10 New Year’s Resolutions Every Web Developer Should Make – Reviewed by Matthew Setter

10 New Year’s Resolutions Every Web Developer Should Make – Reviewed

December 28th, 2012

I was going through PHPDeveloper this morning and found a great post from NetTuts from December 27th, 2011 entitled: 10

I was going through PHPDeveloper this morning and found a great post from NetTuts from December 27th, 2011 entitled: 10 New Year’s Resolutions Every Web Developer Should Make. In it, Andrew Burgess proposes a set of 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2012.

Today I am considering each of these in turn and seeing whether I’ve implemented them and am challenging you to see if you have. So walk with me and let’s consider each in turn.

Learn a New Language, Framework, Or Methodology

I didn’t do too bad on this one. I’m currently in the middle of learning Zend Framework 2 as I transition from Zend Framework 1 and with a company that I freelance for here in Nuremberg, I’m currently learning Oxid eSales.

I have to say though, that I stayed a bit too close to the PHP side of things over the course of 2012. I dabbled in learning some Python, Scala, Haskell and Ruby. I even did a good bit of background reading on ObjectiveC – that might be on the cards for next year. But, kinda true to form, PHP remained my mainstay language.

For 2013, Oxid and ZF2 will be the frameworks of choice. But as for languages, I’m thinking that it’s going to be either ObjectiveC and/or Python.

Get Better At What You Know

This resolution goes hand in hand with the previous one. So in that way, I was successful, however, in a way I wasn’t. I stagnated a bit too long with Zend Framework 1 and didn’t make the change to 2 until only very recently. Yes, I’m pretty heavily on the bandwagon now, over at Malt Blue with all the new tutorials coming out; but it was a late change.

But it’s not all been negative. I’ve been enjoying learning the newer features of PHP 5.3 & 5.4, such as:

  • closures
  • traits
  • function array dereferencing

So on this resolution, good but not great.

Explore a New Field

I believe on this resolution, I scored pretty well. Andrew specifically cites writing and content strategy as options to undertake and I can say with conviction that I’ve done that with passion. Malt Blue has been continuing to grow and I’ve written quite a large amount of content on such sites as: PHPMaster, PHPArch, CloudSpring and AWeber, amongst others.

One achievement that I’m particularly proud of is being part of the foundation of the developer library over on CloudControl. If you’re not familiar with them, CloudControl is a really top notch PaaS provider based out of Berlin, Germany. They originally supported just PHP, but are moving now to support more languages, including Python, Java and Ruby.

If you’re looking for a great service with great support, get in touch and let them know Matt from Malt Blue sent you. You just may get a good discount.

Engage the Community

Once again, through the Malt Blue blog, Twitter and Facebook I did ok on this one, but nothing flash, I feel. Social Media is something that, I always feel I don’t quite “get” completely, if you know what I mean. But for 2013, one of my key words is: Relationships. So expect to see a lot more engagement, stimulating discussion, interaction and more.

It’s going to be BIG this coming year. What’s more, I’m going to be putting a lot more code up on Github. I’d love your critique on what you think, where I can improve and do better. Let’s hook up twitter and get some great discussions going.

Teach Others

On this score, I’d say I’m doing well, but as with all things, it can be better. So on this front, 2013 is going to be loads better. The Malt Blue blog is changing rather significantly in look and feel and approach. There is going to be a pretty clear dedication to teaching the Zend Framework 2 from all sides.

In addition to this, I’m writing my first book and will be adding a set of guides for your reading pleasure. So keep an eye out as the first guide will be available on the site before the end of January. For more information on the changing nature of the site, sign up to the mailing list – where you get all the gossip before anywhere else.

Take Better Care Of Yourself

Can’t complain about this one. Health and vitality is always front and center with me. Goodbye Dairy! So I won’t go in to it too much. However, if you’re keen for some great resources on the subject, check out the following:

Manage Your Time (and Other Resources) Better

Hmmm, not bad all in all here. I only work four days a week for clients and keep a day always for myself and personal projects. That’s been a welcome change to how I’ve approached work/life previously. I guess after 15 odd years, I’d say it’s been well earned.

Use Better Programming Practices

This is always a good one. I’m usually a bit sluggish when it comes to learning some new things. But kicking off back in February at the PHPUK Conference, reading more from PHP Architect and a host of great blogs, there was so much to learn. There have been deployment techniques, new patterns, concepts and approaches.

As with all things tech, there’s always something new coming out, there’s a new technology, there’s a new pattern and trend. I encourage you to not grab all of them, but be discerning in your choice and filter out the crap and focus on the quality content.

Generate Passive Income

Sadly, I think I failed pretty miserably on this one. Though, it’s something that’s pretty intriguing and inspiring. I’ve done a lot of consulting through Malt Blue, developing some great Zend Framework based applications, but alas, no passive income for this little black duck. Let’s see about changing that in 2013.

Take a Break

I didn’t do this one too well either. But, with the insistence from my wife, it’s gotten better and I’ve learned to appreciate the process around things that I do, more than actually doing them at times.

Someone gave me the reference recently of a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Do we really need the ceremony? I’d say yes. Why? Because it forces us to stop for a few minutes and just observe. We’re not always checking emails, twitter feeds, RSS feeds and the like.

Winding Up

So, on the whole I’d say that I did pretty good, but as always, there’s ever room for improvement. If you’ve not scored so well, how can you improve in 2013? I’m not suggesting that you have to be goal driven every waking moment of your day. However I am a big fan of, paraphrased, a biblical proverb:

Where there is no vision the people perish.

What I’m saying here is that, through a clear focus and vision, you will grow and achieve far more than if you have a vague idea of wanting to do “something”. So today I lay down the challenge to you for 2013. What resolutions will you make, these or others, to improve yourself over the coming year?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Matthew Setter. Ethical Hacker, Online Privacy Advocate, and a Software Engineer.

Matthew Setter

Software Engineer, Ethical Hacker, & Online Privacy Advocate.

Matthew Setter is a software engineer, ethical hacker, privacy advocate, & technical writer, who loves travelling. He is based in Nuremberg, Germany. When he's not doing all things tech, he's spending time with his family, and friends.