Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Annual Review


Since the end of the year is approaching, I would like to look back on 2011 and take a peek at 2012. Unlike the years before, I'm hardly setting any goals this year. Interests change so quickly, and new opportunities present themselves so regularly, I feel like it might be ignorant to set these things in stone.

My career

The year started out interesting, working on a brand new product for fire departments at Ferranti Computer Systems. Although my role in this project should have been fairly satisfying, I still felt like my position back then failed to fill a certain void. That's why I decided to take the leap into the Great Unknown.

In September, I started working for Euricom as a consultant. So far, I haven't regretted making that decision at all, I ended up in a group of intelligent, progressive and enjoyable people.

Blog

This year I managed to write 69 posts (70 including this one), which is a bit more than the year before.

Plenty of posts have gotten decent attention this year, making the traffic tripple compared to 2010. And no matter how other bloggers claim you shouldn't care about your blog statistics, this does mean a bunch to me.

The main topics I wrote about this year were mostly web related (HTML5, JavaScript and ASP.NET MVC). I even wrote some opinionated posts this year, which I found harder, but also more rewarding.

Last year, I set a goal to get better at MVC and to at least look at WebMatrix. I spent a large part of the year building things in ASP.NET MVC at the day job, so that goal was easily achieved. I built one small thing in WebMatrix, which was enough to give me a feel of what WebMatrix is all about.

My guess is that I will cover similar topics next year. My faith in the web has only grown stronger. I think the rise and rise of the browser and JavaScript provides us with unseen opportunities, but also with an enormous amount of challenges. I am really eager to start looking more into serious JavaScript development.

Community

I think I did fairly well this year. I attended several local community meetings and got to to know a lot of nice people in the process.

The highlight probably was my own talk on WebSockets at HTML5 Webcamps. I really enjoyed that experience. I do not aspire to be a speaker though, but should I have interesting things to talk about, I probably won't reject invitations.

I'm not sure if I will be doing a lot of community events in 2012. I often don't seem to get out of them what I hoped for. Also, Euricom regularly organizes meetups to talk about all things software development. These will already consume plenty of time.

Travelling

This year my girlfriend and I did a three-week roadtrip along the West Coast. This trip was by far the best time of our lives. We are determined to undertake similar projects in the future again.

Next to that, we revisited the Czech Republic, taking plenty of time to visit Prague this time.

We're not sure what 2012 will bring. Right now, we are looking into something more nearby, Italy.

Sport/Health

Last year I picked up boxing, but I had to give that up due to scheduling conflicts. I have been working a tweaked P90X routine twice a week instead, which is very much recommended.

I reasonably succeeded in achieving my running ambitions. Altogether, I ran somewhere around 800 kilometers (= 500 miles) this year. This summer, I probably was in the best shape of my life, running 15 km pretty (= 9 miles) comfortably. Although the graph below suggests that I'm slacking, it's only partially true. I have been doing shorter (and higher paced) runs lately, increasing the intensity. Running is probably one of the sports that give me the most energy in return, so I intend to stay at it.


Conclusion

2011 has been an eventful year for me. In 2012, I hope to be able to keep doing the things I love, surrounded by the people I love. Trying to live life as much as I can.

I wish you and your family the best for 2012. That the new year may bring you health, love and plenty of hacking. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011's most read posts

I compiled a list of most popular posts that were published on this blog in 2011. Unlike last year, and the year before that, this year it's not a strict top five list. While analyzing the statistics, I found out that a few topics -covered over multiple posts - were popular this year.

Preparing for my HTML5 Webcamps session on WebSockets, I wrote a few posts on the Microsoft WebSockets prototype. I published a step-by-step guide on how to get the prototype working on your machine. A little later I also published two posts covering the internals of the client and server WebSockets prototype. I'm not surprised search drove a lot of traffic to these posts. Microsoft hardly tried to make it easy to play with the prototype: no tutorials, no source, nothing. Now the specification is stable, and WCF 4.5 has WebSockets support out of the box, I suspect MS will make greater evangelizing efforts. Or maybe, they will wait until one of their browsers support it.

In this post I rambled on how liberating it can be to build something small on your own now and then, just to keep your sanity and escape from software in the real world. This post got picked up by Hacker News, making it the second entry in this list.

In one of those sporadic academic moments, I had a look at one of the quirks in anonymous type equality. I also looked at the reason why anonymous types can be compared in the first place, being reference types after all.

Starting with a new sideproject in ASP.NET MVC a few months ago, I experimented with patterns to build viewmodels and extract domain models back out of the viewmodels. This last post was featured on the ASP.NET homepage for a few days, ensuring this last topic made the list.

To wrap up this link collection, I would like to thank you for reading. I hope to see you contribute to this little outlet of mine for another year.