2012 Review post

December 31st, 2012

2012 was a very interesting year for me. It started with me being tired and unhappy...and this year ended with me being tired and unhappy. For different reasons, though.

I had a much different blog post written, and decided to scrap it in favour of a different approach. Buckle up, here we go, starting with January and continuing to the end of the year:

  • unhappy with start-up life
  • started grinding out episodes of a podcast with Ed
  • released my "write testable PHP applications" book on January 11th
  • spoke to a near-empty room at CodeMash 2012, they seem to not like PHP there
  • started working for an online learning company
  • made plans to attend PHP|Tek 2012
  • found softball enjoyable this year as I could actually bend over to field balls. Still can't hit
  • did a live episode of the podcast at PHP|Tek, which was awesome
  • started mentoring three developers on ways of being grumpy programmers
  • found the benefits of test-centric development to be ruined by a terrible work environment
  • Ed and I hit our groove with the podcast in the summer
  • started looking for another job
  • taught my PHP testing bootcamp course of the first time, in person though
  • switched to my third job in 2012
  • got accepted to speak at a conference in Sweden
  • helped organize a PHP conference up here in Kanuckistan
  • spoke to a near-empty room at the conference in Sweden, guess they don't like PHP there either
  • got accepted to speak at a PHP conference in Belgium
  • created an online version of my PHP testing bootcamp course
  • worked on my next book
  • wondered what the hell happened to everything I wanted to do in 2012.

Like so many things in life, you can only plan for so much. At the beginning of 2012 the only thing I knew for sure was (a) I wasn't liking my job and (b) my book was coming out extremely soon. At the same time I was worrying about the fact that my ENTIRE FUCKING CAREER is basically built upon the pile of web-enabled spaghetti that is PHP. What the hell should I do?

So I took some babysteps towards learning server-side Javascript and played around with Node.js. I like it, I think I am understanding how to build applications using it in a more idiomatic way.

But there is still lots of PHP. Can't escape it, it's all I know. Well, that and a whole bunch of actual theory on how to build web applications as small modules of code that talk to each other.

I didn't set any goals for 2012 other than "sell $10K worth of books" and I did manage to almost accomplish that. $6,547.25 in royalties for the ebook, $2K in licensing fees and some-amount-I-have-not-added-up in paper copies of the book. I think I can say that I almost made it, and that my next book will do even better because of the success of the first one.

So what is in store for me in 2013? The plan is to keep pushing the info-products (books, courses, screencasts later in the year) while continuing to make solid contributions at the day job. There is no lack of interesting things for me to do at the day job, more than enough to keep the gears going.

I enter 2013 feeling like I'm stuck in low gear mentally, though. I've clearly over-committed myself and I just have to grind through it until March 2013.

I will say that I have decided to focus on becoming a better programmer, no matter what languages I tackle. I have a bunch of reading material cued up to help me get better at taking real-world problems and figuring out how to solve them in the context of programming environments and domain models.

That is the last piece that I personally feel is missing from my skill set: learning how to figure out how to turn business objectives into techincal solutions. I'm in a good spot to do it, and I know my boss has all sorts of "fun" things lined up for me to do.

So thanks for another year of watching what I do with some interest and I aim to provide you with more entertainment and knowledge throughout 2013.