Raspberry Pi

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What is the Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It was created to promote teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. Despite its small size, the Raspberry Pi is a full-fledged computer capable of performing various tasks, from browsing the internet to playing high-definition video, making it a popular choice for hobbyists, educators, and professionals for projects ranging from gaming consoles to home automation.

Raspberry Pi and Node.js

Pairing Node.js with Raspberry Pi opens a world of possibilities for developers. Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, back-end JavaScript runtime environment that runs on the V8 engine and executes JavaScript code outside a web browser. This makes Node.js particularly well-suited for building server-side applications and IoT (Internet of Things) projects on the Raspberry Pi. The lightweight nature of both Node.js and the Raspberry Pi hardware allows for efficient development of web servers, RESTful APIs, and real-time data-driven applications.

What Do I Need?

To get started with Node.js on your Raspberry Pi, you’ll need a few components:

  • A Raspberry Pi model (Pi 3 or later is recommended for optimal performance).
  • A MicroSD card (16GB or more recommended) with SD adapter.
  • A power supply compatible with your Raspberry Pi.
  • An Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi connection for network access.
  • A USB keyboard, mouse, and an HDMI monitor for initial setup (optional if you’re setting up headlessly).

Write Raspbian OS Image to MicroSD Card

The Raspbian operating system, now known as Raspberry Pi OS, is the official OS for Raspberry Pi. To install it:

  1. Download the Raspberry Pi Imager from the Raspberry Pi website.
  2. Insert your MicroSD card into your computer.
  3. Open Raspberry Pi Imager and choose the OS version (Lite version if you don’t need a graphical interface).
  4. Select your MicroSD card and click on “Write” to flash the OS.

Set up Your Raspberry Pi

After flashing the MicroSD card, insert it into your Raspberry Pi, connect it to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and power it up. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup, including updating the system.

Set Up Network on the Raspberry Pi

For a headless setup, edit the wpa_supplicant.conf file on the boot partition of the SD card to include your Wi-Fi network details. This file configures network access for your Raspberry Pi.

Enable SSH, Change Hostname and Password

To remotely access your Raspberry Pi, enable SSH by placing a file named ssh (without any extension) in the boot partition. Upon first login, it’s crucial to change the default hostname and password to secure your Raspberry Pi.

Install Node.js on Raspberry Pi

Node.js can be installed on Raspberry Pi using NodeSource or NVM (Node Version Manager). Here’s how to install Node.js using NVM:

curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.39.1/install.sh | bash
source ~/.bashrc
nvm install node # This installs the latest version of Node.js

Get Started with Raspberry Pi and Node.js

Now that Node.js is installed, you can begin developing applications. Here’s a simple example to create a web server that responds with “Hello, World!”:

const http = require('http');

const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
  res.statusCode = 200;
  res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
  res.end('Hello, World!\n');
});

const port = 3000;
const hostname = '0.0.0.0';

server.listen(port, hostname, () => {
  console.log(`Server running at http://${hostname}:${port}/`);
});

Save this code in a file named server.js and run it with the command node server.js. Navigate to http://<RaspberryPi_IP_Address>:3000 in a web browser to see your server in action.