Themes for 2017

Introduction

As is my tradition on this blog this is my annual post for my Themes for the year. Why themes and not goals? I feel like if you don’t hit your goals that feels like a failure, but as witnessed by my recap of last year I did a poor job of hitting my themes and was still very happy with how the year turned out. Themes are designed to be open ended and the idea is just an accountability tool for myself to make sure I am working on personal and professional growth. In the case of last year my life changes resulted in many of the themes not making sense anymore, but I still felt like there was a ton of growth so I call it a successful year.

Theme 1 – Update the blog

As I do every year my first theme is regular updates to this site. Ideally at least one post a week, but that has proven challenging to me in the past. Still I think it is a good thing to strive for. What is the point of a site without regular content the only way to give people a reason to read is regular updates. Additionally I would like to do some longer posts this year. I still aspire to do a deeper dive into Amazon SQS. I have also considered going with a post about hibernate caching under Spring Boot, but I need to deliver one sort of tutorial post before I dive too deep into these ideas. This will just require me to make enough time to put a deeper post together instead of my more common posts that tend to be lighter, but still technical.

Theme 2 – Regular reading

Like usual I have reading as a priority. In a perfect world I would read 10% of whatever book I am working on in my kindle each day. Generally I don’t hit that daily but often I will hit that 5 days out of a week which allows you to get through a new book every two weeks. In an ideal world I would read at least one book a week, but I know that won’t happen.

Theme 3 – Learn about reactive programming

All the buzz in the Spring world these days is about reactive programming. Spring 5.0 is going to include a reactive model based on reactor. The github page for reactor can be found over here.  I have followed on the Spring Blog about the different milestones as they integrate this model of programming into Spring. So while I get the 50,000 ft view of this model I haven’t played around with it yet, and I am not completely sold on the programming model yet. The best way for me to get a better idea about it will be to play with it and see how it actually works in real code. The style seems interesting, very Java 8 Lambda style, but I am curious how testing this code looks, and how readable this style of code is. So I am not sold as I want to be sure that it is easy to unit test, and maintains Java’s readability which is one of the biggest strengths of the language. If the model for this programming is hard to glance at the code and understand what it is doing we would be giving away one of the biggest advantages of Java, so I need to play with it and get comfortable with it, to really decide how I feel about the style.

Theme 4 – Architectural Changes at work

I have a whole bunch of ideas to improve our legacy app this year. I am in the process of reworking the whole persistence layer. There is a way to just lean on the framework more than the original design did and end up with many fewer lines of code. I am also reworking our controllers just to make the design lighter. A new thing I just started on right before vacation was reworking the way we do caching. So I am hoping to roll that out in the next month. We are also going to launch micro service #3 tomorrow so this is going to be a big year at work.

Theme 5 – Master Angular / lodash

I have been saying I was interested in playing with Swift, Go, and Rust. But realistically for something that will happen this year that will also help my professional growth I want to master angular and lodash. My CSS skills will probably still suck, but CSS is the one thing I really dislike in the whole full stack.

Theme 6 – Healthier eating

I want to try to eat a little bit healthier this year. Not sure if that will have me going back to primal diet, or what. I have heard good things about slow carb, so I may look into that and play around with that to see how that works for me. A bonus of this is to really do this, it means I need to be better about bringing my lunch to the office every day, which has a nice side effect of saving money as well.

Closing thoughts

I think that is all I have right now. Hopefully I can make moves in all these directions or have a bunch of growth in other areas that I haven’t anticipated. Remember the goal is just to make sure that you are growing as a person, not necessarily checking off some box. It is more developing habits to make sure you are giving it your all.

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