2016, year in review

December 31, 2016    review

A lot happened for me this year. I started blogging again from scratch. In this post I’ll reflect back on last year.

ReSnap

Last year we made a lot of improvements on the ReSnap platform. We made the artificial intelligence way better. We also improved the performance of the backend and simplified it without compromising functionality. In fact we added a lot of new functions to our editor. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our development.

Technologies, framework and tools

Because of the increased use and maturing of the AWS Lambda functions I started looking for beter ways to test and integrate the changes. At ReSnap we developed a few bash scripts to streamline this process. But since the Serverless framework introduced version 1.0 I started integrating it into our workflow. It is a great framework to minimize overhead while developing. I spend much less time in the AWS console.

I love trying out new frameworks and platforms. For my hobby projects I like to get started quickly be agile. Firebase seems to be the perfect fit to get started quickly and without significant costs.

Git is an essential part of my developing workflow (I even have some non-development repositories). Lately I switched from using Bitbucket to Gitlab. It supports my workflow better and has easier shortcuts which help me be productive faster. At ReSnap we starting using it as well and integrated our own CI.

Last but not least: I am back to te iPhone. After owning a Nexus 6 for the last two years I needed a new phone. Before the Nexus I owned an iPhone since it was introduced in the Netherlands (we started with the iPhone 3G). I wanted to own a Android phone to get to know the platform better. After two years I can say that I like iOS better for my daily use. I even switched from my Moto 360 to an Apple Watch.

Projects

Besides working at ReSnap I spend my pasttime developing fun projects.

The Moetikeenjasaan Twitter bot was hosted on Parse. Unfortunately after acquisition by Facebook they decided to kill the platform. So I needed to host the bot another way. I am always looking for ways to keep the costs of my projects down. After a little searching I stumbled upon the great service Google Apps Script. Within two hours I ported the whole bot into this service and scheduled it. Thanks to this move the bot is running completely free of charge.

A lot of the websites that I built for customers are set up in Wordpress. Since we built the ReSnap website completely static, I wanted to do the same for the existing website under my control. So I moved the website onto a compute instance in Google Cloud Platform and installed the great Simply Static plugin. The only extra step after editing a website is generating the static version. A bash script on the server than automatically mirrors the new version to a storage bucket. Now all these websites are creazy fast and as added bonus have greater security.

I also started a new project: polymeraws. It is an abstraction of the AWS JavaScript SDK to make it easier to interact with it in a Polymer application. I will expand the number of elements to cover the most commonly used AWS services.

Books & Podcasts

One of my goals this year was to increase the amount of books I read yearly. I’ve managed to read a total my minimum target of 12, including the following books:

I have also started listening to Podcasts. I was sceptical at first, but now I enjoy them very much. It is great to listen to a podcast during cooking or while traveling. My favourite thus far is Under the Radar it is not to long and the content is a good fit regarding my hobby projects.

Health

I live in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. This city is world famous for its big walking event called ‘Four Days Marches’. For four days you start walking at 5 in the morning and walk a total of 50 km every day. I always wanted to try participate and the 100th edition seemd like a great opportunity. I enroled in a training program and started training. Thanks to the training I was able to walk the total of 200 km with no blisters at all.

Resolutions for the new year

My goals for 2017 are naturally to improve my workflow futher. After reading twelve books in 2016 I have set the same goal for 2017, hopefully I even have time to read some more. I also plan on walking the 4 Days Marches again (if I win a ticket in the lotery).

Regarding my side projects: I am planning on revive my App Store success Ophaaldagen. It needs a serious layout upgrade and needs better and accurate data. I alsow plan on improving and extending the polymeraws project.



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