Notes on 2015

In no particular order, here's a random selection of things from my 2015!

10,000 visitors

At some point this year, this rough little collection of blog posts hit the 10,000 visitors per month mark.

I don't really know what that number means in the big wide world of developer blogs, StackOverflow answers, open source projects & people with thousands of twitter followers, but occasionally I'll open up the real time tab in analytics & see something like this…

screenshot of Google Analytics real time showing 4 visitors at the moment

When I think back to when I was starting out and knew barely enough to bluff my way through a job interview, and how people like Kirupa & Chris sharing what they learned helped me transform into a somewhat competent developer, I get a real kick out of the idea that something I wrote might somewhere, in some small way, be helping someone's journey through 2015's infinitely more complex world of web development.

If you solve an interesting problem with code, even if you think it might be common knowledge or trivial, you should totally write about it. Somebody out there will thank you for it!

4 new countries

Work and holidays conspired to help me see a little more of the world and meet a few more of its inhabitants this year!

  • Flew all the way to Amsterdam to present at a conference (and got to bike my way around Utrecht for an afternoon - cheers Sam!)
  • Caught the train down to a sweltering Paris to attend React Europe.
  • Spent two weeks travelling all over Scotland doing hikes, visiting distilleries, staying in castles and celebrating one incredibly fun wedding!
  • Met up with some Aussie expat friends in southern Turkey & hung out at an Airbnb in a largely abandoned village for a few days before floating around the Mediterranean on a boat for a week.

6 talks

I had the terrifying privelege of presenting to audiences of some of the smartest people I know this year, including talks at MelbJS, MelbCSS, Decompress, Dutch PHP Conference and to our clever bunch of devs at Envato.

I can't exactly guarantee I knew what I was talking about every time, but holding a live multiplayer race on stage with a hundred or so participants was pretty fun!

Melbourne continued to be awesome

From a professional perspective as a front end developer, I can't think of any other city I'd rather be living & working in right now.

Not only are there so many smart people from our industry working here (every time I google a problem, a fellow Melbournian's answer will show up in the results), but everyone is really happy to share what they're doing.

An amazing community has grown out of the long-running MelbJS, buoyed recently by the fantastic festival of front end that is CSSConf and the newer MelbCSS meetup.

It's super inspiring to show up to these meetups and find yourself surrounded by some of the smartest people in our industry. Michael got libsass & node-sass ready for us all to start using. Mark, Glen, Josh & friends rewrote the rulebook with CSS Modules. And the quality of talks at these local meetups consistently rivals the biggest conferences. Some of my favourites from this year were…

Launched a new product

Most of my working life so far has been spent maintaining existing websites and applications.

This year though, I got to work on an amazing team building a new product from the ground up, experiencing all the challenges that come with that territory. Envato Sites is still in private beta & we've got lots to do, but I'm super proud of the work we've done so far & I'm lucky to have worked with a mighty talented bunch of people!

Envato Sites team

Put my money where my mouth tweets & coloured avatars are

Like everyone, I've got opinions about stuff. In the past, I haven't done much other than contribute them to the social media echo chamber.

This year, I made a concerted effort to do less political ranting into the twittersphere and do more things that actually have a chance of effecting change.

  • When something irked me, I donated money to a charity or NGO rather than tweeting about it.
  • I divested thousands of dollars from fossil fuel & other harmful industries by simply switching superannuation funds.
  • I continued to help crowdfund the important work of the Climate Council and got them onto the list of organisations that Envato generously donates to each year.
  • I paid way more attention to the everyday things I buy and tried ensure that more of my money ended up with companies that do good.

Of course, I'm largely able to do these things because I'm a priveleged white male with a stable job in a very wealthy country. And there's some inevitable hypocrisy involved - I still eat meat, buy iPhones & fly in planes despite the negative impacts. But everyone has to start somewhere!

Album of the year

1989 continued to rule my headphones for a big chunk of the year…

…and according to my Last.fm, The Imitation Game soundtrack was what I actually listened all year (it's some seriously great coding music!)…

…but a couple of months ago, after a few EPs that I really loved, Beach Slang finally released The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us. I've pretty much had it on repeat ever since. It's brilliant.


Game of the year

I don't have a console or anything, so my gaming is pretty much limited to my phone. And the game that I sunk the most time into this year by a large margin was Horizon Chase.

It has absolutely zero of the bullshit I've come to expect from iOS games. No ads, in-app purchases or online-only play - just a hefty dose of nostalgia, crazy good graphics, an amazing soundtrack and fun, forgiving gameplay.


Here's hoping 2016 looks this good!