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2017 Realizations & 2018 Plans

Last updated Dec 27, 2017

At the time of writing this post, it’s already two days after Christmas of 2017, and we are at the final days of the year.

On the side note, my two weeks Christmas break almost seem too short.  Especially after spending the entirety of the first week playing around with asynicio in Python, and trying to get my head around it.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that time went by a bit too fast.

Just a few days ago, before Christmas to be precise. I was listening to Jeffery Way’s recent podcast, as he was speaking of a summary of his 2017, I started thinking of the similar things.

“What have I accomplished and learned in 2017?”

“Have I done all that I planned to do?”

I recall last year around the same time, I didn’t even have this blog yet.

Although I did write down my plans for 2017 on a spreadsheet, I believe it was not a complete year plan, the timeline only goes up to July 2017. As I’m looking at it now, I realized how bad I was at estimating time (though I still have room to improve now).

Most of the items on this # TODO list are done in different orders, and I at one point this year it ceased being valid. I don’t think I even looked at it past April.

Looking back, I guess I have learned a lot over the course of this year. At the same time, at some areas, I feel like I could have done a better job.

Well, let’s start with the things that went well first.

One thing I did realize is, I’m the type of person who needs a plan to keep myself motivated and focused, I really need to do a better job this year at making plans.


What Went Well in 2017

First thing is, I finished developing my personal website with Laravel!

This is possibly the most comprehensive item on the list, I actually had timelines on when I should finish what.

I started it late 2016, and was aiming to finish it the beginning of this year. If I look at the timeline for my first blog, it’s dated at February 2017!

Making this website really helped me to learn the ins and outs of Laravel, especially with the help of Laracast.


Next up is, Contributing to Open Source.

Yes, as vague as this item sounds, it’s actually what’s on my spreadsheet. When I look back at it now, I realize that it’s unclear what it specifically meant.

However, I did make an open source package for integrating Shopify API with Laravel.

Not only did I use it for my own Shopify, there are actually about 2000 installs according to packagist!

This leads to my next item.


Finished a Shopify App – Product Label Tagger

This item is actually not in the original plan.

I think it was around my Birthday, I wanted to have a personal project going beside my full time job, so I decided to give Shopify a go.

It took a few months to finish everything, now it’s up and running on Shopify App store!


Learned Cloud Computing/AWS

Again, this is not on the original list. To be exact, I didn’t even think I’d get into AWS at the end of last year.

I was originally introduced to it at my current job, along with the concept of infrastructure as code.

I fell in love with it, and started using AWS for my own personal projects as well.


Involving Myself in the Community

In June, I had the opportunity to go to PHP South Coast conference. I made friends there and learned a lot of new things.

It was the first software development related conference that I had been to, and I loved it!


Though nothing comes to mind right now, there are probably many more things that went well.


Now, on to the next part:


What Could Be Improved

Personal Website/Blog

As I mentioned in the previous session, although I do classify it as an accomplishment, there are parts that are still undone. If you go to my projects page, it’s still a big 503 there…

I’m hoping to get this done probably within the next month or so (or when I get around to it.)


Blog Posting

Originally, my plan for blog posts was to write about whatever I find interesting while I’m writing code.

It’s sort of a reminder for myself, so whenever I encounter the same problem again, I know where to find it even if I don’t remember it. At the same time, I thought there are probably other people who might also find the posts helpful.

However, more often than not, I find myself not doing as I originally planned. I rarely wrote blog posts this year.

Laravel Shopify Package

Whenever I look back at code I wrote a few months ago, I don’t like it anymore. I can pick out many flaws in this package now. Maybe that’s just one of those things with how we see our own code; “an artist is their own worst critic”, as they say.

Another point is that I like to improve on how I document my code, something that I feel I’ve fallen short on.


Making Plans and Sticking to It

Sometimes when there are many things going through my mind, instead of writing them down and tackle them one at a time, I would just hope I’d remember doing it.

Most of the times I end up forgetting and not getting much done.


Time Management

Most of the times, I found my productivity less than optimal, during my spare time.

I would either overwork myself, or not do much at all. There should always be a balance.


Onto 2018

Come to think of it, I have yet to make a solid plan for the coming year. There are definitely things to be improved on from 2017.

Quite roughly, I have got a few items on the list:

  • Getting myself certified as an AWS Developer
  • Finishing up the Projects page on this website
  • Finishing the Shopify Sales app with Django on AWS
  • Writing one blog post at least once a month
  • Push code to Github more often
  • Consistently keeping a personal project going outside of my full time job
  • Better time management. This means planning out the whole week on Sundays
  • Finishing all the technical related books I have

Also, I should make some more like minded friends who are also passionate about programming. Many times when I’m trying to figure things out, I found it much easier to have a brain storm session or even a quick chat with someone who are interested in the same thing.

Right, rough goals set for 2018. Let’s see what the new year brings!