My Year

Ok, so technically the year isn’t done yet, but I was inspired by Nic Raboy’s post (My Activity Report for 2015) to go ahead and post a summary. I figure posts like these really aren’t that popular, but it gives me a chance to look at and think about what I did and try to benchmark where I want to be next year. I’m also planning a ‘favorite music of 2015’ and ‘books read in 2015’ post as well, so if it isn’t terribly obvious, I’m enjoying the end of the year by slowing down quite a bit. I actually did write a good 2000 words yesterday on a technical topic, but that post is going to be delayed till next year (which is like 2 weeks away). Ok, so with all of that out of the way, here’s a rough summary of what I got this past year and what I hope to improve on. As always, I appreciate comments (both positive and critical). My goal is to make raymondcamden.com useful to my readers while still maintaining my own personal brand. I assume people come here not just to learn X but also to hear how I specifically would teach something. I’m not the smartest tool in the shed, but I think I’ve got a knack for figuring stuff out and breaking down complex processes into something even an idiot (specifically me) can handle.

The Blog

The year started off a bit rough. Late last year I made the crazy decision to completely move away from ColdFusion for my blog and switch to WordPress. I wanted to focus on blogging and not maintaining the code base for my blog. I was incredibly impressed by WordPress and was happy to change, however the server itself suffered quite a few issues. In the end, I migrated from Apache to NGINX and that seemed to help. I also had to cache quite a bit. Frankly, that was a bit disappointing. My blog gets “ok” traffic, but not anything that I think would require a lot of horsepower. I truly expected WordPress to work fine “out of the box” for a site of my nature, but I guess that’s just not the case. Once I got caching setup right things seemed ok for the most part. Most recently I got hit by a xmlrpc DOS style attack and it took me a while to figure out how to correctly block it with NGINX. As soon as I did I had smooth sailing. I’m still not convinced things are perfect and I’m still considering a completely static solution, but the process of writing in WordPress is so darn nice. I don’t want to lose that. I’m toying with the idea of a desktop based app built in Electron that would give me a nice editing experience while supporting a static solution. We’ll see.

Let’s talk stats.

This year I wrote 252 entries which is a pretty good pace I think. Obviously quality trumps quantity but I want the blog to be active. My best month was March with 30 entries (how in the hell…) and my worst was June with 13. (I think that’s when I took a 10 day vacation.)

I’m currently sitting at 5,619 blog entries total of which probably 50% have silly cat pictures of Star Wars references. Let’s be honest - that’s why you come, right?

My page views for the year are 1,523,380. For the same time period last year the count was 1,682,475. That’s a drop, but it seems pretty small and hopefully not a trend. Ok, so I was curious - in 2013 it was 1,713,716 but in 2012 it was 1,116,842. So I probably need to just not worry about it.

In terms of engagement, I’m right over 2000 comments for the year. I’d like that number to be a lot higher, but frankly I’ve yet to find the “magical formula” for getting people to comment. Typically a post I think is important will get fewer comments than a post I think is frivolous, so, yeah, I’ll just keep going. (I do try to specifically call out people to comment to help encourage them. Not sure if that helps though.)

My most popular posts written this year were:

Every single article here is web related, with 70% being mobile specific. Four of the top ten are Ionic related which should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

Unfortunately, not one of the ‘real’ top viewed posts for 2015 were actually written in 2015. My number one post for the year was my 2011 post on logging into a server with PhoneGap. I may need to write an updated version of that uses Ionic instead of jQuery Mobile.

Writing

This was a really good year for my writing. I published 6 articles for the Telerik Developer Network. They have been a great outlet for me to reach other developers and I want to give them a big thank you. I keep a list of all my articles on my About Me page if you want to peruse that list.

Speaking of “other audiences” - DZone reprints some of my articles as well and the traffic there is pretty good. You can see a list of them and the view count is pretty impressive, especially when I compare it to my own stats.

I published one book (Apache Cordova in Action) and I have a second one (Client-Side Data Storage) that is a few days away from publication. I’m also working on a third update to my jQuery Mobile book that should be out early next year.

I completely failed at my attempt to do creative writing. I wrote one page of a story and did research into the basic idea, but, yeah, I failed at that. Maybe next year?

Videos

My video work was in two areas - Youtube and OReilly. At the beginning of the year I had wanted to do a lot of Youtubing. (That really can’t be a word. I hope not.) I worked on my channel a bit and tried to record as much as possible. I recorded 19 videos which isn’t too bad, but I would have liked to have done more. Views were a bit over 53 thousand and minutes watched just over 100 thousand. I think I could do a lot better there. However - part of the reason I wanted to push Youtube so hard this year was because I assumed I would not be traveling. I began the year as a glorified technical writer for Adobe with little to no chance of being able to attend any conferences. Luckily that situation changed when I joined IBM as a developer advocate in February. How much did I travel?

I flew 65,083 miles to 26 cities and 7 different countries. That’s one way to get status on an airline.

Outside of YouTube, I also began recording courses for OReilly. Most recently a course on client-side storage and before that, one on JavaScript templating. I’m working on one now for dev tools. I’ve really enjoyed working for OReilly. They are a great publisher to do business with and I feel like I’m treated like a rock star.

Conferences/Presentations

I started tracking my speaking engagements a bit earlier this year. This year I did:

NCDevCon
Ionic SF
Ionic Dallas
Mountains of Code
Meetup in Melbourne
Meetup in Sydney
Meetup in Kuala Lumpur
Another meetup in Kuala Lumpur
Meetup in Singapore
Another meetup Singapore
Meetup in Manila

My hope for next year is that I can finally speak at one of the top JavaScript-only conferences. The web dev community still feels like a bit of an insider’s club sometimes in terms of “breaking in” to get a speaking slot. Anyone else feel that way?

Onward to 2016

I think I say this every year, but I truly hope next year I can continue to provide value to my readers. I love sharing my pain (I mean joy) of development and I hope my time spent struggling to get stuff working helps you get things done quicker. If you’ve gotten something from this site and can bill a boss-type person, please consider visiting my Amazon wishlist and drop me a line when you do. (Amazon does a bad job of letting me know who got me a gift.) That Special Forces TIE fighter would look great in my office! ;)

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a developer advocate looking for his next gig. He focuses on JavaScript, serverless and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support.

Lafayette, LA https://www.raymondcamden.com

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