OptoForums Top 5 of 2023

Posted by Ben Orchard on Dec 13, 2023 7:00:00 AM

A year in review of the most popular topics and discussions on the OptoForums.

Let's talk for a moment about our fantastic Opto 22 forum fans. The OptoForums host an amazing community.

It seems that only a very small number of industrial automation manufacturers run their own public forums. Some community-supported efforts have sprung up to backfill the need for a place where like-minded folks can gather, but there is something special about having a place that is, well, for lack of a better term, "factory supported."

Why is that a big deal?


For one thing, having a direct connection to the very company that builds the hardware means that the forums often get a "heads-up" on upcoming software, firmware, and hardware releases before everyone else. It also means that sometimes we can tip off the very engineers that built the product to your posted questions, and get answers directly from the source.

Ok, with that said… it's been a while since we have looked up the top 5 OptoForum search terms for a given year. We covered 2020 and 2021 in previous OptoBlog posts. Now, let's take a look at 2023 and see what our fantastic forum community has had top of mind this year.

We had just a hair under a quarter of a million page views this past year (not including bots crawling and indexing the site—AI model building <grin>. If you include bots, we hit 4.5 million page views this year). Granted, a lot of those were from non-logged-in users. If you found any of our pages of value, I encourage you to create an account or simply log in with your Opto 22 credentials and join the conversation—even if it's just a simple, "Hey, thanks, that’s a great idea!"

One metric that I find interesting is the simple "like." Sure it can mean different things to different people—from a simple "I read it" all the way up to "Yes! I really like your post and found it helpful." Either way, in 2023, I saw the heart button clicked 638 times. More than once a day!

This year the top 5 search terms look like this:

1. Modbus - Almost as old as the hills, this industrial interface will always be part of any Opto 22 product where it makes sense. Node-RED has a range of nodes to help interface with both Modbus TCP and Modbus RTU. A good example forum post of this search term can be found here: Modbus serial with Node-RED. The post details a step-by-step process to go from RS232/422 to data in a Node-RED flow.

2. REST API - Back in 2016, Opto 22 added REST interfaces to our SNAP PAC line, and of course, it was a core part of the groov Family right out of the gate. The forum posts on this topic don’t just include our own products, but many other services that offer a RESTful interface. Many of our customers are using the built-in Node-RED to leverage this almost universal interface.

One of the most popular REST forum posts is by Terry on EPIC data using RESTful Python. In it, Terry breaks down how to install the "requests" library with Python pip and gives some sample code to get up and running quickly. 

3. CODESYS - I suspect this made it to the number 3 search term due to Opto 22 adding it as a control engine option to our groov RIO family. It's been a huge success, and based on the sales of the CODESYS runtime engine license numbers, the adoption rate is very high.

Take a look at this highly viewed forum post on connecting CODESYS and groov View. It makes sense that you would want to connect your control engine tags with the built-in, easy-to-use, HTML5-responsive, no-code web page builder.

4. OptoMMP - It would be hard to say for sure, but from my forum interactions, I’d say OptoMMP is used about 50% of the time for peer-to-peer data exchange between Opto devices and third-party software application interfacing, since it's a bit quicker than REST.

Opto has a lot of driver kits for MMP. You can check some out on developer.opto22.com, but this popular forum post has some community-contributed code and talks about C#, C++, and .Net Core. Check out Porting C# application onto GRV native Linux for a long and interesting discussion about your many options for using different tools with groov hardware.

5. OPC UA - I think it's safe to say this made the list since we added the groov Manage Data Service with our release of firmware version 3.0. It's a very popular protocol and is always well-received in the Opto 22 factory training class.

Last year, we released firmware version 3.4.0 with the native OPC UA data service included. It's pretty cool to think a lot of the clicks that drove "OPC UA" up the popular search term tree came via searches this year from a feature that launched in the previous year.

On that note, one of the most popular posts on the forums—at any given time—is any post about the release of a new firmware version. A case in point is the announcement of the EPIC 3.4.0 release in June 2022. We tend to post news of these updates to the forums first—a small way to say thank you to the amazing community that is thriving there. 

Our product support team should always be your first point of contact if you have a support issue with your Opto setup, but should you want to brainstorm or get a second opinion on a proof of concept you are putting together, then the Opto 22 forums are perfect for just that.

Beyond that, it’s also a great platform to share your success stories and interesting solutions you put together for your various applications—they can help someone searching for the same use case, or inspire others to share their ideas!

It's a very focused forum with almost none of the off-topic banter that is often found on other forums, so it's easy to search and get right to the heart of the matter.

Stop by and take a look around…. Your search terms might just shape the top 5 topics next year!


Cheers Mate.


Topics: Modbus, REST API, CODESYS, OPC UA, OptoForum, OptoMMP

Written by Ben Orchard

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