We’re reaching the end of 2021. As usual, at the end of the year, we share a summary of what happened throughout the current year on the Random Nerd Tutorials blog as well as some random stuff about our lives and reflections.
Summary of 2021 — Most Popular
Here’s a quick summary of the most popular content in 2021:
- Tutorial: ESP32 OTA (Over-the-Air) Updates – AsyncElegantOTA using Arduino IDE
- YouTube Video: ESP32 Web Server with MPU-6050 Accelerometer and Gyroscope (3D object representation)
Total Published Tutorials: 71
During this year, we’ve published a total of 71 new tutorials and one new eBook.
Last year, we published 97 new tutorials. This year, we didn’t publish as many tutorials as last year, but most of the tutorials published throughout this year are more complex, which take more time to test, outline, and write.
Our aim is to publish at least one new tutorial per week, which we achieved successfully.
However, I always feel that I should have worked harder… and maybe I would have been able to publish more. I have a long list of new tutorials that I want to write. Many of those tutorials are suggestions from our readers, others are ideas that I write down myself. But, in reality, what usually happens is that I write what I feel like writing at the moment— which is usually something that is not on the list. Does that happen to you too in your work?
Top 5 Tutorials 2021
Here’s a list of the top 5 most popular projects published in 2021:
This tutorial shows how to perform over-the-air (OTA) updates to your ESP32 boards using the AsyncElegantOTA library. This library creates a web server that allows you to upload new firmware (a new sketch and/or files to the filesystem) to your board without the need to make a serial connection between the ESP32 and your computer.
We created different versions of this tutorial depending on the board used (ESP32 or ESP8266) and IDE (Arduino IDE or VS Code + PlatformIO).
- [ESP32 + Arduino IDE] OTA (Over-the-Air) Updates
- [ESP8266 + Arduino IDE] OTA (Over-the-Air) Updates
- [ESP32 + VS Code + PlatformIO] OTA (Over-the-Air) Updates
- [ESP8266 + VS Code + PlatformIO] OTA (Over-the-Air) Updates
I was really surprised that our readers liked this post so much. I was even tagged in one post on Linkedin that mentioned this tutorial—I had never been mentioned on Linkedin. I was really surprised and really happy about that too. By the way, I’m not very active on Linkedin, but if you want to follow me here’s the link: linkedin.com/in/sarasantospt/ (I need to update my profile). Here’s Rui’s: linkedin.com/in/ruisantosdotme/
This was our first tutorial about Firebase with the ESP32 boards. It shows you how to get started quickly with Firebase—learn how to read and write data to the database using the ESP32. We also created a version for the ESP8266 boards:
This tutorial about Firebase was a big success. It was a subject that many of our readers were expected to see covered in our tutorials. Because there was a lot of interest in this subject, we created more tutorials (check all our Firebase tutorials here) as well as a complete eBook about this subject (Firebase Web App with ESP32/ESP8266). There are also many other Firebase tutorials that are already prepared and waiting to be published at the beginner of the year.
Compilation of the most useful Wi-Fi library functions for the ESP32. It includes examples for: scanning wi-fi networks, connecting to a network, getting network connection status, checking connection strength, disconnecting and reconnecting to a network, and much more.
In this project, we show you how to monitor the status of a door using an ESP8266 NodeMCU board and a magnetic reed switch. You’ll receive a message in your Telegram account whenever the door changes state: opened or closed. As long as you have access to the internet on your smartphone, you’ll be notified no matter where you are.
We created this project after updating another similar tutorial: ESP8266 NodeMCU Door Status Monitor with Email Notifications (IFTTT). Both tutorials were very popular among our public.
We also have similar tutorials but for the ESP32 board:
- ESP32 Door Status Monitor with Telegram Notifications
- ESP32 Door Status Monitor with Email Notifications (IFTTT)
Most Popular Tutorials of All Time
The most popular tutorials of all time are always the ones about the basics. Everyone needs to start with the basics, so that’s what’s expected. If you’re curious, these are the most popular tutorials of all time:
1) ESP32 Pinout Reference: Which GPIO pins should you use? This is a guide for the ESP32 GPIOs. I find this tutorial very useful and I always get back to it whenever I’m starting a new project with the ESP32. I also update this tutorial many times, whenever I find some relevant information that is not already mentioned.
2) Installing the ESP32 Board in Arduino IDE (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux): Everyone who is getting started with the ESP32 must start with this tutorial. So, it is no wonder why this is so popular.
3) ESP8266 Pinout Reference: Which GPIO pins should you use? I also use this guide as a reference many times when I’m starting a new ESP8266 project. I also advise you to check it out before starting any new project.
4) ESP32-CAM Video Streaming and Face Recognition with Arduino IDE: This is the introductory tutorial for the ESP32-CAM. It shows how to get started quickly with an example sketch for video streaming and face recognition.
5) Getting Started with the ESP32 Development Board: our getting started guide for the ESP32 board.To get started, I also recommend reading the following articles on Maker Advisor:
When it comes to our YouTube channel, we only published three new videos this year, which is something that we’re not proud of. This is because of a variety of reasons. First, because Rui is focusing on other personal projects and he doesn’t have time to dedicate to YouTube. Second, I can’t do it all myself. Creating videos takes a lot of time, and it would require a lot of effort on my part. Additionally, creating videos is not our strength, so I think that in a situation like this, the best option is to dedicate the time we have to do something we are good at, like creating written tutorials.
Most Popular Video 2021
We only published three videos. So, it is easy to find out the most popular one. The most popular video published in 2021 was an ESP32 Web Server that shows a live representation of the position of an MPU6050 Gyroscope/Accelerometer sensor.
You can watch the video below:
Here’s the companion tutorial: ESP32 Web Server with MPU-6050 Accelerometer and Gyroscope (3D object representation).
New eBook Released
This year we released a new eBook about Firebase: Firebase Web App with the ESP32 and ESP8266 eBook and I’m happy to say that it is already a bestseller.
This eBook covers how to Build a Firebase Web Application to monitor and control your ESP32 and ESP8266 boards from anywhere in the world. All the data is saved on the Firebase Realtime Database. The web application is protected with login using email and password, and your database is protected using database rules. You can find all the details about the ebook on the following link:
I had a lot of fun creating this eBook as well as all tutorials related to Firebase. I think it’s my new favorite subject now.
This year, we updated our Build Web Server with ESP32/ESP8266 eBook with new projects.
- Build Web Servers with ESP32 and ESP8266 eBook: the ESP32/ESP8266 is the server and it hosts all the files to build a web page that can contain buttons, charts, sliders to control outputs and monitor sensors. You can interact with the ESP using any client on your local network (browser on your computer, smartphone, etc). If you want to control the ESP web server from anywhere, you need to open a tunnel to your local network.
We also updated the other eBooks/courses whenever needed with updated code, fixed some typos, etc.).
- Learn ESP32 with Arduino IDE (version 2.1) (August 2021)
- Build ESP32-CAM Projects using Arduino IDE (version 1.2) (May 2021)
I would like to remind you that when you get one of our eBooks, you can receive updates for free in the future, which includes new editions of the eBook.
For those of you who don’t know, Maker Advisor is our other website where you’ll find reviews about development boards, tools, and gear for your electronics lab. That’s also where we show where you can buy your electronics components for your projects (check the Tools page).
This year, we didn’t create new reviews or articles for Maker Advisor. We only updated the most relevant blog posts.
It’s not that I don’t like to write product reviews, and we received a lot of new gadgets that we didn’t even show you (every time I look at that pile of new products, I feel bad about it). It’s just like, this year, I didn’t feel “inspired” to do that work. Additionally, I’m feeling a little exhausted this year, so I’m focusing on working on the stuff I like more—writing tutorials.
Answering your Questions
I also would like to mention that this was the year that I spent more time answering your questions, requests, and comments. I always try to help as much as I can. I answer all your questions in our RNTLab forum, private Facebook group, and emails.
I also answer almost all your comments on our blog posts. When I don’t answer your comments, it is because: I don’t know the answer or I didn’t read your comment (we receive so many comments every day, it is difficult to check them all). Additionally, I would like to remind you that we don’t have the time to create custom projects.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Rui is focusing on new personal projects. So, at the moment, he doesn’t work on content creation. However, he continues to answer your emails, answers your questions, and takes care of a lot of tasks that you don’t see but are essential to keep Random Nerd Tutorials working.
This year, we visited the Azores archipelago (S. Miguel and Pico islands). We really loved it. If you’re thinking about visiting Portugal someday, we absolutely recommend the Azores archipelago.
Here are some pictures:
The Pico Island features Portugal’s highest point. We climbed to the top and we even tested an altimeter sensor. Check the project here: Altimeter Datalogger: ESP32 with BMP388, MicroSD Card Storage, and OLED Display
We also visited Picos da Europa (Spain) in our RV. It was an amazing trip and we visited many beautiful places along the way (Astúrias). If you like nature and mountains, you’ll absolutely love Picos da Europa.
Looking at the plans and milestones we set for this year, I can say that nothing went as planned. So, we won’t set any plans for next year. I just want to be able to publish a new tutorial every week, or in the worst-case scenario, every other week. Then, we’ll plan accordingly to what happens next year.
We always work during our vacations, weekends, and holidays, and at the moment we both start to feel a little exhausted. We need some time out of our computers. Let’s see if next year we can take time for some serious vacations.
We hope you liked the work we did this year—all the tutorials, newsletters, and ebooks/courses. We always do our best.
Thank you so much for following and supporting our work. Thank you for helping us improve our tutorials and for sharing your knowledge with us. You guys are amazing.
We wish you all a Happy New Year!
You can share your thoughts about this year, our work, or your milestones for the next year in the comments section below. I would love to know what you’re thinking.
Rui & Sara