My coding year 2016#review
Before the year 2016 is finally over, I want to take some time to look back. What were my goals for 2016 and did they work out? What did I learn and what are my goals for 2017? Let me take you through my coding year 2016.
My coding resolutions for 2016
I wrote about 2015 too, but I forgot to write about my resolutions for 2016. My main goal for 2016 was to master my PHP skills. I wanted to really understand the benefits of OOP and to be able to use the SOLID principles to bring my code to the next level. I also wanted to enhance my testing skills to make my code more reliable. So let's see what really happened in 2016.
Liechtenecker is dead, long live Liechtenecker
A big part of my year was a change our company
Liechtenecker did at the beginning of 2016.
Today is a big day! At work we launched our new Liechtenecker website. But it is much more than just a redesign. It is showing our transformation from a classic digital agency to our new Liechtenecker Lab.
This made our year very exciting and exhausting. We
changed a lot of our customers and how we wanted to work. But I also got the chance to work on a lot of in-house projects and experiments. (more about that later) This was also a step away from a safety business, we were very successful at, towards a new, unknown and risky chapter of our company. Read more about that change in my article Liechtenecker is dead, long live Liechtenecker.
I still have this
hate-love relationship with speaking on meetups and conferences. I see a lot of benefits in being able to talk about coding and projects in front of other people. It is a win-win situation for you and your audience. Your audience can learn from your experiences and you get to meet lots of different people. Additionally you will learn a lot while preparing a talk too.
But yeah it is still standing and speaking in front of a group of people while everybody is starring at you. It is definitely still not something I can enjoy. In 2016 I did two talks. One of them was again an intro to the Laravel PHP framework (Hello World, I'm Laravel), and in the other talk I shared my experiences from building our chatbot NELA. (NELA - a chatbot to improve your language skills). Two talks in a year is not much, but still more than none :-)
I am really blessed with a great variety of projects I could work on in 2016. I want to tell you a little bit about my favourite ones.
The Hype Compass
Since this year we were also experimenting with IoT at our company. (Internet Of Things) I built a 80cm wooden compass which was connected to a poll on our website. Every week we were asking people about their opinion on new tech-hypes / trends, and every vote activated the compass which was installed in our company. It was great to learn more about connecting the digital with the analog and to work with a Raspberry Pi. Read more about The Hype Compass.
What The Feeling
For a big soccer fan like me, 2016 was also great because of the
European Football Championship which took place in France. I wanted to make use of the unbelievable amount of data which was shared over social media channels regarding this event. We ended up building a
Europe map showing live tweets about the Euro games. Additionally we analysed the tweets for their emotions and showed them through different colours.
I never had to work with this huge amount of data. Over a period of 30 days the application analysed more than a million tweets. And the best part was, we had no idea about what to expect at the beginning of the project. Will there be like 1000 or 100.000 tweets a day? What will people write? Will we be able to analyze that? Redis and the Laravel queue system helped us a lot and I am really glad we accomplished this project.
Unfortunately this project did not get as popular as we wished. Still we got a great showcase and of course we learned a lot while building this real-time application. Read more about What The Feeling and the recap(German).
May I introduce you to NELA
I guess you have heard it already:
2016 was the rise of the chatbots! This is really big because these applications will change a lot in the next years.
At work we wanted to take a closer look and therefor
built NELA, a chatbot to improve your language skills. We felt building a chatbot ourselves is the only way to really understand what a chatbot is and how it works. Additionally we tried to show that chatbots could be very useful for education purposes too. Building a chatbot is really different from everything I did before. Especially when your start learning about AI and AI platforms.
Laravel Twitter notification channel
This year Marcel, Mohamed and Freek built the Laravel Notification Channels platform. This is a collection of custom notification drivers for Laravel 5.3. For me this was the perfect chance to build my first Laravel package: The Twitter notification channel.
For me it was really surprising how much work such an open source project is. How do people handle more than one project?=) Sometimes working on such a project is like live coding. People will tell you about every mistake and questioning everything :-) It is not always fun but you will learn a lot.
So, this was a "short" overview of my year. As you have seen I worked on a lot of different projects. This was really cool and I learned a ton of new stuff. On the other side, this means I had not that much time to improve my PHP skills. At least not in the way I intended to do at the beginning of the year. I guess this is one little downside of working on lots of different projects, but sure one I can live with ;-)
I am quite happy with what I have accomplished and learned this year. I managed to do more and more testing over the year and I am on a good way to master my PHP skills.
Of course there is still plenty of room to improve, but this is how life is. It's a road and you just have to keep moving, step by step.
Congratulations to everyone who made it this far. I wish you all the best for your next year and I will leave you with my new year's resolutions.
New year's resolutions 2017
- Do at least three talks
- Become a chatbot expert
- Release a Laravel Spark SaaS application
- Improve my TDD skills
- I think it is time for a redesign of my blog (last update 2014 😱)