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My 2015

Published on 31 December 2015

As another year draws to a close I like many find myself reflecting on the past 12 months. Here are my ramblings on some of the more prominent topics of my year.

Node

2015 was the year of node for me. At work I built several web services using node and express, and have learned a lot about building applications rather than just front-ends.

I’ve also spent a lot of my own time working with node, reinventing the wheel building CRUD-style applications etc. in order to learn more about it.

I’ve really enjoyed working with node and fully intend to keep at it throughout 2016 (and beyond).

Frameworks

This year I got to work with all the major frameworks, and developed some general opinions on the subject too.

Backbone was definitely the most prominent framework for me. I’d used it before, but this year I used it extensively and have become reasonably knowledgeable about it.

I’ve also worked with both Angular and Ember. I’m less fond of these two frameworks as they feel like a black box to me, have a steep learning curve and have proved difficult to debug. Whilst unlikely to be my first choice when starting a project, I can now at least work with these frameworks when necessary.

Then of course we have React. So far I’ve haven’t had chance to use React on a real-world project, but I have spent the last couple of months playing with it in my spare time, and to me it feels like the way forward.

I’ve found that frameworks in general seem to hinder productivity and create at least as many problems as they solve. I think every team should have their own framework, made up of smaller components that each do their job well, but something too rigid will very quickly become stale. Anyway, that’s another post for another time.

Photography

Photography became a big thing for me this year. I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, but it had always been a very casual thing until now.

Starting the year with a new iPhone 6, I figured it was time I learned how to get the best out of the camera and the many editing apps that are available.

My first step was to work through Dan Rubin’s Skillshare course on Mobile Post-Production. Then a couple of months later I was lucky enough to attend one of Dan’s workshops, where I learned so much more than I expected to.

Initially I had just wanted to take better pictures with the camera that I always had in my pocket (my iPhone), but once I started digging into composition, exposure and post-production it became about actively pursuing photography.

For the first few months of the year I spent as much of my free time as possible, including my time traveling to and from work etc. taking photos with my iPhone. During the summer I took the plunge and bought a real camera, a Sony A6000.

The only camera I’d ever had other than various smartphones was a simple point and shoot which was always in auto mode. Initially I found using my new camera a bit daunting, but with some reading and experimentation I soon got the hang of how and when to use the different modes available, as well as adjusting ISO, white balance, aperture and shutter speeds.

All of this culminated in me being more active on Instagram than I have been since I first signed up, as well as developing an interest in Street Photography, to the point where I can spend hours walking around the city armed only with my camera.

I’ve also developed an addiction to photo books, and have significantly grown my collection this year, with some favourites being by Henri Cartier-Bress, Robert Frank, Joel Meyerowitz, Garry Winogrand, Tony Ray-Jones, and Alex Webb.

I’m looking forward to spending even more time behind the lens in 2016. It’s very good for me to have a pastime that doesn’t involve being in front of a screen for hours on end and encourages me to go outside.

Here’s to 2016

2015 certainly hasn’t been the best year of my life by any stretch, but I also realise I’m fortunate to have everything that I do. I’ve deliberately tried to avoid writing too much about the negative side of things in this post, as I don’t believe any good could come from that.

If you’ve made it this far, well done, and thank you for reading my blog. Have a great New Year!