2022 In Review
By Mike Street
2022 brought in some pretty wild events in the world. UK politics went a bit haywire - seeing 3 Prime Ministers and plenty of other job swaps (including four chancellors of the exchequer), resignations and votes of no confidence.
We also saw the death of the Queen - something I was sure I would see in my lifetime when I thought about it, but it was still unexpected none-the-less. King Charles now site on the throne and, being brutally honest, I wonder if I'll see another monarch be crowned before my passing. My feelings towards the monarchy are conflicting and not helped with the perusal of Twitter during the funeral - plenty of arguments for both side were vocal (however, I did think it was an extortionate amount of money spent on the event).
Talking of Twitter, 2022 saw the takeover by Elon Musk. I'm not sure of the whys and hows, but within days (and even hours) of completion of the sale, the workforce and morals of the birdsite significantly declined. At time of writing, it is a mere shell of itself. Most tech people have migrated over to Mastodon (find me on Hachyderm), while others have disappeared into the wind.
This year in review post is mainly for my self reflection and record. All the statistics have been updated on the stats page but I would love to hear from anyone who has read it.
The Side Projects
The side projects action was a bit sporadic over the year - I seemed to have moments of inspiration & motivation which would then falter. This site was one of the victims as, after a bumper blog-writing 2021 (32 posts), 2022 only saw 19 posts arrive (and just 1 for Liquid Light).
I also spent a lot of my "side-project" time thinking and researching topics for work. I know this sounds like toxic/bad behaviour, but once I get something in my head I have to read as much as I can about it. This years thoughts and findings were on PHP Deployer, Gitlab CI, Zero Trust and Bastion servers.
Specific side-projects that I did work on though, are:
Ale House Rock
Ale House Rock got a huge overhaul this year. It is now fully 11ty powered; which includes having the reviews & breweries as markdown files in the repository. Previously, it was using IFTTT to write to a spreadsheet and deployment would be worked off that. This was hard to do any development work and Brewery pages didn't really "exist", as they were constructed on-the-fly with each build.
There are now there, in existence, so if I wanted to add personal stories, touches or contact and/or location details, I can.
Having the data owned by me, in a git repository, has allowed me to come away from Instagram and move to the more appropriate Untappd for my postings. On top of this, the code and content is now designed to be more agnostic to the service where I post the original and it is all API powered for integrating the posts. The idea being that it is now easier to switch services/methods of posting by adding to the API instead of having to re-write the whole site each time.
Behind the Source
2022 saw the revival of the "Behind the Source" moniker, but this time in the form of a podcast. In each episode I interviewed people who were experts in a topic to try and get out of them exactly what something was. For example, I spoke to web-folk about Svelte, Gitpod and even jQuery.
It was a great process to go through and I learnt a lot from it. I'm undecided if I will continue in the new year but I'm certainly not discounting it. I have a music production background, which I was able to lean on for some of the editing, but Descript really saved me a lot of time. It still took me about 2 hours to edit each 30 minute episode, through (not including creating the assets).
It seems not a "year in review" post goes by without some sort of bike related updates. After the devastation of having to return my cargo bike last year, 2022 saw the arrival of "Bob" (token Instagram post). We've had this bike for coming up for a year (having got it in January) and it's great. Both the kids love it and it serves as a second car - allowing me to take things places (including Christmas trees) and shuttle kids about. I've done over 1,500 miles on it this year and it handles everything I throw at it. Trying to get it in the bike shed at work is a bit of a battle, but I have a technique now.
I fel self-concious & nervous riding it at first, but now it is second nature and I chuck it round corners like I'm on the final bend of a race. Getting on "normal" (short) bikes always takes me a few seconds to adjust.
Another bike made it into the garage this Christmas in the form of a present for my wife. It's an electric one which can carry the older child on the back, so she can keep up with me and the kids when in Bob and/or take the boy out on his own if desired. We've already been on a trip to the library and I'm hoping 2023 is the year we start doing more trips by bike and leaving the car at home.
2022 saw us hire our first Junior Backend Developer. The Backend development team is now bigger than it ever has been and that is much needed as the projects we're undertaking are more and more complex. Despite being junior, Ankita is already picking up plenty of TYPO3 and other backend skills to take pressure of the other backend developers. We're hoping to see her really progress over the next year and take on more complex stuff over time.
On the tech side, our Gitlab CI processes have stepped up and we are now deploying non-docker sites using it. Our linting game is improving too which is ensuring everyone is coding to the same standards. Despite the big challenges in developing and debugging a CI stage (as you have to push to Gitlab and run the pipeline), I find the CI stuff really rewarding to work on. Maybe it's the restrictions that add to the rush of adrenaline when something works.
We've also, for once, got some "values" the dev team are going to follow for 2023. The idea is that our internal development time & resources should be working towards one (or both) and they can help guide any decisions we need to make this year.
The two values are Unity and Efficiency. We currently maintain after over 60 sites and the last couple of years have been spent optimising, innovating and updating our processes, workflows and code, so we now need to take stock and ensure everything is unified and up-to-date.
By ensuring all the sites are unified and have the same underlying structure, our efficiency will improve as we won't need to context switch so much.
At home, my wife left her job in teaching to pursue a career which gave her evenings and weekends back. The kids are forever growing up, Alfie is a big fan of Lego now (along with Uno and Snakes & Ladders). Ruby is walking and talking and her personality (of being an absolute joker) is starting to shine through.
As for the stats roundup...
Cycling mileage increased, but most of that was on Bob - I think I only managed one or two rides on the Sunday bike this year, along with a similar amount of non-cargo bike commutes to work.
Steps decreased, but calories burned increased (probably because of the cycling mileage increase). All in all, it was a more active year, but still not as active as I would like.
The blog post popularity is a bit skewed as I changed analytics provider and lost a load of data (which was the cause of me switching). For example, I know the post about improving Gitlab CI build speed gained a lot of traction when I posted it, but that isn't reflected in the table.
As mentioned last year, I started Geocaching again, finding an average of 0.4767 a day. I'm 88 away from my 1000th find which should be easily doable this year.
I don't know what 2023 will bring. Hopefully more beer, more bike miles and more Geocaching.