Twenty Seventeen

A Year in Review Post

December 29, 2017

2017, what a year. A constant garbage fire. Despite all the bad stuff, I have a few things to celebrate…

Paravel celebrated 10 years of business together. That’s like ~100 years in web time. I couldn’t be more thankful that I get to work with two of my best friends, Trent Walton and Reagan Ray. This year was extra-special because we got the opportunity bring friends in to help on a few projects. It’s a lucky thing to work with great and talented people.

Shop Talk wrapped our 6ᵗʰ year of weekly shows! We’re older now, have babies, and have essentially pivoted to being a podcast about airport magazines; it’s great. We’re inching our way to our 300ᵗʰ episode.

I attended Squares Conf (Dallas), Microsoft Edge Web Summit (Seattle), CSS Dev Conf (New Orleans), Keep Ruby Weird (Austin), and Beyond Tellerand (Berlin). I enjoyed all of these conferences, met great people, and feel like I made some new friends both nearby and abroad.

When I spoke, I mostly spoke about prototypes, pulling inspiration from other industries. In some ways, I feel like I’ve found the talk I’ll be giving in one form or another for the next 10 years of my life.

My big work task this year was building a Pattern Library and it’s exciting to see that work beginning to roll out. The most gratifying aspect is seeing the ultimate Pattern Library thesis proven out: Speed. Pages load faster, CMS integrations are faster, and we can successfully turn out new production pages within a 1-day turnaround.

I went minimalist with my code. I tried my hand at using only vanilla JavaScript. I also started breaking away from Sass unless it was already included in the build chain. Scaling all that back, I started to become sensitive to every kilobyte. I found myself finding small, efficient workarounds where I’d historically reach for a prefab plugin.

A 9kb animated loading spinner button? No way, let’s try CSS step animation on a static PNG. Form validation script? Nah, I got HTML5 form validation working the way I want in 6-lines of code. For-of loops? Nope, I dug in and found out Babel added 700b per for-of loop. I even hand-coded my own set of accessible controls (tabs, accordions, and popups) for the first time in my life.

I published 34 blog posts this year. Not quite Livejournal-era levels of thought-vomit, but my most productive year thus far on this blog. I currently have 15,000+ words in my drafts folder and a 13 chapter outline for a book on prototyping.

I played a 209 hours of Overwatch last year. After my kids go to bed, I hop online with my squad so we can yell at teenagers.

Speaking of games, I didn’t tell anyone but I made a resolution to make 1 game per quarter in 2017. I missed the mark but I got pretty far on 3 different WebVR minigames. I’m happy with that progress and hope to polish a bit and release soon.

My family bought a 2009 Rockwood Freedom pop-up camper. We’re using it on adventures across the Texas. I look forward to more hikes, rivers, lakes, BBQ, beaches, and deserts.

2018: Year of the Updog?

2018 is shaping up to be a bit of a change of pace already.

Workwise, I’ll be doing a lot more JavaScript. On my docket so far are some small React apps, a Preact side project, an Angular 5 CLI app, as well as continuing work on a Rails app. I’m overwhelmed typing that but it should be great.

No talks scheduled as of right now. That’s fine.

My nephews want me to release a game in the App Store… challenge accepted! With PWAs coming to the Windows Store, I should be in good shape, but I’d also like to finish one of my Unity games.

I’ve been enjoying an uptick in my book reading. Books, man. There’s something about a collection of edited thoughts with an intentional narrative. When contrasted with the endless stream of outrage and toxicity on Twitter, I can feel my soul tugging me back to ye olde medium of the ancients.

I will support Beto for Texas.

Beyond that I have a couple new project schemes brewing, but nothing to talk about yet. It’s not easy balancing work/family/projects with hobbies/travel/relaxation. But with coffee all things are possible.

Looking forward to overcommitting myself in 2018. Let’s go!