  the	
  browser	
  and	
  Minecraft	
  to	
  your	
  liking…	
  …yes,	
  there’s	
  always	
  too	
  little	
  space	
  on	
  
that	
  screen	
  and	
  Model	
  1	
  Raspberry	
  Pis	
  are	
  not	
  the	
  fastest	
  machines	
  to	
  do	
  this.	
  
In	
  Node-­RED,	
  
1. Double-­‐click	
   your	
   input	
   node,	
   and	
   once	
   the	
   associated	
   dialog	
   opens,	
   change	
   the	
  
Payload	
  to	
  type	
  string	
  and	
  write	
  “Hello	
  World”	
  in	
  the	
  empty	
  text	
  field	
  below.	
  
CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript
	
   - 5 -
2. Drag-­‐and-­‐drop	
  in	
  a	
  function	
  node.	
  This	
  is	
  the	
  node	
  type	
  that	
  allows	
  you	
  to	
  directly	
  
interact	
   with	
   Node-­‐RED	
   messages	
   (by	
   default	
   having	
   a	
   ‘payload’	
   and	
   a	
   ‘topic’)	
   in	
  
JavaScript.	
  
3. In	
  your	
  function	
  node,	
  write	
  “msg.payload	
  =	
  "chat.post("+msg.payload+")n";”	
  before	
  
return	
  msg;	
  
This	
  line	
  is	
  going	
  to	
  take	
  the	
  incoming	
  msg.payload	
  (“Hello	
  World”),	
  and	
  assigns	
  new	
  
content	
   “chat.post(Hello	
   World)n”	
   to	
   the	
   variable.	
   chat.post	
   is	
   a	
   command	
   we’ve	
  
learned	
   from	
   the	
   mcpi_protocol_spec.txt,	
   and	
   Minecraft	
   is	
   going	
   to	
   assert	
   it	
   as	
   such	
  
when	
  it’s	
  followed	
  by	
  a	
  line	
  break	
  (Unix	
  definition:	
  n).	
  
4. Drag-­‐and-­‐drop	
   a	
   TCP	
   node	
   from	
   the	
   output	
   panel.	
   Set	
   it	
   up	
   with	
   the	
   following	
  
parameters:	
  
	
  
5. Connect	
  the	
  nodes	
  like	
  this:	
  
	
  
6. Deploy.	
  Test	
  your	
  flow	
  by	
  triggering	
  the	
  inject	
  node.	
  Do	
  you	
  see	
  what	
  you	
  expected?	
  
	
  
5)	
  Exercise:	
  Move	
  Steve	
  around	
  -­	
  and	
  build	
  stuff	
  
You’ve	
  been	
  there	
  before,	
  but	
  probably	
  in	
  Python.	
  Now	
  try	
  it	
  with	
  raw	
  ASCII	
  strings.	
  
1. Have	
  a	
  look	
  around	
  the	
  protocol	
  specification	
  and	
  look	
  for	
  the	
  command	
  that	
  sets	
  the	
  
player	
  to	
  a	
  new	
  coordinate.	
  
2. Set	
  a	
  wooden	
  block	
  directly	
  in	
  front	
  of	
  you.	
  (Hint:	
  blockTypeID	
  for	
  wood	
  is	
  17;	
  and	
  
hard-­‐code	
  the	
  coordinate	
  for	
  now).	
  
CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript
	
   - 6 -
6)	
  Exercise:	
  Retrieving	
  values	
  from	
  Minecraft	
  
So	
   far	
   our	
   interaction	
   with	
   Minecraft	
   was	
   rather	
   one-­‐directional.	
   We	
   just	
   sent	
   command	
  
strings	
  that	
  had	
  an	
  effect	
  on	
  the	
  Minecraft	
  world.	
  Now	
  we’re	
  going	
  to	
  modify	
  our	
  flow	
  so	
  we	
  
can	
  query	
  values	
  like	
  our	
  own	
  position	
  via	
  the	
  API.	
  
The	
  overall	
  anatomy	
  of	
  our	
  flow	
  is	
  going	
  to	
  look	
  like	
  this:	
  
	
  
1. Use	
  an	
  inject	
  node	
  (here	
  named	
  trigger)	
  to	
  start	
  the	
  flow.	
  
2. In	
  the	
  appropriate	
  function	
  node,	
  set	
  “msg.payload	
  =	
  "player.getPos()n";”	
  
3. Instead	
  of	
  a	
  TCP	
  out	
  node,	
  we’re	
  now	
  going	
  to	
  use	
  a	
  TCP	
  request	
  node	
  that	
  allows	
  for	
  
bi-­‐directional	
  communication.	
  Configure	
  the	
  node	
  like	
  this:	
  
	
  
Just	
   as	
   we	
   indicated	
   the	
   end	
   of	
   our	
   message	
   to	
   the	
   server	
   with	
   a	
   “n”	
   character,	
  
Minecraft	
  terminates	
  its	
  return	
  messages	
  with	
  the	
  same	
  character.	
  
4. By	
   default	
   the	
   TCP	
   request	
   node	
   returns	
   a	
   buffer,	
   and	
   we	
   need	
   to	
   convert	
   the	
  
information	
   from	
   Node-­‐RED	
   using	
   “msg.payload	
   =	
   msg.payload.toString();”	
   in	
   a	
  
function	
  node.	
  
5. The	
  flow	
  concludes	
  with	
  a	
  debug	
  node.	
  If	
  you’re	
  having	
  trouble	
  with	
  the	
  flow,	
  consider	
  
sending	
  output	
  to	
  debug	
  panel	
  and	
  console.	
  
6. Deploy.	
   Have	
   a	
   walk	
   around	
   Minecraft	
   and	
   trigger	
   your	
   flow.	
   Do	
   you	
   see	
   what	
   you	
  
expected?	
  
	
  
7)	
  Exercise:	
  Event-­driven	
  programming	
  and	
  loops	
  
By	
  now	
  you	
  may	
  have	
  realised	
  that	
  our	
  Node-­‐RED	
  flows	
  were	
  linear	
  series	
  of	
  commands.	
  Once	
  
triggered,	
  we	
  sent	
  a	
  command,	
  retrieved	
  information	
  and	
  displayed	
  it.	
  But,	
  for	
  example,	
  how	
  
can	
   we	
   iterate	
   over	
   a	
   set	
   of	
   coordinates	
   and	
   execute	
   world.getBlock(x,y,z)	
   for	
   Steve’s	
  
immediate	
  neighbourhood?	
  

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Node-RED and Minecraft - CamJam September 2015

  • 1. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 1 -       http://nodered.org   An  introduction  to  flow-­based   programming  using  Node-­RED     ! Node-­RED   is   a   visual   tool   for   wiring   the   Internet   of   Things   (IoT).   Node-­‐RED   is   platform-­‐independent,   but   has   been   developed   with   small   computers   such   as   the   Raspberry  Pi  in  mind.     ! Traditional   IoT   development   can   be   very   technical:   Access   to   the   GPIO   and   other   hardware  requires  skills  in  C  or  assembler,  output  of  data  to  web  services  or  sending   tweets   and   emails   requires   the   use   of   complex   APIs.   Node-­RED   takes   care   of   the   technicalities  and  lets  you  concentrate  on  the  logic  of  your  workflow     ! While   most   programming   in   Node-­‐RED   is   done   visually   using   pre-­‐defined   functions   (“nodes”),  any  additional  functionality  can  be  added  in  JavaScript.     ! Node-­RED  is  a  multi-­purpose  survival  tool  –  use  it  for  any  prototyping!       WORKSHOP  CONTENT:  In  this  workshop,  we’re  going  to  use  Node-­‐RED  as  a  development   tool   for   JavaScript.   Building   on   functionality   available   for   generic   programming   challenges,   we’re   going   to   use   the   communication   standard   TCP   (Transmission   Control   Protocol)   to   interact  with  the  Minecraft  API  (Application  Programming  Interface).  
  • 2. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 2 - Technical  background:  For  this  workshop,  you  will  find  a  Raspberry  Pi  with  Node-­‐RED  already  installed.  While  the  installation  of  Node-­‐RED   software  is  relatively  easy,  it  would  be  difficult  to  include  this  step  within  the  time  constraints  of  the  exercise.  On  a  fresh  and  up-­‐to-­‐date   Raspian  installation  we  added:  node.js,  npm  and  Node-­‐RED  as  per:   http://nodered.org/docs/hardware/raspberrypi.html   Note:  On  your  own  system,  to  leverage  the  power  of  Node-­‐RED,  consider  installing  the  node  for  GPIO  access  as  well.     1)  Exercise:  Starting  Node-­RED  as  Raspberry  Pi  user   Node-­‐RED  can  be  installed  as  a  service  on  the  Raspberry  Pi,  i.e.  as  a  program  that’s  always   executed  when  your  Pi  is  running.  However,  this  is  only  useful  if  you  want  to  commit  your  Pi   for   this   particular   use   as   it   can   consume   considerable   resources.   For   everyone   else,   it’s   recommended  to  start  Node-­‐RED  only  when  needed:   1. Open  the  LXTerminal    to  see  a  console  that  allows  you  to  enter  Linux  commands.   2. Start  Node-­‐RED  by  issuing  “node-­red”.     You  should  now  see  Node-­‐RED  starting  up  –  that  may  take  a  few  seconds:     Congratulations.  You’re  now  ready  for  the  exercises.   Node-­‐RED  represents  a  server  on  the  basis  of  node.js  and  interacts  with  the  user  through  a   graphical   user   interface.   It   can   be   reached   on   port   1880.   To   use   Node-­RED,   open   a   web   browser  and  direct  it  to  http://localhost:1880   It’s  useful  to  remember  that  Node-­‐RED  acts  as  a  server  in  your  entire  network.  That  is,  if  your  Raspberry  Pi’s  internal  IP  address  is  something   like  192.x.x.x,  every  computer  in  your  network  can  open  the  Node-­‐RED  GUI  through  http://192.x.x.x:1880.  You  can  make  your  system  more   restricted/secure  by  following  the  configuration  advice  on  http://nodered.org/docs/security.html.     2)  Exercise:  Your  first  flow  –  this  is  a  recap  for  those  who  attended  the  last  course(s)   The  best  way  to  explain  “a  flow”  is  by  creating  one.  In  this  mini  flow,  we’re  going  to  inject  a   value  into  our  debug  window  (refer  to  page  1  for  what  the  GUI  elements  are  called).   1. Open  the  Epiphany  Web  Browser.  (It  supports  JavaScript  better  than  Midori).   2. In  the  address  line,  enter  localhost:1880.  You  will  then  see  the  Node-­‐RED  GUI.  
  • 3. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 3 - 3. Drag   and   drop   an   “inject”   node   from   the   nodes   library   into   the   flow   editor   (once   you’ve   chosen   the   inject   node,   you   should   see   some   general   explanation   about   its   functionality  in  the  info  pane  –  no  need  to  read  that  now).   4. Drag  and  drop  a  “debug”  node  from  the  nodes  library  into  the  flow  editor.   5. Create  a  pipe  between  the  inject  and  debug  nodes  by  drawing  a  connection  between   their  small  grey  rounded  rectangles.   6. Change  from  the  info  pane  to  the  debug  pane  (upper  right).   7. Deploy  (=start)  your  flow.   8. Once  deployed,  press  the  left  blue  rectangle  that’s  attached  to  the  inject  node.  Check   what’s  happening  in  the  debug  pane.  (Yes,  that’s  a  Unix  time  stamp).     3)  Exercise:  Finding  the  Minecraft  API    and  understanding  the  protocol   1. Open   another   LXTerminal   and   change   to   your   Minecraft   installation   by   issuing   “cd   /opt/minecraft-­pi”.   2. In  the  API  directory  (“cd  api”),  get  a  list  of  available  files  and  directories  (“ls”).   Those   with   previous   programming   experience   may   recognise   the   python   sub-­‐directory.   Inside  you  would  find  the  files  that  expose  the  Minecraft  functionality  of  the  mcpi  package   to  Python.  It’s  important  to  note  that  the  Application  Programmers  Interface  (API)  –  be   it   for   a   locally   installed   application   like   Minecraft   or   a   web   server   that   listens   to   your   commands  over  the  Internet  –  is  just  a  convention  on  which  interface  (local  socket  or  IP   address,  port)  an  application  is  listening  to  other  programs  (like  yours),  which  commands   are  available  and  what  parameters  in  which  formats  are  expected.   The   mcpi   package   encapsulates   these   concepts   (connection,   commands)   in   easy-­‐to-­‐use   Python  commands.  Sometimes  the  underlying  specification  is  not  communicated  and  as  a   programmer  you’re  stuck  with  the  functions  available  in  the  higher-­‐level  library.  However,   the  Minecraft  API  is  rather  transparent  and  if  you…   3. Change  into  the  spec  directory  (“cd  spec”),  you  are  going  to  find  mcpi_protocol_spec.txt  –   a  humble  text  file  with  the  information  that  you  require.   4. Open  the  file  in  an  editor  (“nano  mcpi_protocol_spec.txt”)  and  have  a  look  around.   Most  modern  web  services  (including  Twitter  or  the  BBC)  provide  APIs  for  programmatic  retrieval  of  information.  If  you’re  interested  how  to   use   APIs   over   the   Internet   in   Node-­‐RED,   I’ve   put   up   a   guide   on   accessing   IoT   platforms   that   can   serve   as   an   entry   point:   http://www.slideshare.net/BorisAdryan/node-­red-­iotplatformtest     The  specification  states  that  the  Minecraft  binary  listens  to  incoming  messages  at  “TCP  port   4711”   and   expects   character   strings   that   are   terminated   with   a   “n”   (Unix   linefeed).   A   following  schematic  of  the  Open  Systems  Interconnection  (OSI)  Model  helps  to  digest  this:     In  a  nutshell,  once  a  physical  connection  is  established  between  two  devices  (Level  1)  and   they  can  exchange  signals  (Levels  2+3),  Level  4  in  the  OSI  Model  takes  care  of  housekeeping   jobs:   Is   there   an   error   in   the   communication?   Can   we   recover   from   small   errors?   Do  
  • 4. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 4 - information  packages  arrive  in  the  right  order?  While  some  protocols  like  UDP  optimise  for   high  throughput  (little  error  checking,  little  redundancy),  others  are  slower  but  more  secure   in  terms  of  data  integrity  (like  TCP).       http://programmerhelp404.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/iso-­osi-­layer-­model-­tcpip-­model.html   It’s  important  to  understand  that  these  communication  routes  exist  on  the  Internet,  but  at  the   same  time  localhost  (IP:  127.0.0.1)  offers  the  same  functionalities  on  your  local  computer.  One   can  imagine  the  communication  via  the  Internet  Protocol  (IP,  Level  3)  like  a  motorway,  but   there  are  65536  (216)  different  lanes,  commonly  referred  to  as  port.     4)  Exercise:    “Hello  World”  in  Minecraft,  Node-­RED  style   Please   start   Minecraft   and   open   a   new   world.   You   may   want   to   arrange   the   console   windows,  the  browser  and  Minecraft  to  your  liking…  …yes,  there’s  always  too  little  space  on   that  screen  and  Model  1  Raspberry  Pis  are  not  the  fastest  machines  to  do  this.   In  Node-­RED,   1. Double-­‐click   your   input   node,   and   once   the   associated   dialog   opens,   change   the   Payload  to  type  string  and  write  “Hello  World”  in  the  empty  text  field  below.  
  • 5. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 5 - 2. Drag-­‐and-­‐drop  in  a  function  node.  This  is  the  node  type  that  allows  you  to  directly   interact   with   Node-­‐RED   messages   (by   default   having   a   ‘payload’   and   a   ‘topic’)   in   JavaScript.   3. In  your  function  node,  write  “msg.payload  =  "chat.post("+msg.payload+")n";”  before   return  msg;   This  line  is  going  to  take  the  incoming  msg.payload  (“Hello  World”),  and  assigns  new   content   “chat.post(Hello   World)n”   to   the   variable.   chat.post   is   a   command   we’ve   learned   from   the   mcpi_protocol_spec.txt,   and   Minecraft   is   going   to   assert   it   as   such   when  it’s  followed  by  a  line  break  (Unix  definition:  n).   4. Drag-­‐and-­‐drop   a   TCP   node   from   the   output   panel.   Set   it   up   with   the   following   parameters:     5. Connect  the  nodes  like  this:     6. Deploy.  Test  your  flow  by  triggering  the  inject  node.  Do  you  see  what  you  expected?     5)  Exercise:  Move  Steve  around  -­  and  build  stuff   You’ve  been  there  before,  but  probably  in  Python.  Now  try  it  with  raw  ASCII  strings.   1. Have  a  look  around  the  protocol  specification  and  look  for  the  command  that  sets  the   player  to  a  new  coordinate.   2. Set  a  wooden  block  directly  in  front  of  you.  (Hint:  blockTypeID  for  wood  is  17;  and   hard-­‐code  the  coordinate  for  now).  
  • 6. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 6 - 6)  Exercise:  Retrieving  values  from  Minecraft   So   far   our   interaction   with   Minecraft   was   rather   one-­‐directional.   We   just   sent   command   strings  that  had  an  effect  on  the  Minecraft  world.  Now  we’re  going  to  modify  our  flow  so  we   can  query  values  like  our  own  position  via  the  API.   The  overall  anatomy  of  our  flow  is  going  to  look  like  this:     1. Use  an  inject  node  (here  named  trigger)  to  start  the  flow.   2. In  the  appropriate  function  node,  set  “msg.payload  =  "player.getPos()n";”   3. Instead  of  a  TCP  out  node,  we’re  now  going  to  use  a  TCP  request  node  that  allows  for   bi-­‐directional  communication.  Configure  the  node  like  this:     Just   as   we   indicated   the   end   of   our   message   to   the   server   with   a   “n”   character,   Minecraft  terminates  its  return  messages  with  the  same  character.   4. By   default   the   TCP   request   node   returns   a   buffer,   and   we   need   to   convert   the   information   from   Node-­‐RED   using   “msg.payload   =   msg.payload.toString();”   in   a   function  node.   5. The  flow  concludes  with  a  debug  node.  If  you’re  having  trouble  with  the  flow,  consider   sending  output  to  debug  panel  and  console.   6. Deploy.   Have   a   walk   around   Minecraft   and   trigger   your   flow.   Do   you   see   what   you   expected?     7)  Exercise:  Event-­driven  programming  and  loops   By  now  you  may  have  realised  that  our  Node-­‐RED  flows  were  linear  series  of  commands.  Once   triggered,  we  sent  a  command,  retrieved  information  and  displayed  it.  But,  for  example,  how   can   we   iterate   over   a   set   of   coordinates   and   execute   world.getBlock(x,y,z)   for   Steve’s   immediate  neighbourhood?  
  • 7. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 7 - For  this,  we’re  going  to  extend  our  flow  a  little  bit.  First,  look  at  the  overall  anatomy  of  our   flow.  It’s  a  bit  of  a  mouth  full:     First,  we  translate  Steve’s  position  into  a  series  of  (x/y/z)  coordinates,  more  specifically,  a   cube  that  this  directly  underneath  Steve’s  feet.  Then,  we’re  going  to  query  each  block  in  the   Minecraft  world  for  its  content.  Next,  we  tabulate  the  elements  we’ve  found  and  provide  a   summary  in  the  debug  panel.  The  tutorial  is  going  to  guide  you  through  the  necessary  changes   bit  by  bit.   1. Change  the  .toString()  function  node.  I’ve  renamed  it  to  position  to  “()”  string  to  better   reflect  its  new  functionality:    
  • 8. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 8 - Optional   reading:   The   .trim   function   removes   the   invisible   trailing   “n”   from   the   player’s  position,  and  with  .split(“,”)  we  separate  out  the  x,  y  and  z  component  of  the   coordinate   into   an   array   called   pos.   Due   to   the   way   Minecraft   considers   player   positions  as  floating  point  numbers,  but  places  elements  in  discrete  blocks,  we  need  to   round  our  position  with  the  Math.round  function.  JavaScript  can  occasionally  act  a  bit   funny,  so  to  about  any  problems,  we  specifically  tell  it  to  interpret  the  character  strings   in  the  pos  array  as  floating  point  numbers  with  parseFloat.  Ultimately,  we  are  going  to   define  an  array  called  coordinates,  and  each  element  inside  coordinates  is  a  payload   with  a  string  in  parenthesis,  featuring  a  coordinate  of  the  cube  below  Steve.   Obligatory  reading:  By  returning  [coordinates]  at  the  end  of  the  function  (line  30,  note   the  [  ]),  we’re  going  to  tell  Node-­‐RED  to  trigger  the  next  node  for  reach  element  in  the   array.   2. Add   a   function   node   and   add   “msg.payload   =   "world.getBlock"+msg.payload+"n";”    -­‐  this  simply  makes  the   overall   code   more   readable.   It   complements   each   (x,y,z)   triplet  with  the  world.getBlock  command,  followed  by  “n”;   3. Add  another  TCP  request  node  and  configure  it  exactly  like   the  one  before.   4. The   material   .toString()   function   node   adds   exactly   this   functionality:  “msg.payload  =  msg.payload.toString();”  –  add  a   debug  node  if  you  want  to  check  your  results.  A  table  with   common   elements   is   shown   in   the   figure,   from   http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Data_values_(Pocket_Edition)   5. The   function   node   tabulation   counts   how   many   times   each   element  of  the  Minecraft  world  was  seen  in  the  5x5x5  =  125   blocks  underneath  Steve’s  feet.  Because  tabulation  is  invoked   every  time  a  new  element  is  detected,  we  need  to  make  use  of   a   Node-­‐RED   trick:   The   context   variable   remembers   its   state   between  iterations.    
  • 9. CamJam! Workshop: Node-RED and controlling Minecraft with JavaScript   - 9 - To  prevent  summing  up  of  elements  of  different  trigger  events,  we  modify  the  inject   node   with   a   topic   called   “trigger”.   If   the   tabulation   node   is   invoked   from   the   inject   button   (note   the   new   connection!),   we   delete   the   variable   by   assigning   it   the   value   undefined.  However,  if  we  invoke  the  function  from  the  material  .toString()  node,  we   make  sure  we  interpret  the  code  as  String.  If  our  table  is  still  undefined,  we  create  it  as   array,  otherwise  we  use  the  existing  one  (line  8).  If  the  ID  has  been  seen  before,  we   take  its  current  count,  otherwise  we  assign  0  (line  9).  Then  we  increase  the  count  for   this  observation  (this  event  only)  of  seeing  the  ID  (line  10).  Ultimately,  we  return  our   table  as  message.   6. To  prevent  the  printing  of  our  table  while  it  is  still  being  generated  (remember,  the   tabulation   method   gets   invoked   125   times!),   we   make   use   of   the   trigger   node.   Configure  it  with  the  following  settings:     The  node  remembers  the  first  time  it  was  triggered,  and  only  if  it  hasn’t  received  any   new  messages  for  250  milliseconds,  passes  the  information  on  to  the  final  debug  node.   7. Deploy  and  take  Steve  for  a  walk.  Trigger  the  inject  node.  Wait  patiently.  Check  the   console  and/or  debug  panel  for  output.  Does  the  output  make  sense  to  you?       Conclusions   Node-­‐RED  is  an  incredibly  powerful  framework  that  allows  you  to  do  things  in  very  little  time.   The  official  directory  of  flows  donated  to  the  community  is  here  http://flows.nodered.org   and  they  can  easily  be  imported  by  copying  &  pasting  the  JSON-­‐formatted  code.   Given   the   availability   of   a   convenient   input   node,   try   to   display   tweets   with   a   particular   hashtag  in  Minecraft.  You’re  going  to  be  surprised  how  simple  it  is!     There’s  a  bunch  of  other  Node-­RED  tutorials  at  http://www.slideshare.net/BorisAdryan  and   occasional  Node-­‐RED  tips  at  @BorisAdryan.