2015 In Review

It's that time of the year when everyone sits down and writes about what they did over the past 12 months, and what they hope to do with their next dozen. I normally don't do these, and have thought they were a bit silly at times. But the more I think about it, this post isn't as much for you to read, as it is for me to write. So here I go. 2015 in review:

Things I did this year

Speaking

Workshops

This October Kevin Lamping and I put on a 6 hour Visual Regression Testing workshop at CSS Dev Conf. This wasn't Kevin's first rodeo, but I had never put on a workshop before! In the end, i think we all had a great time. I know people learned some things, and I know I learned even more.

I really enjoyed the workshop format. It combined two of my favorite things: Speaking and Teaching. With a renewed focus on Visual Regression Testing recently, I hope that 2016 will bring more opportunities to put this workshop on.

Books

The elephant in the 2015 room is obviously Frontend Architecture for Design Systems. While the book won't be out until the first part of 2016, it has entirely absorbed my year. Overall, writing a book has been a really positive experience. I had a ton of support from friends and family, and even if it doesn't turn out to be a huge success, I feel really good about crossing that item off my lifetime todo list.

As positive an experience as it was, there are still a few negatives to having spent all that time absorbed in writing.

First off, I don't feel extremely proud of my public accomplishments when I look back on the year. I often fear that our personal brands are always gaining and losing momentum. I saw some people with gain incredible momentum this year, and it was hard not to compare myself to them. I'm comforted in the fact that I still had a modestly busy year on top of buying a house, raising a family, and writing a book.

Secondly, now that the book is done, I barely know what to with myself! It's been over 9 months since I could just sit down and wonder what I should do with my time. It's like spending years in prison, with a set routine, only to get out and wonder what in the world you're supposed to do next! And yes, I did just compare writing a book to being in prison...take that however you want.

Blogging

Another victim of the all encompassing book was that I didn't do as much blogging as I did in 2014. It was difficult to sit down and write something of significance knowing that I should be putting all of that effort into my book. When I did sit down to write CSS Testing with PhantomCSS, PhantomJS, CasperJS and Grunt, I couldn't help but repurpose the article for one of the chapters in my book.

My other dive back into blogging is obvious, as you are currently reading this post on that new blog. micahgodbolt.com is not just a new blogging platform, but an experiment in website hypermiling. I tore this site down to its absolute bare HTML essentials and built it on top of Metalsmith, which I feel will give me the power to build the site exactly how I want it.

I'm hoping that 2016 will see a return to short form writing. Blogging has always been my way to solidifying my thoughts and ideas, and challenging myself to dive into new things.

PDX Sass

It's been almost 3 years since I started PDX Sass. With dozens of meetups, a great deal of learning, and a ton of great friendships, I'm ready to wrap up this chapter of my life and put PDX Sass to rest. There are several reasons I felt that it was the right time to do this.

  • Sass is no longer the new kid on the block, and trying to have a whole meetup devoted to it doesn't make much sense anymore.
  • Treehouse has been an amazing sponsor, and has supported us for a majority of our existence, but their support is coming to an end in 2016.
  • Since we've been jumping around from location to location each month, and I don't have a backlog of speakers to pull from, continuing PDX Sass into 2016 feels like I'd be starting a whole new meetup.
  • I'm tired! Meetups take a ton of work to organize, and when the day actually comes, it's not always the most relaxing experience. I spend most of the evening getting the speaker set up, organizing a pizza feast, and playing host to a few dozen people for a couple hours. There is rarely time to relax and enjoy the evening as much as I'd like to.
  • PDX Sass has been the only meetup I've been going to for the past 3 years. I simply don't have time to do more! In 2016 I'm looking forward to visiting tons of different meetups, meeting lots of people, and hopefully speaking in front of some new a audiences.

SassBites

For almost as long as I've been doing PDX Sass, I've been making a weekly commitment to my video blog, Sass Bites. With 95 episodes under my belt I'm just about ready to start a new chapter here as well. Don't worry, I don't plan on stopping recording demos and interviews, but I do plan on making some changes.

Just like PDX Sass, Sass Bites made perfect sense two years ago when there was a huge audience of developers who were starting to learn Sass. But just like the meetup, I started spending more time talking about general web dev topics, and less about just Sass. This all came to a breaking point when Sara Soueidan asked for podcast recommendations, and when I suggested Sass Bites she said she'd never watched it because she didn't use Sass that much. Obviously, I have a branding problem! So as much as I hate to let the name go, I will be changing things up in 2016 with a new name, new Youtube channel, and new distribution methods.

I also plan on making this a proper podcast this year. I've had a TON of requests to make the episodes available outside of youtube. So part of my work here on micahgodbolt.com has been to make a proper podcast RSS feed along with serving the media assets so people can download them and watch them offline.

Things to do next year

  • Speak more about Front-end Architecture, promote my book, and get more people interested in the discipline
  • Do more workshops on Visual Regression Testing and Front-end Architecture
  • Keep writing here about JSON Schemas, Visual Regression Testing and other Front-end Architecture topics
  • Attend lots of various meetups. Speak at several.
  • Keep contributing to the community with video tutorials and podcast interviews