2017 Year in Review

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Looking Back

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just a week away and we are almost done with 2017. This time of year, at least for me, is a time of reflection on the year gone by.

Challenges and Opportunities

Selecting a JS Framework

For me, I knew that learning JavaScript was definately where my heart was leading me. But which framework to start with? I was overwhelmed and did what I thought was best and that was to spend a little time with each one.

I started with Angular since it was hyped from VS Studio Live Conference I had attended in Austin, TX. It paired nicely with Typescript and seemed like many speakers at the conference where talking about it. I listened to Deborah Kurata speak and how the Angular team all used vscode and how the Google team was working with the MS team. Seemed like a good place to start but I had found that it was not a rabbit hole that I wanted to go down.

Next I moved onto Vue since Jeffrey Way had realeased a course on Learning Vue 2 Step by Step. I really love Jeffrey’s teaching style and respect him as a teacher and a person. I really liked how simple it was to get started. No complicated setup needed.

Next I was introduced to Wes Bos and his online courses, some free and some paid. I found that he had great quality training after taking some of the 30 Day JS Challenge. I soon started his React for Beginner’s course and really liked that React is just JS and felt that by learning React it was making me a better JS developer too.

Then my coworker used React on one of our projects at work and I remember thinking this feels like magic. I was hooked ever since. I want to continue learning React in 2018 and this is where my heart is after trying the big three JS frameworks in 2017.

I feel like it was good for me to at least try all 3. Not at the same time, but complete one project in one framework and see how it felt. Then you can make a decision on which one you like working with, wich one you feel comfortable with, and which one you are most productive with.

Dokku

I probably need to do a seperate blog post on Dokku to give it justice.

From the docs:

Docker powered mini-Heroku. The smallest PaaS implementation you’ve ever seen.

I had not worked with Heroku but have read that it makes deploying apps in whatever language dead simple.

I was using Forge but I was limited to PHP based projects. Now that I am using Dokku, I can deploy apps in any language to my Digital Ocean droplet.

Interviews

My dev shop was hiring two developer positions and I was selected to be on the interview panel. It was the first time I had been on the other side of the table and was honored to be there. We were asked to come up with five questions and the panel, which consisted of four members would take turns asking questions.

This experience helped me remember that this field is hard, and being put on the spot to answer technical questions can be daunting task to say the least. I have been in those shoes and know that it can be tough.

I remember from being on a Army promotion board that even if you dont’ know the answer, say you know where to find the answer. Also enthusiasm goes along way. People skills are important since you will have to work with this person.

Best Upgrades

2017 had a many upgrades but these are top favs!

Standing Desk

I had the opportunity to get a standing desk for work. At first, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted it but I decided that I would give it a try.

I had read of the benefits of standing and was trying to improve my health so this was a win for me.

At first my legs would get weak and I could only stand for like maybe an hour or so. But after a few weeks, I was standing more and sitting less.

Now I find that I am standing all morning, and then sit down for lunch and the afternoon.

I also gave up my chair for a medicine ball and feel that I am working my core more now than just sitting in a chair.

Exercise as part of my routine

I wasn’t in the habit of working out and had found that I even when I went to the gym I wasn’t very seriuos about it.

Now I am commited to working out as part of my day. There is no question of what my plans are for lunch. I know and plan on working out.

I feel that this commmitment has help me focus more on my dev work and stay more healthy and balanced.

QHD monitor

I have had a dual-monitor setup for years but then I read the One Monitor Manifesto and was ready to try something new. This is a great read if you haven’t checked it out and changed the way I thought about the multiple monitor productivity myth.

I ended up selling the dual monitors for a single 25” Quad HD Monitor. I really like the extra crisp display which is great for design work and easier on the eyes.

I am finding that I am more focused keeping my apps opened at full-screen and either tabbing between them or keeping them organized on seperate virtual desktops.

What’s in Store for 2018

2018 is going to be a great year. Here are some things I am looking forward to in the new year.

React Nano Degree

I am excited to be taking Udacity’s React Nano Degree program. Like I had mentioned, I want to learn React deeper in 2018 so this will be a great way to start the year.

The curriculum includes 3 modules and projects including:

  • React Fundamentals(😃 duh)
  • React and Redux
  • React Native

CSS Grid

CSS Grid is the hot new layout spec and making its way to a browser near you. I am starting Wes Bos’s CSS Grid course which looks great. Also in the course we are using Firefox Developer Addition browser so I am looking forward to playing with something besides Chrome.

C# and .NET core

Since at work we are a .NET shop, it would be good for me to learn more C# and .NET. I am excited to see Microsoft is doing with .NET core which is cross-platform and open-source.

I am in love with Visual Studio code as my editor and use Visual Studio at work.

About the author

Frank is a 👨‍💻web developer, 🇺🇸US Army veteran, 🎸bass player, father, husband, artisan, owner.

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