Reflecting on 2021

December 31, 2021

Reflecting on 2021

In 2019, I started the "tradition" of reflecting on the past year, mainly from a developer & geek point of view. I think it's a useful tool for summarizing how I've grown as a developer, and what cool new things I've done and accomplished.

I continued this in 2020, and now, 2021.

Personal

As usual, I won't share any personal stuff except that it appears I've avoided Covid 19 successfully. Or, if I had it, it was asymptomatic.

Apart from that, I'm grateful for being healthy and aging gracefully.

Work

I continue to be employed as a full stack PHP + JS developer working on legacy code. The work is stressful and not incredibly satisfying but I like the company and co-workers.

We've been fully remote since the pandemic started, and not going back to the office. In fact, if there's one good thing that came out of this pandemic it's that I became determined never to work in a physical location again.

This blog

The blog is 3 now 🎂. Whoopty-doo I guess. I'll admit that I've been steadily losing my blogging motivation. The problem is having to make a choice between working on side projects or writing stuff in my spare time. The side projects win most of the time.

The blog remains very useful as a permanent repository for various techniques I discover during my daily coding journey. Posting, however, has been very erratic this year and will likely continue to be so.

Holding a day job requires strict prioritization of extra-curricular activities, so I decided not to put any pressure on myself to blog on a regular schedule.

There are 2 things the blog needs:

  • Comments. Since this is a static site utterances is the main contender.
  • A redesign. I would like at some point to rebuild the site (and blog) on SvelteKit. While it's not a huge priority, I've become disenchanted with the build process and relative complexity of the Jigsaw engine.

Traffic

I still haven't moved away from Google Analytics and I won't even pretend I will. It's not very high on my priority list. Traffic continues to grow, as these things go, but I just don't care enough to keep a close eye on it.

Most popular posts

Here are the most popular articles from the last 12 months, as determined by GA:

Personal projects, and software releases

I made a few random things in 2021 with Laravel, Svelte, and Electron.

  • SVGX - a free desktop SVG icon library manager. This was a lot of fun to build and despite all the work I put into it I decided to give it away for free, but sell access to the source code. It's made with Svelte and Electron.
  • Craftnautica 2.0 - a Subnautica crafting helper and inventory manager. This is a SvelteKit port of the original tool that was built with Vue 2. You can find the repo here.
  • Laravel FileServer - a file serving solution with multiple providers, written in Laravel. The idea behind this is to allow anyone with a PHP/Laravel server to be able to upload and serve files either from the local filesystem or from various 3rd party providers such as Backblaze, S3, etc. Unfortunately I haven't had time to work on it and it currently only supports local storage and Backblaze.
  • GitHub Diff - a GitHub diffing tool which behaves very much like GitHub's own tool, but with a stripped-out UI. It's made with Svelte.
  • Cycling stats app - a tool I built to my own specifications to have a better UI for all my Strava cycling activities. I put a lot of time into it in 2021, and I've been consistently improving it and adding new features. I think I might eventually release it to the public as a mini-SaaS but for now I'm keeping it under wraps. Made with Laravel and Livewire.
  • Secret desktop debugging tool. Unfortunately I can't talk about this one or share it with the public because it clones certain features of a commercial app that I reverse-engineered and rebuilt with Svelte and Electron.
  • Various starter templates mostly around Svelte, TailwindCSS, and Electron. The problem with templates is that they are very opinionated in terms of features, as well as falling quickly out of date if you don't keep the dependencies updated every week. As we speak, I'm in the process of creating yet another template.

New dev tech

Though I am very curious to try new programming languages such as Rust, Go, and even Python (not new, just new to me), I haven't had time. So I am sticking to the tools I know best, documented here.

New Apple M1 machines

2021 marked the rise of Apple Silicon. I am fortunate enough to have access to two M1 machines:

  • my personal MacBook Air that I use for all my side projects. It replaces a 15" 2015 MacBook Pro i7.
  • my work machine, a 14" MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro CPU. It replaces a 16" 2019 MacBook Pro i9 - I was so glad to be rid of this power-hungry hot air blower.

Both machines are a huge improvement over what I had previously. I like the smaller form factor, and the performance is more than I need for web development. The 14" in particular is a work of art, notwithstanding the notch.

Lest you think I'm an Apple fanboi, I use a PC for gaming and entertainment, as well as an Android phone. I do, however, strongly believe that the Mac is the best web development tool (for me).

Health and fitness

Continuing and expanding on the trend from 2020, cycling has been my only physical activity this year - and I've done a lot of it.

I've expanded my stable to 3 bikes: road, gravel, and MTB, and I practice all 3 several times a week.

I like long rides - 60+ miles for gravel, ~30 miles for MTB.

This year I rode a total of 6300 miles (10K km) compared to 4000 miles (6400 km) in 2020.

Will I ride even more in 2022? Not necessarily. I feel I've reached a limit for how many miles I can ride in a year, not because I'm not willing or capable, but because I have other things to do outside of my day job. As is, I've squeezed as many rides in as I possibly could; then there's the weather to contend with.

If there's one thing that might change in 2022 in terms of cycling is that I'm considering participating in a couple of official events/races. I'm not the competitive type, I don't like large groups, and I prefer to ride on my own schedule, but it might be fun.

Books

Sadly my book reading has declined this year due to strong competition from other activities. The one book that stands out is Nemesis Games (The Expanse book 5). I'm a huge fan of this series and I read one book every year, to keep up with the TV show which I also think is very good.

In 2022 I plan to read some comic books.

Movies and TV

I don't watch TV in the traditional sense, but I do stream a fair amount of movies and TV shows.

Some of the movies I liked in 2021 are: Black Cat White Cat (1998), Raya And The Last Dragon (2021), Treasure Planet (2002), The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (2021), Seoul Searching (2015), Wrath Of Man (2021), Werewolves Within (2021), Secondhand Lions (2003), and Red Notice (2021).

I also watched individual seasons from various TV shows. Excellent ones include: What We Do In The Shadows (2019-2020), Invincible (2020), Loki S01 (2021), Reservation Dogs (2021), The White Lotus (2021), Chernobyl (2019), and both editions of Cowboy Bebop (1998 and 2021). I liked the live-action 2021 Cowboy Bebop, so sue me. I also watched about half the seasons of Veep (2012+), probably the most hilarious political comedy show.

Gaming

Between side projects and cycling, I haven't had much time for gaming. To be honest my motivation to play games has been declining since I tend to prefer working on side projects when I'm in front of a computer.

Having said that, I am entering the new year in fresh possession of 3 new games:

  • Valheim - open world Viking survival online co-op. I'm attracted to sandbox survival games for some reason, and this is one of the best that came out in 2021.
  • Deep Rock Galactic - online co-op FPS. It got some excellent reviews, and I agree based on the incredible level of polish I've experienced.
  • Ion Fury - I was a huge sucker for Duke Nukem 3D back in the 90s, so this is right up my alley.

Twitter and social media

Twitter remains my primary social media outlet. I'm a very slow grower, primarily due to not posting on a regular schedule. However I strictly post webdev-related stuff so I'm definitely worth a follow if you care about Laravel/Livewire/AlpineJS/Svelte/TailwindCSS/Electron and don't appreciate shitposting. I'm ending the year at 333 followers, which is more than I expected.

I am also present on:

Things to look forward to in 2022

On the dev front, Laravel 9 will be one of the hottest things in 2022. I'm also expecting big things from Svelte and SvelteKit especially after Rich Harris joined Vercel to work full-time on Svelte.

I'd like to launch my cycling app/SaaS to the public but it's not set in stone. I might also work on SVGX 2.0, only it would be a paid app this time. And then, of course, I have a few unfinished side-projects that I'd like to complete, as well as tons of new ideas that I'd like to try.

Health-wise, I hope to continue the trend of staying in shape through cycling. I'll be doing a lot of gravel riding in 2022, as well as continuing to improve my MTB skills.

I'll stop short of making any more predictions or resolutions.

Thank you dear friends for your readership, and may 2022 be... a year?

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