OptoForums Top 5 for 2021

Posted by Ben Orchard on Dec 7, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Get a recap of the most searched topics and popular OptoForum posts of the year.

Let’s take a look back at 2021 through the eyes of the OptoForums. You remember last year's top 5, right?

For starters, we had almost 200 more people sign up this year over last. (Y-Axis below is the number of daily sign-ups).


It’s exciting to see the forums keep growing. I guess WFH is not all bad? 😀 (Also, check out April 3rd; 9 people joined that day alone - neato).

Let's start off by taking a look at what our users are searching for. Here are the top 5 forum search terms for the year (with a few of my comments):

  1. MQTT - Along with Sparkplug B being built into groov EPIC and RIO and heavily used in Node-RED, it's not a surprise to see this topic have a major uptick and be the number one search term in our ICS-centric forums.
  2. CODESYS - A very popular IEC 61131-3 automation software package. We have cool things in store for CODESYS...will it make the number one search term next year on the Forums?
  3. Python - IEEE Spectrum places Python as their number one programming language for 2021. With shell access and Python pre-installed on both EPIC and RIO, it's not a surprise to see this search term trending. We know of at least 1 customer that did their entire control system just using Python. Very cool.
  4. RIO - With over 200,000 unique I/O configurations, Node-RED, Shell, MQTT and more built in, groov RIO is more than just I/O. Don’t want to spill the beans, but 2022 is shaping up to be a great year for RIO.
  5. Database - Control systems create data, and you need to put that data somewhere. groov offers some great options to help manage your critical data.

Now that we know what people are searching for, let’s jump into the five most popular posts of 2021.
  1. Sending Emails with Node-RED. Terry and I break down how to send an email from groov hardware and a Windows PC. For good measure, the post also covers how to attach a file to the email (handy for sending log files or CSV files etc).


  2. Setting up an OPC UA server in Node-RED. OPC UA has been around for a very long time - or Yonks as we say in Australia - so it's no surprise that people are still looking to use it. MQTT is vastly better in so many ways, but sometimes you just need to get the job done. Stay tuned to the forums and this blog because we have some mighty interesting news regarding OPC UA coming up in 2022.


  3. Adding an image to a Node-RED dashboard. A short but sweet post about how to add an image to the dashboard on any Node-RED tab. Late this year, both EPIC and RIO got a firmware update. Version 3.3 landed in November, and now you can configure a Node-RED dashboard-only user. We expect to see a pretty solid uptick in people using that option, especially in RIO, to build simple UI’s for their end users.


  4. Sending MQTT Sparkplug B messages from Node-RED. Yet another Node-RED post, but bear with me here. As the search results show, there is a big and growing interest in all things MQTT. One request we get fairly often is the ability to send data to two different brokers. The native client in EPIC and RIO use their multi-broker setup for fail-over, so if you want to send data to two different brokers, then you use the native groov Manage MQTT client to send data to one, and the Node-RED MQTT client to the other. This Forum thread should get you up and running publishing your groov data to the second MQTT Broker. (Or you can skip this forum post and just use Ignition's MQTT Transmission client on EPIC or RIO as that support multiple transmitters and brokers).

  5. Analog totalizer value clears on download. The fifth top post covered how EPIC, RIO, and SNAP all handle the analog totalizer value and downloads slightly different. It's a great showcase for how the whole Opto 22 community comes together and works out some really cool stuff.


So there you have it...2021 is almost in the rearview mirror and will be smaller than it appears in no time.

Hope you all have a great and safe winter up north and a beach-tastic summer down south.

See ya all next year!

Cheers Mate,


Topics: Node-RED, MQTT, groov EPIC, groov RIO, OPC UA, OptoForum

Written by Ben Orchard

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