Year in Review 2022 – Random Nerd Tutorials

The new year is just around the corner. This means it’s time for a Year in Review. We’ll share with you a summary of what happened throughout 2022 on the Random Nerd Tutorials blog, reflect on what we’ve achieved during this year, and set new milestones for the next year.

Year in Review 2022 – Random Nerd Tutorials

Next year, around March more or less, Random Nerd Tutorials completes 10 years. How crazy is that? I never thought that we could run this blog successfully for so many years.

Total Published Tutorials: 57

Throughout this year, we’ve published a total of 57 new tutorials and one new eBook.

Year in Review 2022 Random Nerd Tutorials Total Published Tutorials

Last year, we’ve published more tutorials than this year (71 vs 57). However, quantity doesn’t mean quality. Our aim for this year was to publish at least one new tutorial per week, which we achieved successfully.

Usually, in the first week of a month, we send you a newsletter (for those that are subscribed to the newsletter) with a recap of the projects published in the previous month. On that week, sometimes we publish a new project, and other times we don’t.

Most Popular Tutorials

Curious about the most popular tutorials published this year? Here are the top 5:

Most popular projects RNT 2022

1. ESP32: Create a Wi-Fi Manager (AsyncWebServer library)

This tutorial shows how to build a Wi-Fi Manager for the ESP32 from scratch using the AsyncWebServer library. A Wi-Fi Manager allows you to connect the ESP32 board to different access points (networks) without hard-coding network credentials (SSID and password) and upload new code to your board. Your ESP will automatically join the last saved network or set up an access point that you can use to configure the network credentials.

ESP32 ESP8266 Wi-Fi Manager Web Server How it Works

Besides being a great feature to add to your projects, this tutorial is also great to learn more about building web servers with the ESP32 and its Wi-Fi functions.

We also created a similar tutorial for the ESP8266 boards: ESP8266 NodeMCU: Create a Wi-Fi Manager (AsyncWebServer library).

2. Firebase: Control ESP32 GPIOs from Anywhere

You can use Firebase to control your GPIOs from anywhere. Basically, you create a database with the GPIO states. The ESP32 listens to database changes and receives new data every time something changes in the database. Then, it can update the GPIO states accordingly.

Firebase Web App control ESP32 ESP8266 Outputs from Anywhere

To change the GPIO states, you can write on the database manually using the Firebase dashboard, or you can create a web app to do that. We also have a tutorial to create such an app. So, for a complete project, we recommend following the next tutorials in order:

If you want to use an ESP8266 instead, you should follow this tutorial first: Firebase: Control ESP8266 NodeMCU GPIOs from Anywhere.

3. ESP32-CAM Save Picture in Firebase Storage

This guide shows how to upload pictures taken with the ESP32-CAM to firebase storage. Then, you can access your Firebase dashboard to check the pictures taken with the camera. You can store multiple pictures or you can overwrite the last picture and only have one picture saved.

ESP32-CAM Firebase Storage Project Overview

After having the pictures in Firebase Storage, you can build a web app to display the pictures on a web app. See part 2 of this tutorial to learn how to build the web app: ESP32-CAM: Display Pictures in Firebase Web App.

4. Getting Started with LILYGO T-SIM7000G ESP32 (LTE, GPRS, and GPS)

This getting started guide covers the most useful features of this board and contains examples showing how to connect to the internet, send SMS and get GPS data.

Getting Started with LILYGO T-SIM7000G ESP32 LTE GPRS GPS

The LILYGO T-SIM7000G is an ESP32 development board with a SIM7000G chip. This adds LTE (4G), GPS, and GPRS to your board. This means that with this board you can send SMS, get location and time using GPS, and connect it to the internet using a SIM card data plan. This board doesn’t support phone calls.

5. ESP32/ESP8266 with HTTPS and SSL/TLS Encryption: Basic Concepts

We’ve just published this article recently and it has already received lots of good feedback. This tutorial is a getting started guide to HTTPS communication with the ESP32 and ESP8266 using SSL/TLS encryption. It covers and explains some basic concepts about this subject without getting into too many technical details.

HTTP vs HTTPS

We’ve already published another related tutorial showing how to make HTTPS requests with the ESP32:

We intend to cover more tutorials related to this subject in the next year.

Most Covered Subject

The main subject we wrote about this year was “Databases”. We created a lot of tutorials showing how to interface different databases with the ESP32 and ESP8266 boards:

My favorite is Firebase, but InfluxdDB is a great option for datalogging (it is a time-series database) if you want to easily and quickly build charts with your data.

New eBook Released

This year, we released a new eBook about Node-RED: SMART HOME with Raspberry Pi, ESP32, and ESP8266.

SMART HOME with Raspberry Pi ESP32 and ESP8266 Node-RED InfluxDB eBook

This eBook covers building an automation system using Node-REDNode-RED DashboardRaspberry PiESP32ESP8266MQTT, and InfluxDB database. You can find all the details about the ebook on the following link:

I was very skeptical about writing this eBook because Node-RED, Raspberry Pi OS, and other software change quite often, which means I’ll need to update the eBook content quite frequently. However, everything seems to be working as expected for now and our customers just love this eBook. I wasn’t expecting that you would like it so much and that there were so many people interested in this subject. I think I’ll write more about this subject next year.

eBooks Updates

This year we updated the following eBooks:

We’re also currently updating our “Learn ESP32 with Arduino IDE eBook/course“. This is our most complete eBook about the ESP32 with more than 700 pages. We need to reorganize some of the chapters and review all the content, which will take some time. We would like to remind you, that everyone that buys one of our eBooks, gets free future updates. So, if you’ve already bought the ESP32 eBook, you can expect to receive an updated version next year.

Visit the Courses Page to see All the eBooks »

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).

We’re currently not creating new content for Maker Advisor, except for some board reviews and updating our previous guides. Here’s a list of the most popular articles on Maker Advisor.

  1. ESP32 Development Boards Review and Comparison
  2. Best ESP8266 Wi-Fi Development Board
  3. ESP32 vs ESP8266 – Pros and Cons
  4. Best Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kits 2022 – Buying Guide
  5. Best Arduino Starter Kits – Buying Guide 2022

Our Youtube Channel

We have a youtube channel that we used to use to publish some video tutorials or video demonstrations for some projects. You can check our youtube channel here.

It’s been a while since we published a new video. Creating new videos takes a lot of time and that’s not our main focus. So, at the moment we don’t intend to create video tutorials, except for short video demonstrations for some tutorials.

Answering Your Questions

As I mentioned last year, we spend a lot of time answering all your questions: emails, comments, questions on the forum, questions on the Facebook group, etc.

I would like to remind you that at the moment we don’t do consulting or write custom code. Currently, our job is to write tutorials. If you have any doubts about our content, or if something we wrote is not working as expected, we’re happy to help. However, if you have a specific project that’s not related to our tutorials, please understand that it’s impossible for us to help everyone with their specific project. Even though we try to help in those situations, that’s not our priority.

Besides answering the questions from our customers about our eBooks, and many times about other subjects too, I also try to answer the comments we receive on all our blog posts. As the blog keeps growing, we get more interactions from our readers, but it’s impossible for me to take care of everything. Additionally, we receive many questions that are not well formulated and that don’t provide enough details. If you want an answer, you need to make a good question providing as much relevant information as possible.

How to Search Content on our Blog

Many of your questions may have already been covered in our previous tutorials. So, it’s important that you know how to search for content on our website.

On the home page, at the top bar, there are some rectangles with the main subjects we cover on our blog. If you click on “ESP32”, for example, you’ll see all ESP32 tutorials published on the blog.

You can also use our search tool. It works well if you only search for one word. For example, imagine you want to learn how to use the Firebase database with the ESP32, simply search for “Firebase” and you’ll get all our articles about Firebase.

RNT-search-bar

If you’re looking for something more specific you can always use google and add “site:randomnerdtutorials.com” in the search term to see if we have something about that specific topic.

I hope with these tips you can take the most out of our tutorials. I know our blog is not perfect, but we do our best.

Special Thanks to PCBWay

We would like to thank our sponsor PCWay for supporting our work (even though we didn’t focus on creating PCB projects this year).

PCBWay is a full-feature Printed Circuit Board manufacturing service. Their service is really good and fast, and the PCBs have great quality. If you want to turn your prototypes into professional PCBs, consider trying the PCBWay service. If you buy your PCBs from PCBWay using our link (https://randomnerdtutorials.com/pcbway), you are supporting our work.

PCBWay-merchandise-2022

This year, they took the gifts/merchandise they send to us for Christmas to the next level. See the picture above (a pillow that turns into a blanket, a notebook, a cellphone holder, some rulers and reference guides, a mug, a table mat, and a mouse mat).

Milestones for the Next Year

Here’s a list of some of the things we intend to do next year:

  • We want to create more tutorials and projects using Node-RED and Raspberry Pi. We want to create a new category on our website about this subject like we have for the ESP32, ESP8266, MicroPython, etc.
  • We intend to write more tutorials about encryption and secure communication. For example HTTPS requests, encrypted communication between IoT boards, HTTPS Web Servers with the ESP32 and ESP8266 boards, MQTT over TLS, and much more.
  • We’ll update the “Learn ESP32 with Arduino IDE”, “ESP32-CAM Projects”, and “Build Web Servers” eBooks. The first eBook will be subjected to a detailed update, while in the other two, we’ll just fix some minor issues and typos, and update some sketches.

As with previous years, we intend to send you a weekly newsletter with a new project or tutorial every week. We’ll also continue sending our monthly wrap-ups (a compilation of the previous month’s publications).

When it comes to the Maker Advisor website, we intend to update the most popular blog posts and write reviews about new boards that might be relevant at the moment.

Our Personal Thoughts

Last year, we didn’t set any major milestones for this year, only that we want to continue publishing at least one project per week or every other week. As we’ve seen at the beginning of this post, we published a total of 57 tutorials this year, which is a little bit more than one per week. So, that milestone was successfully achieved this year.

Taking a look at our year in review, it seems that we didn’t work that much compared with previous years. As I’ve mentioned last year, Rui is focusing on other personal projects and he takes care of essential tasks to keep Random Nerd Tutorials running like sending the weekly emails, taking care of the accounting, server monitoring, answering emails, and much more. I (Sara) take care of creating the tutorials and all related content like writing the code, designing diagrams, creating the thumbnails, answering the comments, answering your question on the RNTLAB forum, etc.

It’s impossible to focus on everything at the same time, we’re just two people working here. So, last year, we decided that we would focus mainly on creating written content for the Random Nerd Tutorials blog. And that’s what we did. I’m very proud of all the articles we put together, plus the new SMART HOME eBook, which took more time to finish than we anticipated.

In the previous year, we also planned that we would travel more and have more time out of the computers. This was achieved successfully as we traveled to many different places this year.

If you want to read a little about our travel this year, continue reading. I think I was too excited when I wrote that section. So, if you’re not interested, you can skip to the Wrapping Up section.

Northern Lights – A Wish From the Bucket List

I don’t know about you, but since I learned about “aurora borealis” in school, I’ve always dreamt about seeing those amazing lights. That might not seem like much mainly for those that live way up north on the globe (or in the south for the aurora australis). But, for us, living in Portugal, that seems like a million years away from our reality. Aditionally, I personally don’t know anyone here that has taken a trip to the artic to see the lights.

If you search for the best places to see the northern lights, you’ll find that some of the suggested places are Iceland, Lapland, Lofoten Islands, and Tromsø in Norway. We had planned a full trip to Iceland in March 2020, but as you imagine we had to cancel that trip. This year, we decided that this was the year that we would see (or at least try to see) the Northern lights. After some research, we found that Tromsø in Norway was a good option because it provided a lot of activities in the snow, it was one of the least cold places on the list, and the flights were affordable for the time of the year we wanted (March)—even though everything else was absurdly expensive.

Our trip to Tromsø was the most expensive trip we had, taking into account the number of days we spent there, but it was really worth it. Not only we had the opportunity to see strong northern lights, but we also did other super fun activities like riding a snowmobile, a boat trip in the fjords, playing in the snow, and much more. Additionally, the landscapes are really beautiful, absolutely breathtaking.

Germany Road Trip

We did a road trip to Germany in our motorhome, starting here in Portugal, Porto. We explored the south of Germany: the Black Forest and Bavaria and some other places in Spain and France along the way.

I wasn’t expecting much and we were so surprised! We were not expecting to like Germany so much. It’s a wonderful country with great roads and good infrastructure for camping and motorhomes. The landscapes, villages, lakes, castles, and mountains are so beautiful. Everything is so organized and the people are so nice. One must also not forget the huge number of spa/thermen almost everywhere. We also visited Europa Park, a huge amusement park near the french border. We’re big fans of amusement parks and this was one of the best we have been to. We spent two full days there.

There are so many places to explore, that we regret not having planned more time there. We’ll definitely come back next year on our motorhome. The only thing we did not like much in Germany was the food.

This trip took us almost an entire month. However, having a campervan makes working on the road much easier than when we’re staying in other types of accommodation.

The Perfect Beach Getaway

In summer, we wanted to go to a beach destination that we had never gone to before and that would not break the bank. We decided to go to Mallorca (a Spanish island in the Mediterranean). It’s less than a two-hour flight from where we live, the food is good and affordable, and the beaches are amazing with crystal clear blue water with great temperature for swimming. We had a great time there. Absolutely recommended!

European Capitals

We also visited some capital cities in Europe for the first time like Amsterdam (and other places in the Netherlands), London, Copenhagen, and Brussels. We did a little detour and visited Paris for the second time to try some restaurants we had heard good things about.

Madeira – Hiker’s Paradise

Madeira is a Portuguese island in the Atlantic. If you like good food, beautiful landscapes, and hiking, look no further. This was the first time we visited Madeira and we liked it very much—we only regret not having visited earlier. There are endless hikes you can choose from with different types of landscapes: coast, mountains and levadas. We did some of the most beautiful hikes there—the hike from Pico Ruivo to Pico do Areeiro was one of the most beautiful we’ve done until today. Aditionally, the weather and temperature are pleasant all year round.

Wrapping Up

To wrap up, 2022 was a great year. Everything ran as expected with the blog and we achieved the milestones we have set for this year.

We did a lot of travel this year, and it was totally worth it. We always work when we travel—you get your questions answered, and we publish new posts and send emails like in regular work weeks. This means we need to plan our projects and posts some weeks or months in advance. Our aim is that you don’t even notice that we’re out of the office.

Next year, we don’t know yet where we’ll go yet, but we would like to keep exploring some European gems and also going to different continents. Do you have any suggestions?

As I mentioned in previous years, I love my work and I’m really grateful that I have the flexibility to write what I want and create the tutorials and projects I like. However, at the moment, I feel that I need something a little different, a new challenge for the next year, a new hobby… I’m not quite sure yet.

We hope you like the work we did throughout this year: the tutorials, newsletter, the new eBooks, etc. We also hope that you’re happy with all our support in answering your questions and emails. We do our best. Nonetheless, there’s always room for improvement, so we’re open to hearing your feedback and suggestions—write a comment down below. Also, if you have suggestions for future topics and tutorials that you would like to see covered here, feel free to write a comment.

We had a wonderful year and that wouldn’t be possible without all your support. We would like to thank all our readers, subscribers, and followers for supporting our work. You are amazing!

How was your year? We hope you had a great year too.

Thank you!

Happy New Year to all of you.



Build Web Server projects with the ESP32 and ESP8266 boards to control outputs and monitor sensors remotely. Learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript and client-server communication protocols DOWNLOAD »

Build Web Server projects with the ESP32 and ESP8266 boards to control outputs and monitor sensors remotely. Learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript and client-server communication protocols DOWNLOAD »


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40 thoughts on “Year in Review 2022 – Random Nerd Tutorials”

  1. Happy new year to all of you out there 🙂

    May our projets bring place in thé world !

    Sara and Ruis thanks for your commitment ….

    Mario
    Québec City
    Canada

    Reply
  2. Happy New Year Rui and Sara, as well as others reading this ;),
    It is a wonderful milestone of 10 years! It was great to here of your travels, and other accomplishments for the year. But it was most interesting to hear how much more you have planned for the future. The 2 of you have THE BEST tutorial site on the web, and I am amazed that you guys do it all yourselves. It is great that you did get some road time and, yes, Northern Lights are on my bucket list too, so I’m a little envious.
    I also hope for peace in the world as Mario stated, and hope we are resource and power conscious as we build our gadgets, as Earth really needs us to help!
    Best in the New Year!
    As Always,
    Dave K.

    Reply
    • Hi Dave.
      Thank you so much for your nice words. They mean a lot to me.
      I hope you have a great year too and that you can see the northern lights one day, it’s a spectacular event.
      Happy 2023!
      Regards,
      Sara

      Reply
  3. Best wishes for the new year! May the ESP-force be with us!

    Looking forward for a great 2023! Including cool trips!
    Strobistar

    PS. I loved to see our precious Brussels Atomium on your website 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi.
      Thank you so much.
      You can expect new tutorials next year.

      I always thought that the Atomium was nothing that special… until we get there. I was so surprised! It is huge, bigger than it seems in the pictures and the visit is super interesting. Inside you can see the story of its construction and other exhibitions. It’s well worth the visit.

      Have a great year.
      Regards,
      Sara

      Reply
  4. Buon anno Rui e Sara , a voi e a tutti i vostri collaboratori.
    Grazie per gli ottimi consigli , attendo con attenzione le nuove versioni degli ebook che ho
    acquistato ed utilizzato con vero piacere.
    A presto
    Roberto

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your support.
      We’ll receive an email with the eBook updates when they are ready.
      Have a great new year!
      Regards,
      Sara

      Reply
  5. Congratulations on all of your work this year, years gone by, and years to come. You both have done an amazing job in creating tutorials and reference materials that are informative and rich thus making the associated projects a positive learning experience and fun. No one else has contributed as much as you both have in advancing IOT technology and creating new interests that lead so many to rewarding careers. So as I thank you here so does the rest of the world by engaging in projects that make the world a better place!

    Reply
  6. Thanks for all the tutorials!

    One problem that I have, and I think many other people also have, is trying to implement your suggestions on our networks. The problem is my network provider blocks outside requires from passing through their network unless I pay to have a fixed IP address for servers in my location to be reached.
    How do I get around this problem?

    Anthony

    Reply
    • Hi.
      Can you better specify your problem?
      Do you mean that when you have an ESP32 web server, for example, you can’t access its IP address on your local network?
      Regards,
      Sara

      Reply
      • My IP uses DHCP rather than fixed IP addresses which makes assigning DNS names and to individual devices impossible. Sure, I can control and configure my local IPs and create my own private networks on my Lan, but that won’t work when I’m trying to access sensors connected to ESP32s at a customer’s or the university’s network a mile away and not on my network in my office.

        Reply
        • What method are you using for accessing outside your local network?
          Have you tried cloudflare zero trust? I have not tested with ESP boards, but I have tested with Raspberry Pi successfully. Maybe it will work with ESP too.
          Regards,
          Sara

          Reply
        • Set up a DDNS service to point to your router and then forward the ports on it to your internal IP addresses. Worked for me using an Asus router.

          Reply
  7. Merci pour tous ces excellents tutoriels qui m’ont beaucoup aidée. J’imagine la somme de travail que toutes vos activités représentent, c’est formidable que vous ayez pu profiter, en plus, de si belles vacances.
    Je vous souhaite le meilleur pour l’année 2023
    Marie-Claude

    Reply
  8. Hey Rui and Sara,

    You guys rock. Your focus and consistency at your work is almost like a mission. You have touched numerous lives all over the world and have ignited many minds.

    Thank you for your hard work and for sharing it with us all. Appreciate your talent.

    Have a great year ahead.
    Lots of love.
    Arvind
    India.

    Reply
  9. My dears Sandra and Rui,
    I am old man allready (77). But I am happy to parcipate in the progress. I can do it too thanks your work for peoples. It is very helpfull.
    I have one wish for everyone. The peace over the world.
    And for you especially and all people of good will, good health and happiness.
    Blue sky over you,
    Ivan

    Reply

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