2018 was mostly a consulting year for me. I also did travel within Europe and discovered countries such as Croatia and Armenia. It was my first year as a conference organizer as I helped to set up two conferences in Helsinki, Finland. Both were well received, and there's more to come. It may evolve into a business direction of its own.
My main clients in 2018 were eBay (Berlin) and Kleiner Perkins. The former case was a continuation to training performed in 2017, and I spent an entire month in Berlin with the client. The Kleiner Perkins case was more involved than the eBay one, and I dedicated most of the year for it.
The starting point for the case was Reactabular, a table framework for React I had developed earlier. Given I was too busy with the eBay case when this one popped up, I handed it to Andrey Okonetchikov, a good developer friend of mine in Vienna. Once I came back from Berlin, we spent the remainder of the year on the client project, and we work nicely together by now.
The cases were technically demanding, and I learned a lot in the process. I see now why TypeScript is becoming the mainstream option for larger scale projects. I also appreciate the component driven development approach more. Even though building a style guide requires effort, it can have severe payoffs as you don't end up re-invent the wheel again and again.
Outside of this work, I did GraphQL related development for my conferences to make them easier to run. I saw the light with css-in-js finally. Especially the next generation of the libraries, including solutions like linaria and astroturf, seems promising as it avoids the runtime cost generally accepted with css-in-js.
I didn't have as much time to focus on publishing as on earlier years. The blog grew by thirty posts, most of which were interviews. I'll continue on the interviews as I feel it's an excellent way to highlight ideas that might otherwise go unnoticed.
The webpack book received updates for webpack 4 and the maintenance book improved. There's still plenty of improvements to be made.
I visited several conferences during the year and even spoke in a few. The highlights for me include AgentConf, WebExpo, WebCamp Zagreb, Concat, ScriptConf, and Halfstack London. I also visited JIMDO at Hamburg, spent some webpack time in Munich, checked out YGLF in Kiev, saw ReactiveConf in Prague, went to JSCamp in Barcelona, and finally spoke in JSConf Armenia. I was one of the hosts for React Finland 2018 and also helped a lot with GraphQL Finland 2018.
That's enough for one year, and I hope to travel less in 2019.
React Finland was the first trial of fire for the people organizing it. The event was a great success and now we are looking forward to the next edition held at the same dates in 2019. We've begun early bird sales and refined the format further. It's still three days and single track but this time around we took the idea of themed sessions and went all-in with it.
Encouraged by the success of React Finland, we decided to organize a GraphQL themed one in the form of GraphQL Finland. The target of the conference was to have a vendor-neutral, international conference and I feel we reached this goal. We took some of the learnings for the first conference and then proceeded with the second one. Again, it looks like there's going to be a second edition in store.
Organizing both events gave me insight on the other side and increased my appreciation for people running events. It's a great exercise in logistics, and it takes a lot of effort to pull off an event. During this process, I've developed tooling to support these ventures, and I expect I'll do further related work this year.
Business-wise I'm in a good position for 2019. The new event direction is promising, and plenty of work awaits even if client work doesn't become available. At least for the time being, I'll try to avoid cases with full-time commitment as it makes it tricky to find the energy and time required by writing.
That said, I'll remain open to consulting and coaching style work where I can help an organization to reach their technical goals or to improve the way they work. As in 2018, I am open to collaboration, and if there's something that goes beyond me, I will tap into my network to find the best fit for the case.
I hope to get new book versions out and even reach new editions on some. Before starting something new, I would prefer to have three solid books out there. Likely this will lead to some form of branching again where one book becomes two when it's too big to maintain.
Even though 2018 didn't turn out as I expected, I feel it was a good year still. I am particularly happy that the conferences I helped to organize turned out well. I also gained plenty of expertise which will come handy in 2019. I have a stronger understanding of the stack, and I can see where the world of web development is heading. We are living in exciting times.