Chris’ Year in Review 2009

Last year on this day, I wrote a review of 2008 and some goals for 2009. I had not yet started blogging for Los Techies yet, but that started at the beginning of the year. Looking back on those goals, I think I did fairly well:

  • Write a website application using Ruby on Rails : I did not write a full blown application, but I did learn a good amount and wrote several small applications for demo purposes using Sinatra.
  • Blogs as Series of Posts : I wrote one series of posts entitled “Anti-Patterns and Worst Practices”. It seemed to go okay, there was a good conversation going in the comments of those posts and I learned a lot by writing them and reading the helpful comments people had to offer.
  • Give Presentations : My goal was only one presentation, but I gave four separate hour or longer presentations in 2009.
    • Using jQuery to Create Rich Internet Applications : I gave this one twice, first in Cedar Rapids, IA and also in Cedar Falls, IA.
    • Beginner’s Guide to Unit Tests : I co-presented with Tim Barcz in Cedar Rapids, IA for Iowa Code Camp III.
    • How to do Virtually Anything With JQuery : Presented at Iowa Code Camp IV in West Des Moines, IA.
  • More blog posts : My blogging goal for 2009 was to produce 72 blog posts. I fell way short of this on Los Techies, but if you combine all the blogs I write for, I was right at that mark.
  • Two or more commits to Open Source : I had many more than two open source commits. Most were related to documentation so they weren’t too valuable. I did learn that it’s not a great idea to look for places to commit code to open source, but more beneficial to try to use a project and add to it where it’s lacking.

Photo courtesy of Sally M on flickrI wish I could say that I met or exceed all of those 5 goals, but I did not. I’m still happy about what I learned For 2010, I’ll be attempting the following:

  • Read the “Must Reads” : There are several books out there that people will state that every software developer must read. I’m going to try to read 4 or 5 (or more) of these “must reads”.
  • Meet my failed blog count from last year : I attempted at 72 blog posts for 2009 on Los Techies and failed. It’s not because there wasn’t 72 things I wanted to write about, but because I didn’t take the time to write them all down. I’m going to attempt this number again, like 2009, I won’t let myself just churn out pointless posts to meet that number. I’ll continue to write posts that I think people can get something out of.
  • Learn a new Language* : Normally I’d put this on my list, but I’m still working on getting up to speed with the Rubyists and I’m thinking I’m going to be spending tons of time on the books from point #1. I feel like I know enough about several languages to be dangerous, but I know I can learn much more in them all.

This post kind of makes me feel like I’m sharing too much information. I mean, who really cares what I’m working on besides me, my friends, and maybe my employer. However, the real reason I’d like to get these things out in the open is to get some extra feedback and hear what you’re shooting for in 2010.

  • What are some of the “must reads” that I should consider? Please note: Don’t assume that I’ve read any of these, my library is a lot more lacking than I’d like it to be.
  • By blogging more, what are some previous posts that were interesting? What should I continuing or start writing about? What should I stop writing about?
  • What are some goals that you’ll be attempting next year?
  • Any other kind of feedback for me personally or for Los Techies as a whole?

Thanks for you readership! Cheers to a new year!

About Chris Missal

Oh hey, I'm a Senior Consultant for Headspring in Austin, TX. I've been working in software professionally since 2006 and I really, really love it. I'm mostly in the Microsoft world, but enjoy building computer things of all sorts (to be vague). When I'm not slinging code, I'm probably out and about slinging discs, bowling balls, or good beer with great friends.
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  • Mike Cole

    I will be watching for a must-read list, also. I need to get my bookworm on.

  • Mike Cole

    BTW, have you guys had much luck with user group sponsored book clubs? I’m trying to get a little something going, mostly as motivation for myself to get on the ball.

  • @Mike
    I’ll shoot you an email with what we’re trying to accomplish with our local (Cedar Rapids) book club.

  • Chris.

    Don’t say docs patches are not valuable – good docs are far better than ton of features that hardly anyone would use.

    Good luck in 2010 and Merry Christmas!

  • SG

    What are some of the “must reads” that I should consider?

    “New Moon”
    “Breaking Dawn”

    Oh, I’m sorry, wrong “must read” list…

    This list has some good suggestions:

    Top 100 Best Software Engineering Books, Ever

  • mob

    Here are a few I really appreciated. Not sure about “must read” though.

    CLR via C# (Richter) – Long, dry read but I learned a lot about the CLR and .NET (There is a third edition coming out in Feb)
    Pragmatic Thinking & Learning (Hunt) – Really good read about the brain and techniques to use it to the full.
    RESTful Web Services (Richardson & Ruby) – Everyone should learn about REST! :)
    Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests (Freeman & Pryce) – Implementing TDD. Not actually done with it yet but so far so good.

    “Any other kind of feedback for me personally or for Los Techies as a whole?” – Keep doing what your doing. Los Techies is one of the BEST developer blogging communities around!


  • Leyu Sisay