Node-OPCUA goes PubSub ! Episode 1

use case

That’s it! NodeOPCUA now supports PubSub as per Part 14 of the official OPCUA specifications.

In this article, we will extend an existing OPC-UA Server. Then we will turn it into a PubSub publisher that streams its sensor values to an external MQTT broker. A scenario where IoT edge devices have to publish data to the cloud for data analysis.

If you are already familiar with Node-OPCUA programming, you already know how to create a simple OPCUA Server. You can do this in 3 easy steps, assuming that you have already installed NodeJS on your computer.

Let’s create a NodeJs project:

mkdir my-publishing-opcua-server
cd  my-publishing-opcua-server
npm init -y
npm install node-opcua

Now let’s edit our server.js javascript file:

the server

const { OPCUAServer } = require("node-opcua");
_"some additionnal imports"

    try {
        const server = new OPCUAServer({
            port: 26543

        await server.initialize();

        _"add a temperature sensor"

        _"enable pub-sub service"

        await server.start();
        console.log("server started at ", server.getEndpointUrl());
    } catch(err) {
_"constructing the configuration parameters"


add a temperature sensor

Let’s create a sensor with its temperature variables.

Here is the OPCUA model diagram that represents the sensor option.

The javascript code to create the sensor instance is straightforward.

const namespace = server.engine.addressSpace.getOwnNamespace();

const sensor = namespace.addObject({
    browseName: "MySensor",
    organizedBy: server.engine.addressSpace.rootFolder.objects

const temperature = namespace.addVariable({
    browseName: "Temperature",
    nodeId: "s=Temperature",
    componentOf: sensor,
    dataType: "Double",
    value: { dataType: DataType.Double, value: 0 }

Note: The temperature variable nodeId has been set to `"ns=1;s=Temperature"`.

_"simulate the temperature variation."

simulate the temperature variation.

We do not have a physical sensor connected here. Instead, we can simulate a temperature variation by continuously changing the temperature with a sine wave.

setInterval(() => {
    const value = 19 + 5 * Math.sin( / 10000) + Math.random()*0.2;
    temperature.setValueFromSource({ dataType: "Double", value });
}, 100);

run the server

We can now start the server and check the temperature value using an OPCUA client.

$ node server.js

We can monitor the value by using opcua-commander. This lightweight OPC-UA client works in a console and does not require any GUI framework.

$ npx -y opcua-commander -e opc.tcp://localhost:26543

We can now navigate to the variable /RootFolder/Objects/MySensor/Temperature to watch it change.


Adding PUB SUB support

We now want to publish the temperature to an MQTT Brocker using the OPCUA PubSub specification. MQTT is a generic Publish-Subscribe protocol that allows data publishers to send almost any data type to any related subscriber. It is very flexible and convenient but doesn’t rely upon enforcing the data payload format that is conveyed to the subscriber. When using OPCUA over MQTT PUBSUB, the payload can be a JSON object or a binary blob. It is also structured in a standard way, with the header, metadata, rich content possibility message signature, and encryption. We will focus here on the OPCUA JSON payload. Two types of OPCUA JSON encoding are possible; The first can be used to be consumed by a generic (non-OPCUA) application. The second format contains more meta-information about the data type transmitted, such as the variant type. This format can use it to synchronize two OPCUA applications (client or server) over MQTT. (we will come back to this point in a future article.)

For the time being, let’s focus on adding the pubsub extension to our server, creating an MQTT JSON publisher, and creating a dataset writer that publishes our temperature value.

The initial step is required to add the node-opcua pubsub server extension.

We start by importing the node-opcua-pubsub-server and node-opcua-pubsub-expander modules to our project.

$ npm install node-opcua-pubsub-server node-opcua-pubsub-expander

enable pub-sub service

We can now turn our OPCUA Server into a PubSub ready publisher by calling the installPubSub utility. This function will do the heavy-lifting of creating the PublishSubscribe object under the standard Server object in the address space and bind all the necessary methods and services.

Let’s add this after the await server.initialize(); of our server code.

const configuration = getPubSubConfiguration();
await installPubSub(server, {

construct the configuration parameters

We reed to provide a set of parameters to fully configure the publisher and the associated dataset. A dataset describes the variables that will be published in the payload.

Let’s analyze the getPubSubConfiguration function that produces the configuration object.

It returns a PubSubConfigurationDataType object containing the PubSub configuration. The configufation describes the connection and the published data set.

function getPubSubConfiguration()
  _"create the connection"
  const connection = createConnection();

  _"create the published dataset";
  const publishedDataSet = createPublishedDataSet();

  return new PubSubConfigurationDataType({
    connections: [connection],
    publishedDataSets: [publishedDataSet] });

The PubSubConfiguration describes the connections and the published data sets.

A connection contains specific parameters regarding the PubSub transport protocol used and the various required parameters for the broker or the broadcasting system.

A published data set describes the payload content and provides the mapping information to link the published variables with the corresponding OPCUA variables in the server address space.

In our case, we need to define an OPCUA JSON MQTT connection and a single dataset.

create the connection

For a OPCUA MQTT JSON transport, we need to set the transportProfileUri to Transport.MQTT_JSON.

The PubSubConnection contains the address of the MQTT broker we want to publish to. For our demo, we will use the public demo broker offered by Hivemq at "".

function createConnection() {

    const mqttEndpoint = "";

    _"create the writer group";
    const connection = new MyMqttJsonPubSubConnectionDataType({
        enabled: true,
        name: "Connection1",
        transportProfileUri: Transport.MQTT_JSON,
        address: {
            url: mqttEndpoint,
        writerGroups: [writerGroup],
        readerGroups: []
    return connection;

The PubSubConnection requires also one dataset writer definition to describe the MQTT topic of the datastream. It also contains additional flags that shape the meta-data that will be provided in each JSON message. A dataset writer needs to be assigned to a writer group.

create the writer group

The writer group contains extra parameters such as messageSettings and transportSettings that are common to all dataset writers in this group. It also contains information about the publishing interval. The publishingInterval indicates the rate at which the JSON message will be published to the broker.

_"create the dataset writer"

const writerGroup = {
    dataSetWriters: [dataSetWriter],
    enabled: true,
    publishingInterval: 1000,
    name: "WriterGroup1",
    messageSettings: {
        networkMessageContentMask: JsonNetworkMessageContentMask.PublisherId,
    transportSettings: {
        requestedDeliveryGuarantee: BrokerTransportQualityOfService.AtMostOnce,

create the dataset writer

The data set writer contains additional message setting parameters.

The dataSetName parameter indicates the name of the published data set that produces the data to be sent.

The queueName parameters contains the mqtt topic we want to publish to: stervfive-opcua-demo/json/data/temperature-sensor1 .

const dataSetWriter = {
    dataSetFieldContentMask: DataSetFieldContentMask.None,
    dataSetName: "PublishedDataSet1",
    dataSetWriterId: 1,
    enabled: true,
    name: "dataSetWriter1",
    messageSettings: {
            JsonDataSetMessageContentMask.DataSetWriterId |
    transportSettings: {
        queueName: "stervfive-opcua-demo/json/data/temperature-sensor1",

The dataSetName: "PublishedDataSet1" tells the data set to publish the data that will be collected by the published data set named PublishedDataSet1, defined below.

create the published dataset

The PublishedDataSet object describes the content of a payload message and what are the corresponding OPCUA variables.

The dataSetMetaData.fields array contains the list of properties exposed in the payload message.

In our case, we have only one variable to expose. Let’s give it a property name. I choose "Sensor.Temperature". We also need to specify that this is a Double value.

The dataSetSource.publishedData array contains the same number of element as in the dataSetMetaData.fields.

Each element of dataSetSource.publishedData is used to map the data set property to the corresponding OPC-UA variable on the server address space with the attributeId and publishedVariable parameters.

It also indicates the suggested sampling interval in the samplingIntervalHint parameter.

In our case, the nodeId of the varaible to monitor is "ns=1;s=Temperature"

function createPublishedDataSet() {
    const publishedDataSet = {
        name: "PublishedDataSet1",
        dataSetMetaData: {
            fields: [
                    name: "Sensor.Temperature",
                    builtInType: DataType.Double,
                    dataType: resolveNodeId("Double"),
        dataSetSource: new PublishedDataItemsDataType({
            publishedData: [
                    attributeId: AttributeIds.Value,
                    samplingIntervalHint: 1000,
                    publishedVariable: `ns=1;s=Temperature`,
    return publishedDataSet;

starting the server

We can start the server

$ npx node server.js

Subscribing to the OPCUA PubSub topic

We can now verify that a MQTT client can subscribe to the published data. Let visit the HiveMQ’s public WebSocket client page at .

and add a topic subscription to our topic: stervfive-opcua-demo/json/data/temperature-sensor1.


Here we go ! the data stream is up and running. It’s time to collect the flow of data to feed our data lake and produce the data we need for your predictive maintenance application.


We have demonstrated how to add PubSUb support to a node-opcua server application and created a data stream that publishes a sensor value to an MQTT broker by using a standardized OPCUA JSON payload.

Our next article will explore the PublishSubscribe object in the server address space. This object exposes the PubSub configuration of the OPC-UA server. It’s used to modify the connection parameters or the payload shape; dynamically, while the server is running.

The node-opcua-pubsub-* modules demonstrated here are developed by sterfive. They are published under a dual-license. The public version is suitable for evaluation in your proof of concept. The professional edition can be subscribed to from and comes with complete source code, unit tests, an extended license, professional support. It is suitable for industrial grade applications. contact us for more information