Back To Work For 2019

Alas. It’s the beginning of a new year, and it’s time to awake from my usual, year-end shutdown. It was a great holiday season filled with a lot of new memories. It’s always a bit saddening after New Year’s Day passes, forced to accept that Christmas is in the rear-view. Like many others, I’m just now finished stowing away decorations, but guess I have to start working my way back to the normal routines of work and responsibility.

It’s been a while since my last post. With the holidays come my traditional extended break. I did put in some development time with some quickie projects, but most of my time was spent with Christmas lights, as usual. I still haven’t put up a website for the lights, but I hope to accomplish that this year.1A website for the Christmas light show has been a common request from the public. Given my expertise, it seems only natural.

At this point, I’ve only just hit high gear with my work. I picked up some new, great clients last year. I’m looking forward to continuing with them and adding a few more along the way. Most of my actual development work is sprint-based, but consulting is growing as a share of my overall availability.

Speaking of availability, I receive a few requests per week inquiring about consulting calls. Whether you’re a potential or long-time client, you can always use my calendar to schedule a meeting for whatever you need. You set the agenda. I try to have set availability a month in advance.

2018 Year in Review

Before I layout my hopes for 2019, I thought I’d take a quick look back at 2018. I feel I grew as a developer, which definitely makes the year a professional success. I pushed myself into more unknown territory, picked up a new language, worked with a few new libraries, released some open-source packages, and created a new pet project for public consumption.

Over the last few years I’ve worked increasingly more on the front end. Libraries/frameworks like Angular, React, and now Vue.js have really matured and are ready for prime-time. My personal favorites are the latter two, and I’ve even integrated them using Server-Side Rendering. These tools are great for rapid prototyping and eventual deployment of SPAs and PWAs.2SPA = Single-Page Application, PWA = Progressive Web App

Although I’ve worked with Vue.js for a couple of years now, I only just utilized it for a personal project, Secret Santa Hat. The project purpose and engineering are explained here. Vue really sped up development, as I went from no code to the released product in about two weeks. So far, the reviews have been great, and usage was well above expectations.

I also ventured into a new area for a quick, proof-of-concept project for a new client, a chatbot. Building a chatbot seems to be a popular tutorial topic for beginners, but I had never built one personally. This was 98% front-end work using pure ES6/7 JavaScript, and I had a lot of fun tackling the challenge.

WordPress

My WordPress and WooCommerce involvement has increased. I’ve been in the weekly WP Dev Chat for a few years now, but I’ve only just started monitoring the WooCommerce one. I hope to participate soon and lend my expertise to the discussion.

From a quick scan, I created roughly 175 custom plugins for WordPress clients. Their function runs the gamut; from performance to custom post types/taxonomies to REST API to WooCommerce custom data stores and a ton more.

In addition to the contracted plugins, I also release a few more plugins to the WordPress Plugin Repository. Exclude Image Thumbnails From UpdraftPlus Backups has seen good usage for such a simple plugin. My most recent release, Admin Bug Report, is only just now seeing some installs.

2019

Looking forward, all I can wish for, professionally, is to continue to grow as a developer. Not only writing cleaner, more elegant code, but to expand my repertoire to more instances of “Yes, I can do that.” I want to contribute more to WordPress core and the community in general by presenting at another large WordCamp.

I expect to continue the “microservices” trend, decoupling the front and back ends of websites and apps. As such, I anticipate even more JavaScript-to-REST/GraphQL-API projects.

For the blog, I want to continue my normal cadence of a post every month or two. The tutorials and snippets have been widely popular and drive most of the traffic to the site. Moreso, I’m proud to pass along some tricks to other developers, making the web a better place.

Finally, I just hope for family and friends to remain happy and healthy!

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