2020 was an interesting year. It started out pretty awesome, then came a global pandemic, a renewed interest in social justice, and lots of political news to keep your blood pressure up. Doomscrolling became a word, and I found myself doing it often.
As a person that travels frequently and speaks at a lot of conferences, there were a lot of changes. The interesting thing is I planned for many of these changes beforehand. From last year's year in review:
I'm going to stop traveling in August for a year. Abbie will be a high school senior and I want to be around for her last year at home.
It seems I timed this quite well! However, I didn't expect most conferences to go virtual. I didn't expect I could still speak at them without traveling. I expected to speak less and have more time for writing. I didn't expect to stay home all the time and have everything delivered. I didn't expect to have to stop hanging out with friends.
I'm going to look back on 2020 using the following categories.
For those stumbling upon this post with no context, I'm an open source developer that works at Okta. My title is officially "Developer Advocate," but all the code and words I write are distributed as open source.
This year, I focused on creating YouTube videos as much as blog posts. Our YouTube Channel continues to grow much faster than our Twitter followers, so we continue to invest in it. I published 20 videos on the @oktadev channel in 2020. In addition to doing videos about my own posts, I started doing them for posts written by other Java developers. My most popular video was based on a blog post written by Daniel Pereira. In case you're interested, you can watch Java REST API Comparison: Micronaut, Quarkus, and Spring Boot below.
In the first quarter, I continued to record meetups for the Denver JUG and Denver Open Source Users group. This changed quickly with COVID, and we pivoted to using StreamYard and YouTube for our meetups. This made it easier to record sessions because there's no editing involved. Even though it requires less time, I really miss the in-person meetups and after-hours discussions with the community. We published nine videos to the DJUG channel and three to the DOSUG channel.
I wrote 15 blog posts throughout the year on the Okta developer blog. We publish two types of blog posts: thought leadership and conversion. Thought leadership posts tend to be about a hot topic, while conversion posts are usually tutorials.
I focused on Angular, Spring Boot, JHipster, Ionic, and the Okta CLI. We added author pages to our blog this year, so you can see all my posts here.
I especially enjoyed writing a four-part series on Angular and Spring Boot:
- Build a CRUD App with Angular 9 and Spring Boot 2.2
- Build Beautiful Angular Apps with Bootstrap
- Angular Deployment with a Side of Spring Boot
- Angular + Docker with a Big Hug from Spring Boot
In particular, I learned a lot from writing the last post. It required collaborating with a lot of folks to make it happen. Kudos to Benoit Sautel for his help with Gradle + Kotlin, Ray Tsang for help with Jib, James Ward for help with Knative, Josh Long for his assistance with Docker + Cloud Foundry, and Joe Kutner for his buildpacks support.
Rather than rewriting this series for new versions every year, I've decided to use it as a foundation for an InfoQ Mini-Book on Angular.
My post popular thought leadership post was Security Patterns for Microservice Architectures. This was a runaway hit shortly after I posted it, and it remains #1 on Google for "microservice security."
According to TripIt, I took 10 trips, to 16 cities, in 4 countries. That's 12 fewer trips than 2019, and I had 85 days on the road (-44 from 2019).
My Speaker Deck profile shows 23 presentations at 19 events. Eight of those were in-person, the rest virtual.
I had a lot of fun in February traveling to Sweden for Jfokus and doing a Rocky Mountain JUG Tour with Ray Tsang.
As part of the Rocky Mountain JUG Tour, Ray Tsang and I started a Developer Ski Days meetup. We only had two meetups before COVID shut us down. We were really looking forward to taking the Winter Park Express train after dev.next. I'll make sure to try again when dev.next happens.
We did not host any Devoxx4Kids Meetups in 2020. Since most kids were on screens for school, I didn't feel we should subject them to more screen time. As of this writing, we have 341 members. I sent everyone a survey about doing online meetups in November and only received nine responses. Eight of them were in favor of it, so we might try to do one soon. I'm still looking for someone to help recruit speakers and schedule events.
I continued to maintain OktaDev Schematics in 2020. The project had 19 releases, added support for Express.js, and made Capacitor the default for Ionic apps. Working on it helps me keep up with changes in Angular, React, Vue, Ionic, and React Native and makes sure I know how to use the latest Okta SDKs. According to npm-stat.com, it had ~36K downloads in 2020.
My other projects are related to JHipster. I helped add OAuth 2.0 support for reactive JHipster apps. I also integrated Spring Cloud Gateway for microservice architectures. We had 12 releases in 2020. I'm blown away that we had almost 2 million downloads. 🤯
I'm proud to see JHipster's ecosystem thriving with blueprints. I try to test them every so often to ensure they have the same quality as the main generator.
I did not work on the JHipster Mini-Book in 2020, but I hope to update it for JHipster 7 this year.
Ionic for JHipster had eight releases in 2020 and around ~7K downloads.
I got some good ski days in before the pandemic hit with trips to Whitefish Mountain in Montana, Jackson Hole in Wyoming, and Trysil Ski Area in Norway.
I was super excited to travel to JavaLand in Germany in mid-March and hit the slopes in the Swiss Alps with my family after. That was canceled due to COVID, and we took our kids to Florida for Spring Break instead.
In addition to Florida in March, we had several other trips during the pandemic. We road tripped to see my parents in Montana in May. We flew to Boston for our nieces' graduation in June.
I wrote about these trips in 2019-2020 Ski Season, Quarantining for COVID, and a Graduation.
In July, I enjoyed a dream come true and took the whole month off. We enjoyed a family raft trip through Desolation Canyon to begin.
Then, I headed for Montana with my new eBike in tow. I had all kinds of fun biking on my childhood trails, rafting the Blackfoot and the Middle Fork of the Flathead, and golfing with my folks.
My sister and Mya visited, along with Trish and the kids.
Trish and I celebrated our 7th anniversary at a spa in Evergreen. I highly recommend their "Just for Two Escape" package.
I didn't publish many pictures from the rest of 2020, but a lot still happened. Jack turned 16, got his driver's license, and his mom gifted him a car.
Abbie turned 18 and is enjoying her senior year as much as possible.
I'll take this opportunity to discuss our COVID close calls. We flew a few times during the pandemic, always wear masks outside our home, and believe in social distancing. We haven't had many close calls until recently.
The first close call was at Abbie's birthday party—a Saturday—in early November. She asked a small group of friends to get COVID tests before the party. They did, but all the results didn't come in. We let her have the party anyway. A positive result came back from one of her friends on Sunday. We thought for sure we'd come down with it since we were exposed. Their school went fully remote on Monday because of the fall surge. All the kids had to quarantine at home. No one caught it except the friend's sister.
Another scare happened a couple of weeks ago when we were up in the mountains. Jack and I ran into some friends on the slopes and joined them for a little après ski after. I hugged a family member that wasn't skiing that day, and they joked, "you don't have COVID, do you?" That was a Tuesday. They tested positive that Friday. Our whole family got tested Saturday, and the results were negative. Phew!
Stout the Syncro and Hefe the Bus
Stout and Hefe didn't get to make the rounds at any car shows this year. However, we did get to do a fun VW cruise with Hefe in early October.
Stout has been a trusty companion when making trips up to Winter Park to go skiing.
Professionally, I don't think there will be any travel this year. Even if there were, I'm not interested until August. I made a pledge to stop traveling last year, and it's easier than ever now. I'm going to try and limit my speaking commitments to one per month and spend more time on mini-books, at least in the first half of the year. I'm still enjoying my 38" monitor and recommend you get one too.
I plan to contribute frequently to JHipster. Now that reactive support is released, I'll be trying to integrate microfrontends support. Why? Because no one wants a monolithic UI fronting their fancy microservice architecture! I also hope to integrate GraphQL, probably as a module to begin.
I'll be on vacation the whole month of July, again. I had so much fun last year; I can't think of a good reason not to do it again. 😃
Last year, I said I'd be skiing, biking, and rafting a lot more. The ski season was cut short, but I've been making up for it lately. I've been cross-country skiing 17 times since Thanksgiving and downhill 14 times. My goal is 42 days for both, but that might be tough if we don't get more snow soon.
When it's warmer, I'll take my ebike out on some trails and giggle to myself as the wind whisks through my hair while riding uphill. I'll take my Yeti out every-now-and-then to remember how hard mountain biking really is.
Rafting should come easy with our enthusiastic rafting family and vacation in July. We're thinking of renting a place near Salida in June so we can raft the Arkansas River after work. If Trish has to go back to an office, those plans could change quickly.
Last year, I wrote that I wanted to get more headspace, spend more time with friends, and enjoy being home. I did a lot of meditating in May (with the Headspace app). I gave it up with the busy summer and haven't resumed since. I'm mostly going with a "just get through this COVID thing" attitude. I really miss hanging out with friends. I look forward to that being a regular thing again.
I ❤️ being a homebody, and we're making some investments to make it even more fun. We have a 3-point basketball court being installed right now and a bunch of planted gardens that we hope will bloom with beautiful flowers this spring.
I only have one goal for 2021: dance more. 🕺