2014 in Review

We’re a month into 2015 and I haven’t given much time to look back at 2014.

Project Related

I really can’t go into specific detail, but I got to do some pretty cool stuff.
I got to do work on the Bella Vista Animal Shelter’s website. We upgraded their old web experience into a responsive build with a CMS. We spent an afternoon out at the shelter doing volunteer work. It was really great building an emotional connection with the organization.

I also wrote three applications using AngularJS. This has to be the highlight of the year for me. I’m fairly confident I published the first Angular app in the company. It wasn’t the flashiest, but it caught a several people’s attentions.

I got to work with one of our larger development teams. I frequently solo and occasionally double team projects. I actually got to spend a good part of the year working closely with 5 other developers. I introduced a new project branching model with them and we worked out the kinks before preparing it for the rest of the company.

In December, I got to participate in a Rapid Innovations Workshop at our Dallas office. I haven’t gotten to go down there to see the team in over a year and it was really great to catch up with them. The workshop was fun and a lot of great things came out of it.

I sneaked in an published my first app a couple days before the new year. It’s for Windows 8 and not really something to submit for contests or whatever. As a developer, you get ideas on an hourly basis and you have a giant pile of “side projects” that you do in your spare time. I’m really excited that I got it published. It’s a Steam Achievement Tracker for seeing achievements in Steam games.

Skills I Learned or Polished.

I made a really big effort to increase my productivity this year. The two big things I did was make a large effort in improving my VIM and console capabilities. I started using Git through the command line.

I did a lot in the JavaScript world. I spent about 3 months in Angular, most of the year learning the ins and outs of Grunt, and played around a lot with other frameworks like HandlebarsJS.
A developer that stops learning new stuff will become obsolete in a matter of months.

Other Cool Stuff

I participated in the Extra Life gaming marathon. A bunch of coworkers and myself gamed for 24 hours straight and we raised $804 for Children’s Miracle network hospitals.

I built a lot of cool stuff for our new house. I made a 6′ by 4′ table, a mega L desk for my computer, a bed for Lily, a toy chest for Lily, a Tardis bookshelf, some shelves in our bathrooms, a bunch of garage storage stuff and installed a fire pit. I’ve acquired quite a few new gadgets over the last year too.

I’m really anxious this year. I’m planning on participating in the Rockfish Probono work, doing the Extra Life marathon again, and bolstering more of my development skills.

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Improving my console skills

I read The Pragmatic Programmer twice in 2014. It’s a great book that focuses on improving your general development skills. I took on two goals for 2014 after I read the book. I wanted to improve my competency in VIM and improve my skills in the console.

I’m heavy into Windows. The console has always made me nervous. I always feel like I’m going to execute the wrong command and break something. GUIs are my friend. I’ve used the command line for two things in the past: Mercurial/Git and xcopy for deployments. The last half of 2014 was spent “playing” with the console. I installed Console2 and I created a bunch of .bat files for shortcut cd commands, launching random apps, and other small commands.

I really wanted to get proficient in Cygwin this year. I gave it a try for a day and really struggled with it. A coworker of mine recommended using PowerShell instead. I had better luck with it than Cygwin. Things were going just OK until Scott Hanselman saved the day… like he always does for me…. He’s done a bunch PowerShell blog posts with tools.

There are tons of other tools and utilities to enhance PowerShell. I’ve been really excited to dive into it. I’ve managed to change several 5 minute GUI based mundane tasks into PowerShell scripts that execute in seconds. This has saved me HOURS at work over the last few weeks alone.

Becoming proficient in the console sounds like a really boring thing to study and become good at, but you will eventually pick up some really cool tricks that will make it all worth it.

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.