Retrospective 2012

Yes we’re still alive ;) No jokes apart, it’s time for a year retrospective.

Normally, a retrospective consists more or less about asking the following three questions:

  • What did we do well?
  • What did we do wrong?
  • What could be improved?

For a year recap, let’s change it a bit.

What did 2012 bring?

2012 was a successful year. Beside relocating to a new home together with my girlfriend I also managed to finish my exam to the 2nd Dan in Yoseikan Budo.

New Blog Hosting and Style

I didn’t even recognize, but when browsing through the year recap posts of past years, one point was always a restyle of my blog.

This year (actually already in September), after about six years on Blogger, I completely changed the way of how my blog is being hosted and constructed, namely by using a static site generator, Jekyll, hosted on GitHub. A couple of days ago I then renewed the style and overall appearance of the site as well. So, why the change and why the restylings?

  • ..because I like to have full control of what is going on. While Blogger is a nice service with lots of customizations, its main focus is on allowing the average user to quickly build a blog with predefined templates and so on…Customizations are not the focus, while Jekyll is simply blogging for hackers ;)
  • 2nd, because I like nicely styled pages. For me, the page design is at least as important as good features and functionalities. For many devs, CSS is something that frontend designers have to care about. But that’s not entirely true. IMHO good web developers should know how CSS works, in-depth. What is definitely not their job is to make a good overall design by combining the right colors etc.

So, the current design has been written from ground up by myself, obviously with the help of Bootstrap (and my girlfriend which had the role of combining the right colors, you know ;) ). The focus was to keep it simple with major importance on facilitating the reading of the posts itself as that’s what the blog is for. So, I hope you enjoy it and as always, feedback is welcome!

Lots of JavaScript Coding

This year was intensive JavaScript programming year. At work I introduced single-page JavaScript applications to our .Net developers. So instead of constructing the front-end server-side with ASP.net WebForms we switched over to creating our front-end layer with JavaScriptMVC and a “backend” layer in ASP.net MVC exposing JSON REST endpoints.

I think JavaScript is ready and with all the tools in place and the amazing whole of libraries like jQuery, Modernizr etc people should really start to adopt this methodology. In the end, that’s the language of the web which people have been trying to avoid so far as it was simply not usable. But still, out of this year’s experience, the most hindering part which makes it quite tough initially is the lack of knowledge about available tools and this impression in devs’ mind of JavaScript not being a fully valuable language.

My Top Blogs and News Resources

I read tons of blogs and news which all get bundled for me by Google Reader. The ones that I probably read most and which come to my mind right now, are

Conferences: 1st QCon in London and JSDay (Verona)

Yep, this year was my 1st QCon conference in London. It was amazing, with great speakers! And London was great as well btw. I actually returned to London for holidays a couple of month ago with my girlfriend. Really nice.

In May I then attended the JSDay in Verona. The focus there was JavaScript development (server and client-side) as you might have guessed, with some very great guys around GitHub, NodeJitsu and even Crockford was there!

So, what about 2013?

You probably noticed that I’m currently totally into JavaScript. So from that point of view I think that JavaScript will get more established once new tools arrive. It’s impressing to just see how fast the Chrome Dev tools (tip: use the Chrome Canary Channel!) get new features and how they get better and better each day. And then - beside big players like Microsoft pushing the JavaScript market (see Win8 development and TypeScript) - there are really nice projects by Adobe like Brackets, but also the efforts they put into PhoneGap. So I’m curious how this evolves in 2013.

What I’m curious as well is how the whole mobile HTML5 hybrid application development evolves. At work we developed a prototype using PhoneGap and JavaScriptMVC. It works, but especially things like smooth transitions (especially on Android Gingerbread and lower) give the feeling of not being ready yet.

So for 2013 I hope to again learn some new stuff, to be able to teach others great things, to get better in JavaScript development, I hope to maybe find the time to do some native Android development again and of course I’m looking forward to attend some good conferences.

I wish a Happy New Year 2013 and thanks for everyone who’s following me.

Kindle

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