2015 retrospective

A year has again come to its end and it’s time to look back what I’ve managed to write about and do some planning for the new year of 2016. This year my writing schedule was as leisurely as usual and I managed to put together of 19 articles. Which five of them are about my new post series, weekly notes. On average I managed to kept my pace of at least one post per month. Yay. Things have gone quite well overall. I’ve learned new things and got things done :)

Mobile development on the rise

I started mobile development couple of years back with Jolla and Sailfish OS and this year I continued with iOS. Starting iOS development with Swift and Xcode for Apple iPhone and iPad devices has been quite a different experience than using Qt, QML and JavaScript for Sailfish OS. Learning new concepts with Swift and how the App Store works has been great but not always as fun as they say. Especially using the Xcode’s Interface Builder for creating user interface is a task I’m not comfortable with compared to using plain code as with QML. But I got my first iOS application published for iPhone and iPad: Highkara news reader for High.fi news portal. It’s available on App Store.

Highkara news reader
Highkara news reader

Things on Sailfish OS and Jolla front has been quiet but I did a new game: Falldown. Or actually ported it from Ubuntu Touch. It was a fun experience as I needed to build Bacon2D library for Sailfish OS and package it correctly so it can be accepted on Jolla Store.

It will be interesting to see how my iOS applications attract users and will they beat my Sailfish OS user base :) At least it will be easier to get statistics from your apps from iTunes Connnect than Jolla Harbour. Over a year I have collected data manually and plotted how my five apps have users on Jolla.

Jolla Store statistics
Jolla Store statistics
Active install graph
Active install graph

Keeping up with Weekly notes

For some time I have read or in practice collected several software development related newsletters on my inbox. I like to follow what happens on the field and reading Twitter, Reddit and Hacker News is nicely complemented with some newsletters. But that’s not all there is to it. I’ve found it’s useful to make summaries what I’ve read and thus started my Weekly notes blog post series. Although next year I probably will post weekly notes bi-weekly. That’s fortnightly, once in two weeks.

Learning from others at meetups

One way of learning new things is to hear how others do things and get do ideas how to make things better. I’ve found that attending meetups and conferences are nice way to both freshen your thinking and get to know people working on the same field. This year I went to OWASP Helsinki Chapter meeting 27 and got to hear Troy Hunt’s talks of “50 Shades of AppSec” and “Hack yourself first”. It was great event, met old friends from school and the views from the sauna were magnificent.

Or is it?
Or is it?

Agile methodologies are know widely used and accepted but what’s beyond agile? That was the theme what Tampere goes Agile asked this year. It was my first time visiting the event and it was nice experience. The topics provided something to think about and not just the same agile thinking. You could clearly see the theme “Inspired beyond agile” working through different presentations and the emphasis was about changing our mindsets. In short: Agile is mindset. Culture eats agile. no management, no projects. Think small. Focus on benefit. Test & automate. Pair. Liberate.

Continuous flow of waterfall
Continuous flow of waterfall

The meetup scene in Helsinki seems to be warming up and there’s lots of events to go. I didn’t write posts from all meetups I attended like Finland AWS Meetup with Sovelto but wrote about DevOps Finlands’ meetup about ApiOps and test automation. Nice events and good talks later on.

I will certainly keep notes on interesting meetups also next year.

Books on the shelf

I like reading books but usually not the kinds which are technical and you could learn something from. But still I got my hands on “Iron-Clad Java: Building secure Web applications” book which was highly informative and you can’t read it without learning important things about security. In good and bad the book gives somewhat opinionated answers what technics and tools you can use to address security issues but overall the advice is solid and un-biased and more or less framework agnostic.

The other software related book I found myself reading was “Real World Java EE Night Hacks”. It walks through best practices and patterns used to create a Java EE 6 application and covers several important topics from architecture to performance and monitoring to testing. The book has 167 pages with source code so the topics are more about getting the idea than explaining them thoroughly.

In 2016 I will make myself study for the Java Programmer Certificate and read the OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide. That’s about 1000 pages to go through with lights on.

Software development as usual

I work as a software developer and it entails all kinds of interesting aspects of doing things. Virtualization isn’t a new thing but with tools like Vagrant you can easily automate the creation of your development environment. And for that you need a base box which you can get from 3rd party or what’s better, you can create your own Vagrant base box with veewee. This way you know what’s in the box and get to customize it for your needs. I used Vagrant for WordPress theme development and later for creating legacy Java EE 5 development environment for OC4J, Oracle 11g XE and Java 1.5 on OS X.

Installing CentOS to Vagrant Box with Veewee
Installing CentOS to Vagrant Box with Veewee

Getting to play with Vagrant and provisioning it with Ansible was maybe the most useful thing this year what comes to development environments. Also switching from Eclipse to highly praised IntelliJ IDEA was great move. Although it took some time to get familiar with IDEA’s keyboard shortcuts. IDEA is nice upgrade form Eclipse especially for JavaScript development but Eclipse has it’s perks with Java and Maven.

Developing legacy applications and using enterprise Java EE environments were still on my daily list and I got to deal with annoyances like disabling Derby in Oracle WebLogic 12c and patching Richfaces 3.3.3. for IE 11. Fortunately it looks that next year I get to leave those behind and concentrate on modern environments.

One thing I didn’t have time to write this year was about starting JavaScript development. As a full-stack developer I’ve found myself writing more JavaScript this year than Java. Mostly Backbone.js and later got my hands dirty with Angular.js. To manage our build process and JavaScript libraries I wrote about setting up bower and gulp in Windows although you could ditch Bower and go just with npm. So many new tools to use that I think next year there won’t be shortage on topics to write :)

New year, interesting things ahead

Past year was good and I got to do fun projects like my first iOS application and in overall all things went as usual. Work, training, personal projects and stuff like that. Nothing spectacular.

New year of 2016 will be interesting as I just started in new job at awesome company, Gofore. I’m looking forward to new projects and getting things done with great coworkers. I’m certain that there will be interesting articles to be written next year so stay tuned by subscribing to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter. Check also my other blog in Finnish.

Happy new year!

“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”

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