Ostro™ OS Application Development Using Node.js🔗

Node.js* is a JavaScript runtime built on the Google* V8 JavaScript engine. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient. The Node.js package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world.

Ostro™ OS includes Node.js application runtime integrated in all image configurations. With Node.js you can develop IoT applications using JavaScript on Ostro OS. During the development phase you can use npm to install additional Node.js modules to speed up your development process. When using Node.js you don’t need to use Yocto build tools and the Ostro OS SDK for your development. Node.js and npm are enough (until you’re ready to deploy your application).

Making Your First Node.js application🔗

You can start your Node.js application development on any host machine which supports Node.js. The supported Node.js operating systems includes Windows, Linux, and OS X. For the Node.js installation on you host machine, consult the https://nodejs.org web pages.

To start your first Node.js application, create a file, e.g., index.js, using a text editor (like vi), as shown:

var os = require("os");
function printMem() {
   console.log("Free mem on " + os.hostname() +
      ": " + os.freemem());
setInterval(printMem, 1000);

This Node.js application is using two Node.js APIs, os and timers, to get and print the hostname and amount of free memory once a second on the console.

You can run the application by using the following command:

$ node index.js

Stop the program by pressing CTRL-C. You can run the same application on your Ostro OS device or on your host machine.

Pre-installed NPM packages🔗

Ostro OS images contains the following npm packages pre-installed and validated:

JavaScript APIs for Open Connectivity Forum (OCF) specification using the open source IoTivity project implementation. With this package, you can easily develop OCF compliant applications with JavaScript on Ostro OS.
Provides RESTful APIs for Ostro OS. Built with JavaScript using Node.js and iotivity-node frameworks, the iot-rest-api-server provides OCF REST API (explained in the next section) and system information. The Ostro OS RESTful services can easily be extended by using the iot-rest-api-server.
IO library with JavaScript APIs that helps you use I2c, SPI, gpio, uart, pwm, analog inputs (aio), and more on a number of platforms such as the Intel® Galileo board, the Intel® Edison board, and others

All the npm packages are located in /usr/lib/node_modules directory on the Ostro OS device.

Services based on Node.js Applications🔗

The following RESTful services are not enabled by default. In order to use the services they need to be enabled first with the following command:

root@edison:~# systemctl enable iot-rest-api-server.socket

The iot-rest-api-server provides the following RESTful services on Ostro OS:


These services are REST API endpoints. The full documentation of the RESTful services can be found here.

To use the services, your mobile, cloud, or web application needs to construct the full URL in the following way:


The following examples assumes the iot-rest-api-server runs on IP address:, port 8000. Visit these urls in your web browser:

  1. Get the system status using
  2. Discover all the OCF enabled devices on the local network using:

Using NPM🔗

On Ostro OS -dev and -all images, the Node.js package manager (npm) is pre-installed so you can use npm to manage Node.js packages.

For example, you can install the johnny-five sensor framework on Ostro OS with the following command on the device:

root@edison:~# npm install johnny-five

Creating and Installing Node.js Application🔗

In this section, we create a small Node.js application for Intel® Edison board, which uses the johnny-five IoT and Robotics framework. First, create the package.json file with the the following content:

"name": "my-app",
"version": "1.0.0",
"description": "J5 Ostro Led Blinking",
"main": "index.js",
"license": "Apache-2.0",
"dependencies": {
   "johnny-five": "^0.9",
   "edison-io": "^0.9"

This package.json file is the manifest of the application and contains important information, including the application’s name and dependencies. Full configuration documentation can be found here.

Next, create the application code and place it in an index.js file:

var five = require("johnny-five");
var Edison = require("edison-io");
var board = new five.Board({
   io: new Edison()

board.on("ready", function() {
   // Create a standard \`led\` component instance
   var led = new five.Led(13);

   // "blink" the led in half-second (500ms) on-off phase periods

The application above is very simple: it blinks the Intel Edison on-board LED every half-second (500ms).

Once you are done with the development phase, or want to test your application on the Ostro OS device, you must build the Node.js application on the Ostro OS device.

To build your application, copy the two files (package.json and index.js) to your Ostro OS device, for example to my-app directory.

Then install the dependencies by using the following command:

root@edison:~/my-app# npm install

This command requires an internet connection in order to fetch and install all the dependent packages.

Running Node.js Application🔗

To run your Node.js application, type the following command:

root@edison:~/my-app# node index.js

If you want your Node.js application to be started every time the Ostro OS device boots, you need to add a systemd service file for it. Below is an example of the systemd service file for a Node.js application:

Description=Node.js application startup service

ExecStart=/usr/bin/node /home/root/my-app/index.js

Name the file for example my-app.service and place it in the /lib/systemd/system directory.

Deploying Node.js Application🔗

Once the Node.js application is ready to deploy it can be included in Ostro OS based distribution image. This is done by using Yocto project layers and recipes. An example of doing this can be found in https://github.com/ostroproject/meta-iot-web.