2010 for Phil Sturgeon: Year in Review

Another year has passed and this has been the best yet. Most years fly by without me having any real record of what I have achieved or where I need to improve to better myself, so this year I decided to set myself a list of goals to help shape my life. Find out how I did!

Another year has passed and this has been the best yet. Most years fly by without me having any real record of what I have achieved or where I need to improve to better myself, so this year I decided to set myself a list of goals to help shape my life. My list was split into for sections: Personal, Fitness, Programming and Business so I will follow that theme with this review.

Personal

This part was about bettering myself as a person. Gaining new experiences, seeing new things and opening my mind. I have read a great few books, namely Brave New World, Tiger Force, Dune (that was a bloody effort) and a few other less known books such as I Am Not A Serial Killer and The Outsider; both of which make you really question your mental state.

I crossed the pond for the first time and visited San Francisco which was an amazing experience. While I was there I went to EECI2010 and while I didn’t get to speak again it was a brilliant time and a bizarre interval amongst two weeks of drinking with hostel buddies. I headed up to Canada and spent some time with Lee Tengum and his family. Everything you have heard about Canadian hospitality is true, but their bacon is worthless.

Fitness

Total letdown. I started off the year training for the Bath Half Marathon which I was very proud to finish in 1:59 after suffering some knee problems 2 miles from the end. God knows what I did, probably not enough warm-up and cool-down while I was training but they are shot. This was only March so my plans to train for the Tough Guy, Grime Challenge or London to Paris Cycle were shot. I still get pain walking now!

The Kayaking has gone very well. I’ve gone from a wobbly regular swimmer to being a confident paddler who is not afraid of a challenge. I’ve learned to roll although I have yet to try it in anger, but I’m sure the opportunity will come up soon. I sadly did not achieve my 3* award this year but not through any fault of my own. I am on a course which starts in two weeks, so that’s not really a fail right?

Programming

Oh dear god the coding, THE CODING. IT HASN’T STOPPED!

This year was about coding new things and breaking out of my stagnant slump of 100% PHP and building CodeIgniter CMS by day and another CodeIgniter CMS by night.

I’ve made a few ExpressionEngine Add-ons; the very well accepted Rest and the basically un-noticed Widgets which hit a goal and made some cash. This seemed like a market and community I would be interested in getting into as it meant leaving the CMS dev to others while I just make some buckaroos, but with no real understanding of client needs or experience building sites with it I soon realized I was just doing it for the sake of it. On the plus side if a client needs me to build add-ons for EE then I can do it, but I won’t be trying to take on Pixel & Tonic or Leevi Graham any time soon.

As for learning new languages, I left this a little late. I got all over Ruby on Rails with some videos from Think Vitamin and a lot of pestering Elliott Kember and Red Davis for help. I have worked past the initial honey-moon period and wont go around telling everyone to use it all the time for everything as so many other converts do, but I will say that it’s fucking awesome. What started off as a simple learning exercise is blossoming into a full-blown web-app called Travlr which will really come into it’s own soon.

I have stolen sourced several ideas from Rails for a new framework started by Dan Horrigan that myself and others are working on called FUEL. It combines the best of Kohana, CodeIgniter, Rails and a few other bits and bobs, combined with a huge amount of our own ideas and community contributions. The BETA will hopefully be 01/01/2011, so it’s nearly ready for world domination.

But where does that leave CodeIgniter? Well I am still loving it “long-time” and now I have commit access to a new community branch: CodeIgniter Reactor which will be out soon too. The contributors (or Engineers) are a brilliant group who I have a great deal of respect for. Contributing to this project is a great feeling as finally I can directly contribute to the framework I use every day and help improve it for everyone.

Sadly my Objective-C goes as far as Hello World! and I haven’t even scratched the surface of Python but there are only so many hours in the day. I have a decent understanding of C and feel confident that I will be on top of iPhone App development in the New Year, with the first app being iTravlr.

Business

Now for all this open-source coding and writing, I still need to make some money. I was asked to write a CodeIgniter Cookbook but Packt bailed on me after I spent weeks writing up the outlines. To be honest: I am glad. You work your arse off for those guys and get 20% of not much.

On a more positive note I have managed to get the PyroCMS Add-on Store up and have teamed up with a brilliant designer Scott Parry of iKreativ. Working together we will be an unstoppable force of web-app creating ninja fiends. In all, business is looking good for 2011.

Most Popular Posts of 2010

Goals For 2011

  • Make PyroCMS a Ltd company with profit margins big enough to justify support time.
  • Double traffic over the next year. If I start to struggle I can just post photos of Derek Allard in a mankini.
  • Kayak in 3 countries (not in the UK).
  • Create a paid iPhone app with more than 100 downloads.
  • Successfully set up CICON2011 in UK, Amsterdam and US (and stay sober until afterwards)