2018 - My Recap


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| Alexander Lichter
~ 7 min read

Wow! What. A. Year.

2018 lies in the past and I felt that this was by far the most productive year I had. On the other hand, I’m somewhat certain that this is not the end of the road. Though it was a great year, there are always things one could have done better, more professional, faster or just not at all.

Personal Life

The last year brought some bigger changes to my life. I started a half-year long internship at Xilinx Ireland, beginning at the end of summer. But before, I had to move out of my current flat (5th floor, no elevator. PS: Never ever rent a flat in such a high floor without an elevator) and also to take some very important exams in university. Though it was a little stressful because the dates were all close together, the exams were very “intense” (read: a lot of topics to learn and not much time to learn) and work for my own company was also always calling, I managed the situation somehow (and I’d say, not too bad). I passed the exams, moved out on time, finished a large contract project and then went abroad. After roughly 4 months in Dublin, I must admit that I love the warmth and friendliness of the people, the city, the landscape but definitely not the weather 😜

Working full-time and not being self-employed (and a student in the meantime) forced me to re-schedule almost everything. Because the time is rare now. Luckily I still have time for my girlfriend (who isn’t abroad with me), open source, going to the gym (regularly again 💪🏻), friends, my own company and to explore the country.

Speaking of open source…

Nuxt.js (and friends)

I started using Nuxt already back in December 2017 when I decided to rebuild my personal page with it. However, the relation between Nuxt.js (the framework and the team) and me really evolved in 2018. With small steps, like showcasing my page and creating some bug reports in the first months, I was able to make first contributions to the Nuxt.js ecosystem in March. For example to:

This was followed by an invite to the Nuxt Community GitHub organization and the Nuxt.js Slack (PS: we use Discord now!). I really felt honored and had the chance to contribute even more, which I did. In April, I released my first two nuxt modules for redirects and RSS/ATOM/JSON feeds (out of 8 modules this year). Both are still maintained mainly by me and have over 10k total downloads each. I’ve also created my first open-source Vue components:

These components haven’t been adopted in large scale but that’s fine. I’ve created them to abstract logic that I had to use in a hand full of projects. Because nobody likes to copy and paste component code over and over again.

After passing my exams and before moving to Dublin I spent a lot of time with Contributions to Nuxt. It was really addictive to propose new changes, squash bugs and talk to the core team directly. Alone in August, I was able to propose 19 PRs of which were 14 merged into the Nuxt.js core.

And then there was the Vue.js London conference. Again, thanks to the Nuxt.js team (and my manager at Xilinx who allowed me to go) I was able to attend the conference. And not only that, my ticket was funded by the open collective money from Nuxt to thank me for my steady contributions. I was incredibly happy when Sebastien told me that, especially because I then would meet the Nuxt brothers in person.

It happened. 10 minutes before the legendary live-release (which I did not know of) presentation at Vue.js London I met these two awesome guys and they said: “Oh, you know what? You are in the slides. Welcome to the Core Team!

That was definitely one of the most significant moments in 2018. No joke. It meant so much to me (and it still does)!

The conference itself was my first Vue conference and it was a blast. So many interesting, clever and kind people in one place. New connections and new friends. Very well-prepared and informative talks and a nice after-party. This won’t be my last conference, no doubts!

Nuxt has evolved since then as well. More features, smart ideas, and also a more thoughtful progress. It was the 4th fastest growing open source project in 2018. And my prediction for 2019 is that Nuxt will grow further, will evolve further, will mature further.

PS: Becoming a core maintainer isn’t impossible at all, even if you don’t have decades of experience. If you are willing to invest time, eager to learn new things, ready to help people and, if you want, available to take a few responsibilities you just have to show that you are interested in it. That means you can start helping out where help is needed: Triaging issues, answering questions on several platforms, improving the docs, and so on. Contributing to the code itself is important but not everything!

Blogging

One of my Goals for 2018 was to finally start blogging! I even had a list with topics that got longer and longer but I had no time to actually build the blog. Of course, I wanted to build it completely on my own with my favorite tech stack. In Summer I finally had the time to do so and at the end of August, the first blog posts had been released.

In 2018 I wrote “just” 7 blog posts, which is barely more than 1 per month. But I’m quite relieved that almost all the feedback was positive. People told me that the blog posts helped them and that they learned new things. Exactly what I wanted to achieve! With more than 7.000 unique visitors just in December, this goal is also validated (thought visitor count is not the only metric which is important here).

Twitter

I haven’t been using Twitter at all for a longer time (until 2016). Thanks to my friend and colleague Max Langer I finally joined Twitter and regretted it to be late to the party a few weeks after. Since then I was most of the time a silent reader that likes stuff and throws in a few comments here or there.

Since I started to dig into Nuxt (and had no blog or another platform) I released small tips regarding the framework. Thanks to them I achieved the 500 follower milestone in 2018. Here applies the same as for my blog post. I’m happy if these tips help people and if people like them (and spread them of course :relaxed:)

Speaking

Thankfully I had the chance to gave a few talks in my university at the beginning of the year. These were about Functional Programming in PHP and why PHP isn’t dead (yeah, it is not).

In May I held another PHP talk at the local PHP Usergroup (thanks to PHPUGDD for having me!).

After arriving in Dublin I was on the look for Vue.js meetups and was glad that there was one group that did recurring meetups. The first meetup with them was terrific! A smaller group with, again, very welcoming people. We all introduced each other and went for a beer after two great talks and delicious pizza. Of course, I wanted to give something back to the community as well. So it came that I held the 5th and last talk of the year, an Introduction to Nuxt.js in November. Nothing went wrong, the questions during the Q&A were sophisticated and the people were happy. What a nice end (with regards to speaking) for that year!

PS: If you are in Ireland, please come around and say hi at the meetup! We are always looking for speakers too ☺️ PPS: The new VueJS Dublin website will be made with Nuxt too. But it’s still WIP. 🙈

Developmint

My own company (that I lead together with Max I mentioned above) turned three in August 🎉 I can’t really tell a lot because most contracts are under an NDA or the results already published on our company page (which has been rebuilt with Nuxt too). 2018 was a great year for the company. Though I’m abroad I still do some work when I find the time. Since I also offer hourly billed Nuxt.js consulting when I can, this is no wonder 😁

Shipping

Besides contract work, I also shipped a few things. Some secretly, some quite public.

As you know, I built my blog and rebuilt my personal page and my companies page. What also happened is that I built a small donation page for me (because it was requested by people who wanted to donate). A great chance to fiddle around with Stripe, build things in the open and create another learning repository that includes a Nuxt project. Tada, thanks.lichter.io has been built.

There is also Brotli.Pro which is still in testing phase but is publicly available (and was shipped secretly). With it, you can test if your website properly uses Brotli compression or not. This can make a huge size difference for your files! I’m still working on some content for the page. This one isn’t open-sourced (like my blog isn’t [yet?]).

Summary and Goals

Wow! This post is now way longer than expected. Okay, quick: Here are my goals:

  • Blogging more frequently (Blogging has become one of my favorite tasks. I like writing more and more and there are still so many things to write about)
  • Keeping up the gym routine throughout the year (I don’t want to get too lazy again, especially when I’m back in Germany)
  • Improve my organization - More lists, written stuff, timeboxing!
  • Look into Elixir (I like functional programming and Elixir looks quite nice. Why not trying it out?)
  • Complete another awesome Hacktoberfest (This year I opened 56 PRs in October and 54 were merged. I want to keep that up)

That’s it, folks! Thanks for reading and a happy 2019 with a lot of success to you!


Originally published on Jan 06, 2019
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