Tutorial: Create and connect a client application to your Azure IoT Central application (Node.js)

This article applies to solution builders and device developers.

This tutorial shows you how, as a device developer, to connect a Node.js client application to your Azure IoT Central application. The Node.js application simulates the behavior of an environmental sensor device. You use a sample device capability model to create a device template in IoT Central. You add views to the device template to enable an operator to interact with a device.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Import a device capability model to create a device template.
  • Add default and custom views to a device template.
  • Publish a device template and add a real device to your IoT Central application.
  • Create and run the Node.js device code and see it connect to your IoT Central application.
  • View the simulated telemetry sent from the device.
  • Use a view to manage device properties.
  • Call synchronous and asynchronous commands to control the device.


To complete the steps in this article, you need the following:

  • An Azure IoT Central application created using the Custom application template. For more information, see the create an application quickstart.
  • A development machine with Node.js version 10.0.0 or later installed. You can run node --version in the command line to check your version. The instructions in this tutorial assume you're running the node command at the Windows command prompt. However, you can use Node.js on many other operating systems.

Create a device template

Create a folder called environmental-sensor on your local machine.

Download the Environmental sensor capability model JSON file and save it in the environmental-sensor folder.

Use a text editor to replace the two instances of {YOUR_COMPANY_NAME_HERE} with your company name in the EnvironmentalSensorInline.capabilitymodel.json file you downloaded. Use only the characters a-z, A-Z, 0-9, and underscore.

In your Azure IoT Central application, create a device template called Environmental sensor by importing the EnvironmentalSensorInline.capabilitymodel.json device capability model file:

Device template with imported device capability model

The device capability model includes two interfaces: the standard Device Information interface and the custom Environmental Sensor interface. The Environmental Sensor interface defines the following capabilities:

Type Display Name Description
Property Device State The state of the device. Two states online/offline are available.
Property (writeable) Customer Name The name of the customer currently operating the device.
Property (writeable) Brightness Level The brightness level for the light on the device. Can be specified as 1 (high), 2 (medium), 3 (low).
Telemetry Temperature Current temperature detected by the device.
Telemetry Humidity Current humidity detected by the device.
Command blink Begin blinking the LED on the device for given time interval.
Command turnon Turn on the LED on the device.
Command turnoff Turn off the LED on the device.
Command rundiagnostics This asynchronous command starts a diagnostics run on the device.

To customize how the Device State property displays in your IoT Central application, select Customize in the device template. Expand the Device State entry, enter Online as the True name and Offline as the False name. Then save the changes:

Customize the device template

Create views

Views let you interact with devices connected to your IoT Central application. For example, you can have views that display telemetry, views that display properties, and views that let you edit writeable and cloud properties. Views are part of a device template.

To add some default views to your Environmental sensor device template, navigate to your device template, select Views, and select the Generate Default views tile. Make sure Overview and About are On, and then select Generate default dashboard view(s). You now have two default views defined in your template.

The Environmental Sensor interface includes two writeable properties - Customer Name and Brightness Level. To create a view, you can use to edit these properties:

  1. Select Views and then select the Editing device and cloud data tile.

  2. Enter Properties as the form name.

  3. Select the Brightness Level and Customer Name properties. Then select Add section.

  4. Save your changes.

Add a view to enable property editing

Publish the template

Before you can add a device that uses the Environmental sensor device template, you must publish it.

In the device template, select Publish. On the Publish this device template to the application panel, select Publish.

To check that the template is ready to use, navigate to the Devices page in your IoT Central application. The Devices section shows a list of the published devices in the application:

Published templates on the devices page

Add a real device

In your Azure IoT Central application, add a real device to the device template you created in the previous section:

  1. On the Devices page, select the Environmental sensor device template.


    Be sure to select the template to use before you select + New, otherwise you'll create an unassociated device.

  2. Select + New.

  3. Make sure that Simulated is Off. Then select Create.

Click on the device name, and then select Connect. Make a note of the device connection information on the Device Connection page - ID scope, Device ID, and Primary key. You need these values when you create your device code:

Device connection information

Create a Node.js application

The following steps show you how to create a Node.js client application that connects to the real device you added to the application. This Node.js application simulates the behavior of a real device.

  1. In your command-line environment, navigate to the environmental-sensor folder you created previously.

  2. To initialize your Node.js project and install the required dependencies, run the following commands - accept all the default options when you run npm init:

    npm init
    npm install azure-iot-device azure-iot-device-mqtt azure-iot-provisioning-device-mqtt azure-iot-security-symmetric-key --save
  3. Create a file called environmentalSensor.js in the environmental-sensor folder.

  4. Add the following require statements at the start of the environmentalSensor.js file:

    "use strict";
    // Use the Azure IoT device SDK for devices that connect to Azure IoT Central.
    var iotHubTransport = require('azure-iot-device-mqtt').Mqtt;
    var Client = require('azure-iot-device').Client;
    var Message = require('azure-iot-device').Message;
    var ProvisioningTransport = require('azure-iot-provisioning-device-mqtt').Mqtt;
    var SymmetricKeySecurityClient = require('azure-iot-security-symmetric-key').SymmetricKeySecurityClient;
    var ProvisioningDeviceClient = require('azure-iot-provisioning-device').ProvisioningDeviceClient;
  5. Add the following variable declarations to the file:

    var provisioningHost = 'global.azure-devices-provisioning.net';
    var idScope = '{your Scope ID}';
    var registrationId = '{your Device ID}';
    var symmetricKey = '{your Primary Key}';
    var provisioningSecurityClient = new SymmetricKeySecurityClient(registrationId, symmetricKey);
    var provisioningClient = ProvisioningDeviceClient.create(provisioningHost, idScope, new ProvisioningTransport(), provisioningSecurityClient);
    var hubClient;
    var targetTemperature = 0;
    var ledOn = true;

    Update the placeholders {your Scope ID}, {your Device ID}, and {your Primary Key} with the values you made a note of previously. In this sample, you initialize targetTemperature to zero, you could use the current reading from the device or a value from the device twin.

  6. To send simulated telemetry to your Azure IoT Central application, add the following function to the file:

    // Send simulated device telemetry.
    function sendTelemetry() {
      var temp = targetTemperature + (Math.random() * 15);
      var humid = 70 + (Math.random() * 10);
      var data = JSON.stringify({
        temp: temp,
        humid: humid,
      var message = new Message(data);
      hubClient.sendEvent(message, (err, res) => console.log(`Sent message: ${message.getData()}` +
        (err ? `; error: ${err.toString()}` : '') +
        (res ? `; status: ${res.constructor.name}` : '')));

    The names of the telemetry items (temp and humid) must match the names used in the device template.

  7. To send device twin properties to your Azure IoT Central application, add the following function to your file:

    // Send device twin reported properties.
    function sendDeviceProperties(twin, properties) {
      twin.properties.reported.update(properties, (err) => console.log(`Sent device properties: ${JSON.stringify(properties)}; ` +
        (err ? `error: ${err.toString()}` : `status: success`)));

    IoT Central uses device twins to synchronize property values between the device and the IoT Central application. Device property values use device twin reported properties. Writeable properties use both device twin reported and desired properties.

  8. To define and handle the writeable properties your device responds to, add the following code:

    // Add any writeable properties your device supports,
    // mapped to a function that's called when the writeable property
    // is updated in the IoT Central application.
    var writeableProperties = {
      'name': (newValue, callback) => {
          setTimeout(() => {
            callback(newValue, 'completed');
          }, 1000);
      'brightness': (newValue, callback) => {
        setTimeout(() => {
            callback(newValue, 'completed');
        }, 5000);
    // Handle writeable property updates that come from IoT Central via the device twin.
    function handleWriteablePropertyUpdates(twin) {
      twin.on('properties.desired', function (desiredChange) {
        for (let setting in desiredChange) {
          if (writeableProperties[setting]) {
            console.log(`Received setting: ${setting}: ${desiredChange[setting].value}`);
            writeableProperties[setting](desiredChange[setting].value, (newValue, status) => {
              var patch = {
                [setting]: {
                  value: newValue,
                  status: status,
                  desiredVersion: desiredChange.$version
              sendDeviceProperties(twin, patch);

    When the operator sets a writeable property in the IoT Central application, the application uses a device twin desired property to send the value to the device. The device then responds using a device twin reported property. When IoT Central receives the reported property value, it updates the property view with a status of synced.

    The names of the properties (name and brightness) must match the names used in the device template.

  9. Add the following code to handle the commands sent from the IoT Central application:

    // Setup command handlers
    function setupCommandHandlers(twin) {
      // Handle synchronous LED blink command with request and response payload.
      function onBlink(request, response) {
        console.log('Received synchronous call to blink');
        var responsePayload = {
          status: 'Blinking LED every ' + request.payload  + ' seconds'
        response.send(200, responsePayload, (err) => {
          if (err) {
            console.error('Unable to send method response: ' + err.toString());
          } else {
            console.log('Blinking LED every ' + request.payload  + ' seconds');
      // Handle synchronous LED turn on command
      function turnOn(request, response) {
        console.log('Received synchronous call to turn on LED');
          console.log('Turning on the LED');
          ledOn = true;
        response.send(200, (err) => {
          if (err) {
            console.error('Unable to send method response: ' + err.toString());
      // Handle synchronous LED turn off command
      function turnOff(request, response) {
        console.log('Received synchronous call to turn off LED');
          console.log('Turning off the LED');
          ledOn = false;
        response.send(200, (err) => {
          if (err) {
            console.error('Unable to send method response: ' + err.toString());
      // Handle asynchronous sensor diagnostics command with response payload.
      function diagnostics(request, response) {
        console.log('Starting asynchronous diagnostics run...');
        response.send(202, (err) => {
          if (err) {
            console.error('Unable to send method response: ' + err.toString());
          } else {
            var repetitions = 3;
            var intervalID = setInterval(() => {
              console.log('Generating diagnostics...');
              if (--repetitions === 0) {
                var properties = {
                  rundiagnostics: {
                    value: 'Diagnostics run complete at ' + new Date().toLocaleString()
                sendDeviceProperties(twin, properties);
            }, 2000);
      hubClient.onDeviceMethod('blink', onBlink);
      hubClient.onDeviceMethod('turnon', turnOn);
      hubClient.onDeviceMethod('turnoff', turnOff);
      hubClient.onDeviceMethod('rundiagnostics', diagnostics);

    The names of the commands (blink, turnon, turnoff, and rundiagnostics) must match the names used in the device template.

    Currently, IoT Central doesn't use the response schema defined in the device capability model. For a synchronous command, the response payload can be any valid JSON. For an asynchronous command, the device should return a 202 response immediately, followed by reported property update when the work is finished. The format of the reported property update is:

      [command name] : {
        value: 'response message'

    An operator can view the response payload in the command history.

  10. Add the following code to complete the connection to Azure IoT Central and hook up the functions in the client code:

    // Handle device connection to Azure IoT Central.
    var connectCallback = (err) => {
      if (err) {
        console.log(`Device could not connect to Azure IoT Central: ${err.toString()}`);
      } else {
        console.log('Device successfully connected to Azure IoT Central');
        // Send telemetry to Azure IoT Central every 1 second.
        setInterval(sendTelemetry, 1000);
        // Get device twin from Azure IoT Central.
        hubClient.getTwin((err, twin) => {
          if (err) {
            console.log(`Error getting device twin: ${err.toString()}`);
          } else {
            // Send device properties once on device start up.
            var properties = {
              state: 'true'
            sendDeviceProperties(twin, properties);
    // Start the device (register and connect to Azure IoT Central).
    provisioningClient.register((err, result) => {
      if (err) {
        console.log('Error registering device: ' + err);
      } else {
        console.log('Registration succeeded');
        console.log('Assigned hub=' + result.assignedHub);
        console.log('DeviceId=' + result.deviceId);
        var connectionString = 'HostName=' + result.assignedHub + ';DeviceId=' + result.deviceId + ';SharedAccessKey=' + symmetricKey;
        hubClient = Client.fromConnectionString(connectionString, iotHubTransport);

Run your Node.js application

To start the device client application, run the following command in your command-line environment:

node environmentalSensor.js

You can see the device connects to your Azure IoT Central application and starts sending telemetry:

Run the client application

As an operator in your Azure IoT Central application, you can:

  • View the telemetry sent by the device on the Overview page:

    View telemetry

  • View the device properties on the About page:

    View properties

  • Update writeable property values on the Properties page:

    Update properties

  • Call the commands from the Commands page:

    Call blink command

    View command history

You can see how the device responds to commands and property updates:

Observe the client application

Next steps

As a device developer, now that you've learned the basics of how to create a device using Node.js, some suggested next steps are to:

If you'd prefer to continue through the set of IoT Central tutorials and learn more about building an IoT Central solution, see: