Wern Ancheta

Adventures in Web Development.

A Developers New Years Resolution

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It’s 2016. A brand-new year is upon us. And this is the time of the year when people usually set goals for the new year. While most other folks have new year’s resolution for their real life, In this article I’ll be sharing some of my new year’s resolution as a developer.

Generate Passive Income

The idea of generating a passive income has really enticed me in the past but it’s only this year that I’ve thought about it seriously. For developers one way of generating passive income is through marketplaces like Themeforest and CodeCanyon. All you have to do is build something useful and you can sell it on the platforms that I’ve just mentioned. I’ve already created an account on CodeCanyon, set it up and read their terms. All that’s left for me to do is to build something and submit it for review so that people can find it.

Continue What I’ve Started

I have a bunch of projects on Github. Some might not already work. Some lacking in documentation. This year I’ll continue every project that I started. Or at least mention that I won’t already be doing active development for projects that I’m no longer interested in pursuing.

I have also a blog series that I started back in 2014 which I called: A Whirlwind Tour of Web Developer Tools, I’m planning to start that up again this year.

Be More Picky

I read a lot. In fact I’ve created a website that curates all the news from sources that I want. Usually these are from the developer newsletters, twitter users, and websites that I follow. But I’m still subscribed to the newsletters which I have used as the news item source. So it still gets the better of my time when I receive a new issue. My plan is to unsubscribe to all of those newsletters and just stick to using the website myself. This is so that I don’t accidentally engage to some content. Or click on a link and not actually reading what’s in there. With the new setup I can actually just visit the website if I really want to read something and not when I receive a new issue of a newsletter.

The second step after unsubscribing to all newsletters is to actually pick only what I really want to read. If its a tool that I can use in the future, then I save it on my delicious account. If its an article which I want to go back to in the future then I save it on Pocket.

The third step is to actually read what’s really important or at least something that I really want to read. Of course this can’t be determined by merely looking at the title so the article has to be scanned first and then determine if it’s really relevant.

Of course this goes with all the other content that I’m consuming and creating. So movies, anime shows, personal projects, blog posts should go through a tight consideration before I actually engage on it.

Be More Healthy

Developers have a sedentary lifestyle by nature. Just sitting on a chair coding all day. That’s no good so here are the steps that I’m planning to implement to be more healthy.

  • Indoor exercise in the morning. Intense outdoor exercise in the weekends.
  • Use the standing desk at least one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.
  • Eat less rice.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. There should be at least one meal per day where I eat a decent amount of those.
  • Get more sunlight.
  • Sleep more.
  • Be more concious about my posture.

Engage More in the Community

  • I’ll start by creating videos on Youtube showing a specific technology, tool or methodology regarding web development. I’ve already started it the previous year by uploading some of my flipped classroom videos that I’ve used in my class in the school where I teach.
  • Comment on other developers blog posts, or talk to them on twitter.
  • Answer questions on Stackoverflow.
  • Attend local developer meetups.
  • Contribute to open-source projects.

Use Tools

I’ve been pretty much avoiding the use of tools in my day to day job as a developer. I still use plain css instead of Less, Sass, Stylus or {insert your css preprocessor of choice here}. I still don’t use Grunt, Gulp, Brocolli, Carrots, Eggplant, {insert your build tool of choice here} for every project (note: there’s no carrots or eggplant yet but someone might create it after this). I’ve been avoiding the use of tools because I just want to get started with a project fast. Installing a bunch of tools and setting them up before I can start coding is a pain. The only tools that I currently use are the following:

  • Composer
  • Bower
  • npm

Simply because you can’t install anything without those.

This year I’ll start by learning how to use Yeoman so I can easily setup all the things that I need for a project. And then learn how to use a css preprocessor, Gulp to process the project assets, JSLint to check the quality of my JavaScript code. And then in the back-end use PHPUnit for unit-testing. And lastly use a continuous integration server such as Jenkins to automatically run unit tests so that I immediately know if a specific code is still working or not.

Build More Cool Shit

Pardon the language but developers are commonly foul-mouthed right? Anyway, what I mean by build more cool shit is to create stuff that I can be proud of. I’d also like to build IOT (Internet of Things) projects. And with the birth of the RaspberryPi zero it just got more easy. Though I’m yet to order one because the stock is always zero. I should have ordered one when I first heard about it. Now people are ordering it non-stop. Who wouldn’t right? RaspberryPi zero is only five fucking dollars.

Learn a New Language, Framework, Tool, Methodology

  • Language: Python – If I am to build stuff with RaspberryPi I need to learn to code in Python. I also want to leap from the hybrid app bandwagon and go full native so I’ll have to learn (or rather re-learn) Java. This is simply because apps built with Hybrid App Framework such as Cordova performs poorly on my old android phone. Maybe I just need a new phone but I’ll go ahead and blame it to programming.
  • Framework: Symfony – I’m basically a Laravel guy so for a change I pick Symfony.
  • Tools: CI Server, PHPUnit, Gulp, Sass, ReactJS
  • Methodology: I’m still not sure. But I’ll probably try to learn some of the most popular design patterns in JavaScript and PHP.

Get Better at What I Do

No matter how good you are at something there’s always room for improvement, there’s always another way for doing things twice as easy or efficient. So the plan for 2016 is to look for ways to improve my current development workflow. Like I said earlier I’m a Laravel guy so I’ll start by examining my current Laravel workflow and see what I can improve.

Invade Other Fields

I’ve been really interested in UX because I know it will be helpful for me as an all-around developer. When I say all-around it means I’m the one doing the server setup up to deployment and anything between those two. I’m pretty much a one-man band in all the projects that I’ve built so far. No devops, no designer, no nothing.

Another field that I’d like to look into is SEO. Who wouldn’t want to have their website more findable?

That’s it! How about you? What’s your plan for 2016?