Intel(r) IoT Services Orchestration Layer - HTML5 IDE + Node.js middleware to create and host distributed IoT Apps in minutes
Last updated 4 years ago by jonathan.ding .
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Intel(r) IoT Services Orchestration Layer


This is a solution that provides visual graphical programming for developing IoT applications.

The solution contains a HTML5 IDE running inside browser / WebView for developers to create the IoT application, including its internal logic (e.g. workflows) and its HTML5 based end user interface, through drag-and-drop in an easy and intuitiveway.

The solution also contains a distributed middleware running on top of Node.js to host and execute the IoT applications created by the IDE.

The middleware contains an Orchestration Center which runs the workflow engine to execute the logic, and web servers to host the HTML5 IDE for developers and HTML5 UI for end users.

The middleware also contains one or multiple Service Hubs which actually manages the devices and cloud services in various procotols. The Service Hub roll up these information about services to Orchestration Center to let the developers create applications based on these services. The Service Hub also receives commands from Orchestration Center to actually invoke the services managed by it, according to the logic defined by workflows.

To understand this by a demo, please go through the instructions below and we do have a demo (with simulated devices and services) project as well.

Important Notes

Contribute to the Development Project

The master(default) branch of this project is called as a Release Project.

This branch simply host the releases of this solution which is immediately ready-to-go after you have it downloaded.

However, if you decide to help contribute to this project, you need to switch to its [dev branch] ( If you cloned from github, you may switch by simply git checkout dev. We call this dev branch as Development Project.

The reason is that the solution is quite complicated. Thus for each release, it needs some building process (e.g. package the modules, build the UI files etc.) from the Development Project. This brings trouble for end users who simply want to use this project instead of contributing to that.

So to make the installation much easier, we will build the Development Project (the dev branch) and put the ready-to-run solution here in master branch. Thus end users no need to build by themselves if she/he directly start from this Release Project.

However, if you hope to contribute to this project (bug fix, new enhancements etc.), you should work on the Development Project instead.


As this is a solution based on Node.js, so the installation may touch npm (Node.js Package Manager) which would download and install dependant packages from internet.

So if you are behind a firewall / proxy, you may need to configure the proxy settings of your npm so you could download and install. You may do this by running npm config edit in your shell (command line prompt) to open npm's configuration file, and configure related proxy items inside it. For example, add these lines in it


Please replace the my_proxy and proxy_port in above example accordingly.


First, Node.js with version >= 0.12 is required. And you might need to configure npm proxy settings as mentioned above.

Secondly, if you are using Windows, you need a shell environment to run scripts. You may install cygwin, or gitbash (which is a MingGW)

Install from github

With that, under the shell, you may git clone this project (or download the zip and uncompress it) and npm install under it for necessary additional packages. Below is an example of installing it

  # Instead of git clone, you may download the zip of project through
  # github webpage and then uncompress it
  git clone iot-sol

  cd iot-sol

  # this would install all dependent npm packages for this
  npm install

Install from npm

As this solution is also published in npm with the name iot-sol. So instead of installing from github, you may also install it simply with the command below

  npm install iot-sol
  # npm installs it to local node_modules so need cd to it to play with it
  cd node_modules/iot-sol


You may choose ANY of the following options to read the documentation.

  • Read our online document
  • Offline in your shell, run ./
  • When you are in the HTML5 IDE of this solution, click the link Help on the top right


To help understand the framework, a demo project is created. There are couple ways to run the demo project.

Run Demo in Seperated Shells

One way is to run the Broker, Center and Hub in seperated shells. (Please read the documentation for the concepts of Broker, Center and Hub).

Firstly, open a shell and kill all existing running instances of Node.js - this avoids that there is already a demo running at background.

    # Kill all existing Node.js processes
    # This only needs to do once before start Broker
    killall node 2>/dev/null

Then, still in this shell, start a Broker based on HTTP in it.

    # Start a sample HTTP Broker
    ./run_demo broker

Then open another (i.e. the 2nd) shell and start the center

    # Start a sample Center
    ./run_demo center

Then open another (i.e. the 3rd) shell and start a Hub (named hub_a)

    # Start a sample Hub
    ./run_demo hub 

(Optional) You may open the 4th shell to start another Hub (named hub_b), although this isn't always necessary

    # Start another sample Hub
    ./run_demo hub_b 

After that, you may navigate to http://localhost:8080 in browser for HTML5 UI for application developers, and http://localhost:3000 for HTML5 UI for end users. You may replace localhost to real ip/host if you need to remotely connect to it.

Run Demo with One Command

Above explains the details of running the demo, we have created a helper script to include all of the above, so instead of openning 4 shells and start related components, you may run the demo via running this script:

  # This contains all steps above

After that, it is the same as above, i.e. open the browser to navigate the UIs.

If running in this way, there would be logs saved as xxx.log. xxx corresponds to broker, center, mock_hub, mock_hub_b etc.

Advanced Topics

To understand more about the iot-sol, it's highly recommended to read the documentation (e.g. by ./ in get_started/advanced category.

In high level, iot-sol has these components (Read documentation for more explanations):

  • Center: It's a Node.js process that manages all of the workflows and also offers the HTML5 UI for developers and end users.

  • Hub: It's also a Node.js process. It hosts many "Things" and the services (the nodes used to compose a workflow) offered by these "Things". For example, a Hub running on Edison may have a Thing so called "LED" which has three services "turn_on", "turn_off", "get_status". And another Hub (running on gateway of Cloud) may have a Thing so called "Gmail" which has services such as "fetch_mail", "send_mail", etc.

  • Broker: Center and Hubs are communicated with the help of Broker. The Broker could be a MQTT, or the built-in HTTP broker written in Node.js (need to start that manaully). The Center and Hub don't talk with each directly. Instead, they send messages to Broker, and Broker would dispatch them to the right target. This removes a lot of dependencies related to cmmunication channels and make deployment much more flexible. Center and Hub has corresponding configuration items to define which broker they are using.

A solution may have multiple Hubs in entire system. These Hubs would roll up the information about the services they hosted to the Center. Thus in Center, developers could compose a workflow that employs these services. The workflow is stored at Center. When center executes the workflow, based on the logic defined by developer in the workflow, the Center knows which service need to be invoked, and then it sends command to the corresponding Hub which hosts the required service, and the Hub would execute this service. The service may further send out some message and would be disptached to Center to drive the next step of the Workflow.

The communcation between Center and Hub is going through Broker, therefore, Center and Hub could be deployed very flexibly, either sperately on different physical machines / processes (e.g. one in gateway while the other in cloud), or locally on the same machine (e.g. all in the same Edison board).

In above demos, we use run_demo to start related center or hub. And if you look into the actual code of the run_demo script, you would find the normal way to start center / hub is

  • Normal way to start a center: ./center [path-to-a-configuration]
  • Normal way to start a center: ./hub [path-to-a-configuration]

They all need a configuration file provided (default to ./config.json if not supplied). Details about the configuration file is also documented in get_started/advanced category of the documentation.

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