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2019 Year in Review

ardalis profile image Steve Smith Originally published at ardalis.com on ・9 min read

Yes, it’s that time again. Time for another recap of what happened last year. If you’re reading this, and you’re not me, you probably are mostly interested in the most popular articles from last year, in case you missed something others found interesting. So, I’ll start with those. If you’re looking for other years in review, or want a checklist to help with writing your own year in review article, here are a few links:

Blogging

Last year I only added 41 posts to my blog. My high for a month was 6. The total is actually up from 37 in 2018, but it’s still less than one per week.

New Articles per Month in 2019.

In terms of traffic, Google Analytics reported that I had 769,979 page views, and that’s with missing about a week in January. In 2018 I had 708,260, so that represents about a 9% growth rate. Not amazing, but at least it grew. You can see there were a few weeks with big spikes from articles that were pretty popular.

Which brings me to articles. Google Analytics is great for identifying one’s most popular content. Often it’s not what you might think, expect, or hope for, though. For example, I mostly focus on code quality topics, domain-driven design, object-oriented principles, testing, etc. My top posts… don’t always reflect that though:

  1. Force Nuget to Reinstall Packages Without Updating (53k impressions)
  2. Using MediaR in ASP.NET Core Apps (30k impressions)
  3. How to Find All Objects in SQL Server Schema (23k impressions)
  4. Why Delete Old Git Branches (22k impressions)
  5. SQL Server Error User Group or Role Already Exists (21k impressions)
  6. Add Images Easily to GitHub (20k impressions)
  7. The More You Know The More You Realize You Don’t Know (15k impressions)
  8. Git Graph Visualizes Branches in VS Code for Free (14k impressions)
  9. Enum Alternatives in C# (14k impressions)
  10. How to Add Nuget Packages Using dotnet add (14k impressions)

At least my one Excel tip on How to Display a Plus Sign If the Value of a Cell is Positive is no longer in my top 10 (it’s #12 with 12k impressions).

Currently I have 1502 blog posts on this site.

Goal for 2020: One Million Page Views

Probably a stretch goal to get 33% more page views (since last year I only got about 10% growth) but goals should be exciting when achieved and hoping for another modest 10% doesn’t excite me. I’d like to publish at least 52 posts in 2020 (about 25% more than I did in 2019) and if I can push that a bit higher that should help me with the overall traffic goal. Note that most of my most popular posts weren’t even published in the last year so the real trick isn’t quantity but quality. I need to publish the right posts.

Another strategy I’m just starting is reposting on the DEV community. I’ve only just started this so it’s too early to say if it will have much of an impact on my site traffic or other metrics. If you’re there, be sure to follow me and I’ll most likely follow you back.

Weekly Dev Tips Podcast Stats

Some of you may know I have a podcast, Weekly Dev Tips (which is the same name as my emailed newsletter that goes out every Wednesday). I don’t necessarily keep up with the “weekly” in the name… In 2019 I published 23 episodes (so, not quite enough to call it biweekly…).

Podcast downloads in 2019

My podcast had 146k downloads in 2019. You can see from the chart above when I released new episodes. Here are the top shows (all time downloads):

  1. Domain Events – Before Persistence (6,907)
  2. Do I Need a Repository? (6,300)
  3. What Good is a Repository? (6,039)
  4. On Learning TDD and LISP with Uncle Bob Martin (6,021)
  5. Layering Patterns on Repositories (5,437)
  6. On Design Patterns (5,334)
  7. Maintain Legacy Code with New Code (5,300)
  8. Breaking Bad Coding Habits with Joe Zack (5,169)
  9. How much do you make?(5,070)
  10. How Do You Even Know This Crap? (5,059)

Seems my tips on design patterns like domain events and repositories are among the most popular. Maybe that means I should record more tips on these, but I don’t want to read too much into it. Mostly I just need to get more consistent about publishing these shows. I got busy toward the end of last year and now it’s been almost 3 months since I published a new episode. I have a few in the queue so hopefully we’ll get them going again soon (I need to finish this blog post, first…). My goal for 2020 will be to publish 52 tips, even if they’re not actually every week (since that ship has already left the harbor).

Weekly Dev Tips Mailing List

This one I don’t miss. I sent a new tip out ever Wednesday in, just like I did in 2018 and 2017. I’m currently on a 195 week streak and I hope to keep that up through 2020. Currently I have 2,917 subscribers. You can sign up here, if you’re interested.

In terms of goals, I want to make sure I have something helpful to send every week. If I can meet my blog and podcast goals, then it makes it much easier to have something ready for the email. I’d also like the list to continue to grow, of course. If I can grow it to 4,000 subscribers, which seems pretty modest, that should help with my goal of getting 33% more page views for the blog.

Social Media Stats

It can be difficult to get this information after the fact, so here are my stats for various social media things as of January 2020.

Publications

In 2019, I published the following books and courses:

cover image
Architecting Cloud-Native .NET Apps for Azure

I also updated my architecture eBook for .NET Core 3.1.

Architecture-eBook-Cover
Architecting Modern Web Applications with ASP.NET Core and Microsoft Azure

My Pluralsight Courses (2019) (View All)

Note that these are both updates of existing, more comprehensive courses. You may find value in watching the originals as well, which have additional content:

Speaking

Last year I spoke at the following 5 conferences:

  • Stir Trek (April 2019)
  • DevIntersection (June 2019)
  • dotnetconf (September 2019)
  • DogFoodCon (October 2019)
  • DevIntersection (November 2019)

In 2018 I traveled and spoke quite a bit more (11 events) and in 2019 I decided to slow it down a bit. For 2019 so far things are looking to be busier again, but we’ll see how things play out. So far I’ve already spoken at Codemash and I’ll be at NDC London at the end of January.

My talks and workshops have mostly focused on domain driven design, clean architecture, cloud design patterns, and ASP.NET Core.

Travel

Since I cut back on my speaking gigs I didn’t travel as much in 2019 as I have in other years. Two new places I visited were MIT with my daughter for a college visit and Hawaii with my family.

Steve at MIT

In Hawaii we stayed on Oahu and visited Pearl Harbor, hiked Diamond Head, visited the Dole plantation, and hung out at Disney’s Aulani resort. It was certainly a beautiful place to visit.

Sunset from Aulani
Sunset from Aulani

I also got another email from Fitbit telling me my stats for the year. My one device died and it took a while before I opted to get a new one, so there was some missed time.

For 2019:

  • Best day was 25,708 steps. That’s pretty low, really.
  • 2,370,187 total steps
  • 75 Average Sleep Score (new with new Fitbit HR device)

Work Environment and Gear

I try to keep my current list of gear and tools used up to date. In 2019 I did choose to upgrade a lot of my hardware that was getting really up there in age. I don’t think I’ll be getting any new laptops or desktops in the next year or two as a result. My desktop configuration is still this one. I’ll try to write a quick post about my Dell XPS laptop I got last month some time soon.

I did move my office at the end of last year. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out in terms of recording and streaming. I now have a green screen wall that works pretty well (I need to get a little better lighting but it’s 95% good as is). I also put in some matching sound panels. The treadmill desk still gets a lot of steps every day, though at this moment I’ve got my chair on it.

My office set up in January 2020.

(this is getting rather long – is anyone still reading?)

In terms of gear a couple other things I got this year that I’m happy with are a Stream Deck, which I talked about here, and a Tesla Model X. I’ve wanted a Tesla for a very long time and the incentives, timing, and cash flow finally aligned to let me do it. I’ve been very pleased with the car, and its over the air updates have improved it over time (unlike every other car I’ve owned that has only degraded with time). I haven’t missed gas stations, the car is super fun, and it just charges in my garage. It’s been fine for relatively short road trips (3-4 hours away), but for family vacations we’ll stick with the minivan.

Work Stuff

My wife Michelle and I run a bunch of businesses together. Too many, in fact. In 2019 we were able to wind one down, which was a good thing. Our main revenue-producing business is software training, mentoring, and consulting, and we hired our second employee in 2019. Things are going well and we’re looking to probably hire another 1-2 senior people in 2020 assuming things keep going well.

That’s It

Thanks for reading this far. Like I said, this is mostly so I can look back years later and see where things were at this point in time. Hopefully if you’re not me doing that you found some useful tidbits here. If you want to write your own year in review blog post, I wrote a checklist here that is probably longer than most people will want but you can just pick and choose what works for you.

Good luck in 2020 and beyond!

The post 2019 Year in Review appeared first on ardalis.

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Steve Smith

@ardalis

Steve Smith (@ardalis) is an entrepreneur and software architect. He trains teams and developers to write better code, faster.

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