What I like about node-red's approach is that it's quite high-level plumbing. You don't write algorithms visually, instead those go into "function" nodes as code text. So what you end up visually is large components/modules that you plumb together. It makes it easy to take some value floating around in there, such as a temperature, and wire that up to some new nodes that record it, alert on extremes, chart it, plop it onto a dashboard, etc.
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