Year in Review 2021 – Random Nerd Tutorials

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.

Year in Review 2021 Random Nerd Tutorials

Summary of 2021 — Most Popular

Here’s a quick summary of the most popular content in 2021:

Total Published Tutorials: 71

During this year, we’ve published a total of 71 new tutorials and one new eBook.

Number of published projects2021 Random Nerd Tutorials

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?

Tasks projects 2021 Random Nerd Tutorials

Top 5 Tutorials 2021

Here’s a list of the top 5 most popular projects published in 2021:

Most Popular Projects 2021 Random Nerd Tutorials

1. ESP32 OTA (Over-the-Air) Updates – AsyncElegantOTA

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.

Async ElegantOTA Web Server How it Works ESP32

We created different versions of this tutorial depending on the board used (ESP32 or ESP8266) and IDE (Arduino IDE or VS Code + PlatformIO).

2. ESP32 Web Server: Display Sensor Readings in Gauges

This tutorial shows how to add gauges to your web server projects to display sensor readings. This is actually pretty simple if you have some basic knowledge about JavaScript.

ESP32 Web Server: Display Sensor Readings in Gauges

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: (I need to update my profile). Here’s Rui’s:

3. ESP32: Getting Started with Firebase (Realtime Database)

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:

Firebase logo

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.

4. ESP32 Useful Wi-Fi Library Functions (Arduino IDE)

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.

ESP32 Scan WiFi Networks

5. ESP8266 NodeMCU Door Status Monitor with Telegram Notifications

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.

ESP8266 NodeMCU Door Status Monitor with Telegram Notifications

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:

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:

YouTube Channel

youtube logo

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).

I had a lot of fun (and frustration too) creating that project, and it was my first contact with the three.js JavaScript 3D library.

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.

Firebase Web App with the ESP32 and ESP8266 eBook

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.

eBook/Courses Updates

This year, we updated our Build Web Server with ESP32/ESP8266 eBook with new projects.

Build Web Server with ESP32/ESP8266 eBook

This eBook covers HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and client-server communication protocols so that you’re able to build your own web server projects with the ESP32 and ESP8266 boards from scratch. You also learn how to use VS Code + PlatformIO to program the boards and organize your projects. Learn more about this eBook at the following link:

What’s the difference between “Build Web Servers with ESP32 and ESP8266” and “Firebase Web App with ESP32/ESP8266“? Here’s a quick answer:

  • 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.
  • Firebase Web App with ESP32/ESP8266: Firebase is a server and can host all the files to build a web page (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files) to display buttons and sensor readings. Firebase also saves all the data about your projects in a database (sensor readings, GPIO states, etc.). The ESP32/ESP8266 is a client that communicates with Firebase (the server). The ESP only needs to have access to the internet to communicate with Firebase. Then, you are able to control it from anywhere through the web page hosted on Firebase.

Other Updates

We also updated the other eBooks/courses whenever needed with updated code, fixed some typos, etc.).

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.

Maker Advisor

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).

Maker Advisor

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.

About Us

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

BMP388 Datalogger ESP32

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.

Wrapping Up

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

Learn how to build a home automation system and we’ll cover the following main subjects: Node-RED, Node-RED Dashboard, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, ESP8266, MQTT, and InfluxDB database DOWNLOAD »
Learn how to build a home automation system and we’ll cover the following main subjects: Node-RED, Node-RED Dashboard, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, ESP8266, MQTT, and InfluxDB database DOWNLOAD »

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77 thoughts on “Year in Review 2021 – Random Nerd Tutorials”

    • Siete voi fantastici per il modo in cui scrivete un articolo o fate un tutorial. Il vostro modus operandi è diverso da ogni altro che puoi trovare in rete, di persone che fanno tutorial o scrivono articoli su questa meravigliosa materia, e vi assicuro che in questo siete i migliori. Te lo dico perché nonostante la difficoltà con la lingua diversa, e di conseguenza l’uso del traduttore di Google, grazie a voi sono riuscito a imparare molte cose. Perciò vi dico

  1. Happy new year Rui & Sara.

    What you also did was carry on making working solutions, with explanations, that never fail to help.
    Just keep this up.

    Feliz Nochevieja

  2. Thanks for helping me delve (also dive) into the ESPxxxx world.

    I am 74 years old, and learning about these amazing little computers as well as C++ and VS code keeps my mind sharp.

    • Hi Steve, Sara and Rui
      I am also over 70 and and learning ESP32 coding to keep my mind sharp. For Christmas last year I asked for a paid tutorial for RNT and I chose the one for the ESP32-CAM specifically so I could participate in this forum. I live in New Zealand btw. Happy New Year everyone.

      • Hi Ian,

        It’s great to learn new skills and “exercise” my mind. As they are released, I buy every book that RNT creates.

        Have a happy and healthy New Year,

  3. Thank you Rui and Sara for your accurate and well laid out tutorials.
    RNT is always my first stop when researching a new project.
    Have a brilliant 2022 !

  4. I love your content! Well written and on topics that mean a lot to me and others. Great job! Don’t be too hard on yourself for not doing more. You’ve done a lot and kept the quality top notch!

  5. Hi,
    happy New Year to you both and well done for your excellent work over yet another year.
    Always interesting, easy to follow and on-point.
    Thank you

  6. Thanks very much for your hard work. Your tutorials are very well written, have thorough explanations and are topical. I discovered the ESP32 through your work and am learning C++ through your coding examples. You also are responsible for me using PlatformIO. Great tutorials!

  7. Happy new year. I’m diving back into doing electronics projects so I’m going to be spending a lot more time with your tutorials, videos, and books. I would say the most valuable part of RNT is the tutorials and books. I don’t see a lot of value-added in the videos and I imagine they take a lot of time to produce. By all means, take a real vacation. You’ll come back invigorated. Given the nature of the world these days just spending some time exploring your country in your RV is a great idea. I have an RV that is the focus of a lot of my experiments–even though I’m not really a fan of RVs! I’d rather explore on a motorcycle and camp out.

    Anyway, keep up the great work and do what you need to do to avoid burning out.

    Oh, and I’m creating a tutorial for myself on using digital oscilloscopes. I find it’s the best way for me to really learn something. I’ll share it with you when I finish.

    • Thank you so much.
      We’ll definitely have a real vacation next year.

      Yes, please share it with uh when you’re finished. The best way to learn is by teaching.


  8. Hi Sara and Rui

    Keep up the good work 🙂 Maybee more “deep dive” into VS Code plattform next year?
    Happy new year.

    BR Eirik

    • Hi Erik.
      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll see what I can do so that VS Code is easier to get into for beginners.
      Happy new year.

  9. Sara and Rui, Thank you for all the interesting tutorials. I’m amazed that you 2 can pump out so many varied projects as you have this year. You have produced the most interesting web site I know for producing and teaching your fellow nerds. I often see your site recommended when I read reviews for parts, and it’s almost always one of the top hits when I google anything esp. I am in awe of what you guys accomplish by yourselves, producing/maintaining a website, testing, writing and answering all the emails, sounds like a herculean task for a team much less 2 people. I’d like to suggest you guys create a team of volunteers to help manage some of your tasks, i.e. testing, answering emails, etc., tasks that may help build your site. Being a retired person with a technical background, I would love to help donating time occasionally (no pay needed) to do tasks that may help. You seem to also have a very educated group of followers with extensive knowledge, that I’m sure would love to help out as well. Just a thought. Again, thanks for all you’ve done and plan on in the future. Happy New Year……

    • Hi Terry.
      Thank you so much.
      I will think about your suggestion. I think it is a brilliant idea. But, I’m not sure if it is easy to implement.
      I’ve been thinking about something similar for a long time. Let’s see…
      Thank you for all the support.
      Have a great new year.

  10. Dear Sara and Rui
    Thank you very much for your effort on making these great tutorials.
    I agree with the comments above; the videos does not add much when compared to the written tutorials. When working on a project, I would always prefer a written tutorial.

    Happy new year to the both of you from Denmark!

  11. Thank you both, you have helped give me a goal and a passion for the next few years, at 65 I will soon be released after a long career and be able to devote a little more time to leisure. I am very impressed with the quality and quantity of work you do, it must take a good part of your life, but I guess that is also a passion for you. I join Terry in his reasoning, do not let yourself be overwhelmed by your passion otherwise it will not be one, you are young, enjoy life, you have started a movement, share it, it will grow on its own but you remain the ones parents

    • Hi.
      Thank you so much for your wise words.
      I’m really glad that you enjoy our tutorials.
      Have a happy new year.

  12. Happy new year to both of you!
    You are doing an amazing job maintaing/updating this site, tutorials, courses etc…
    This is for me an endless source of information and inspiration.
    Keep up the good work (but have deserved rest before 😉 )

  13. Dear Sara and Rui, Don’t be too hard on yourselves. Your productivity and quality are better than 99% of what is on the internet! Your Firebase book is awesome and it will take many hackers like me to the next level. Keep up the good work, but at a speed that allows some relaxation!
    Happy 2022!

    • Thank you!
      I’m glad you like our latest Firebase eBook. That’s my favorite subject at the moment.
      Happy 2022!

  14. Dear Sara and Rui,

    you did an amazing job this year – you are kind of a reference for your field and I look forward to every blog! Take your time also for other things – and have a great and healthy 2022!

  15. Dear Rui & Sara

    Seasons Greetings.

    I want to thank you both for your great work. Really appreciate your efforts to make such quality content. Personally I’ve learnt a lot from your tutorials & hope to learn more.

    Also as Steve M. Potter has said. Do takeout time to relax and enjoy life. And wish a very Happy New Year ahead.

  16. Happy New Year Rui and Sara!

    Wishing you all the best this coming year, more knowledge to share and more wealth financially and physically.

    Keep safe you both!

    Really appreciated all your shared tutorials ❤️❤️❤️

  17. Happy New Year…
    Your Web site is fantastic. I am a retired electrical engineer 76 years old and find the ESP projects don’t tax my old brain too much. Used to do alot of assembly language on PIC and Zilog but since retiring some years ago I haven’t had much use for those two micros. Above all the ESP have been fun and you two made it even “funner”. Keep up the good work. I’ll keep you two in mind when I patent my next super-duper IT whiz bang project and make millions.
    PS loved the pics of your vacation!

  18. Oiii Sara e Rui, acho que vcs são Brasileiros, pode ser que eu me engane rsrsrsrs
    Mais ai vcs vão ter um trabalho para descobrir o que eu escrevi para vcs rsrsrsr
    Desejo que vc tenham um feliz 2022,23,24,25 …….
    Que continuem a produzir este trabalho muito bom que vcs tem feito.
    Um grande abraço a vcs e suas famílias
    Desde já grato

  19. You guys are the greatest. I bought a bunch of ESP32 a long time ago and tried to use Arduino IDE but I hated it and then gave up for years. You made it simpler but I still hated the IDE. I loved that you added other platforms, so Igot some of your books, great help. I finally went back to my favorite editor (Sublime Text 4) and found that it now has a plugin (Deviot) that uses platformIO structure under the covers (I do ESP32, ESP-CAM, all Arduino). I have been using it for a while and will never look back. With the help of your eBooks (thank you) and other tutorial I have created hundreds of sketches. Sublime Text is really easy to use and I can use a Directory/*.ino file for my sketches and all the platformIO structure is hidden (and updated without me worrying about it). I hope both of you had a great Holiday season and I will be reading and testing most of your stuff for 2022. Love you guys!!

    • Hi.
      Thank you so much.
      I now use most VS Code + PlatformIO, but many people also like Sublime text.
      Have a great 2022.

  20. Hi Sara and Rui
    I am over 80 years old and have been involve with electronic from the 1950’s and those hot devices in glass envelopes. I am amazed at the progression of electronics over the years.
    About two years ago I discovered the ESP devices and find them exciting. I have several of your books, which I find easy to follow and the code always works. I built the weather station, added sensors and modified code to work better for me. I have many varieties of the ESP including the CAM for which I built a pan and tilt using a 3D printer. I also use Raspberry Pi and Arduino in my exploring what electronics can do.
    Keep up the work of opening the mysteries of these devices. I was an industrial Instructor and find teaching and writing guides very rewarding. I am retired widower living in Florida, USA

    • Hi Robert.
      That’s great. Thank you for sharing your experience.
      Thank you for following and supporting our work.

  21. Happy New Year!
    As many have expressed our gratitude and appreciation here, I will just echo those comments, and remind you both that the quality is FAR more important then the quantity! You work is much better than most, and all of us appreciate that!!
    My retirement is still 2 or so years away, but I spend the time I can playing with this stuff. I look forward to doing much more of it in 2 years. My current project is a chicken coop controller to upgrade the one that has been running on an UNO since 2013! I am happy it does what it does, but now I want more visibility to the birds environment. Just his week I got a router I can dedicate to WiFi IOT, and hope the range will be sufficient to the coop.
    As I have given up on Windows many years ago, any VS code stuff doesn’t help me at all. So far, I am not using Platform IO or Python, as I have made some progress with the Arduino IDE, and it seems to be about ready to launch a stable 2.0. For now, I’ll stick with that, and when I new a new frustration I’ll try Platform IO!

    Thanks for all you do!
    Dave K.

    • Hi Dave.
      Thanks for your nice words.
      A chicken coop controller is a great project! Monitoring it via Wi-Fi would be great!
      Have a great year.

  22. Good evening and Happy New Year! 😃
    I have very much enjoyed your many on line and in print publications. They are always well written and very informative.

    I have several work areas that I need to monitor the temperature and humidity in each area – I would like to use multiple weather station like those you describe in your article contained in except that I would like have a “master” webserver that would listen to each of the individuals weather stations and then store the data from each one and then plot a composite graph with the datà from each location.

    It would seem to me the individuals wx station are a snap. My question is how to scrape the data off of the individuals webpage from each station so the data can be aggatted and then replotted in composite graph

    It may also be nice to store the data on large sd card or a hard drive for historical reasons.

    Thanks again for all that you do to inspire and teach the rest of us

    Have a great 2022!


    • Hi.
      To aggregate the readings from all boards, you can use MQTT and publish all data in Node-RED dashboard for example. We have several examples about this topic on our website.
      You can also use other communication protocols like ESP-NOW, to send data to one master board:
      You can also use Firebase Realtime Database to save all data and create a web page accessible from anywhere to display all readings. Check all our Firebase tutorials:

      Have a great 2022.

      • Good evening and Happy New Year! 😃
        I have very much enjoyed your many on line and in print publications. They are always well written and very informative.

        I have several work areas that I need to monitor the temperature and humidity in each area – I would like to use multiple weather station like those you describe in your article contained in except that I would like have a “master” webserver that would listen to each of the individuals weather stations and then store the data from each one and then plot a composite graph with the datà from each location.

        It would seem to me the individuals wx station are a snap. My question is how to scrape the data off of the individuals webpage from each station so the data can be aggatted and then replotted in composite graph

        It may also be nice to store the data on large sd card or a hard drive for historical reasons.

        Thanks again for all that you do to inspire and teach the rest of us

        Have a great 2022!


        Thanks for your response but also for the very quick speed your getting back to me. Have a wonderful 2922,!


  23. Well done a terrific year. Take time to care for yourself and avoid burnout, the quality is far more important than the quantity – that’s why I’m happy to be a signed-up member of RNTlabs!

  24. ok, a bit late on the scene … but I too am over 70 and prefer, by a long shot, hardware, but alas, the days of tubes and 3-legged transistors is mostly history. With the ESP32 (and RPi), life has moved to software, which I really haven’t liked nearly as much as chasing electrons in circuits. But the eBooks by you guys have been a thrill – I’ve gone through micropython, ESP32 via Arduino IDE, building web servers, and can’t say enough about the examples and significantly, the support! Thanks you !!! Please don’t stop !

    (we did the Rota Vicente 3 years ago and it was an outstanding trip! … we live in Silicon Valley so Portugal, we learned, is a spectacular country!).

    • Hi Joe.
      Thank you so much for your support.
      I’m really glad that you’re enjoying our learning materials.

      Yes, Costa Vicentina is great for a road trip and it’s also very windy.
      Algarve is the best place for sun and beach. We love it.



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