It's always good to have goals

Review and Preview, Streamhead 2012 Goals

2011 has been a transformative year for Streamhead. Due to some major work and planning behind the scenes, I haven’t been able to post as much as I would have liked. But all this hard work is about to pay off and you, my dear reader, will enjoy the fruits of it. In 2012, I plan to double down on in-depth articles, tutorials and case studies. All practical hands-on information. Read on for a review of 2011 and my goals for 2012.

Before I start making plans, it’s good to look back at the goals I had a year ago. In 2011, I finally managed to focus on just a few projects and not be so random, which is why I don’t score too good on the goals I set for myself:

  1. HTML5, CSS3, etc.: I wanted to learn new enabling technologies for the web. And, in a way, I did, but not like I imagined. I learned PHP and got into the WordPress plugin business (a post on that is forthcoming). I also used Node.js to launch my latest personal project and I’m glad I did.
  2. Mobile: Sadly, I wasn’t able to create anything worth showing on the mobile front. Apart from some very small experiments, I got nowhere.
  3. Online Marketing: For the last few months I’ve had an Adwords campaign running. It’s been slow learning, but I am getting better at finding keywords and convincing Google my ads are relevant. And I managed to get a site to position 7 in Google for my target keywords in about a month. Nothing major, but I’m pretty happy with this evolution. I haven’t written about any of this, because I feel I got very little to add to the discussion at the moment. That might change, though.
  4. Game Modding: A big zero on this one. I launched two small experiments early in the year. There was little interest and I wasn’t convinced myself, so I didn’t promote anything. I did manage to pull of a half-assed ticket to ride clone, which convinced me I shouldn’t invest further in ActionScript. Adobe killing of Flash has only strengthened that opinion.

What you haven’t seen is my search for a sustainable business model for Streamhead and my other projects. Making money with a blog is, for all intents and purposes, impossible. Unless you want to churn out a few long-form articles a day, like Tuts+ (A great resource BTW), you can’t live of of advertising or ebook sales. Furthermore, I realized a full-time writing gig is not my thing. I want to be in the trenches, developing, not writing about developing.

Plans for 2012

Most developers tend to stay away from sites like elance. I did discover that there is good work out there, with good clients that want to pay for quality. And the further my reputation improves, the easier it is to find that work. It’s very easy to phase in and out small projects as time permits.

There is a lot of work out there in the widest possible range of technologies, but it is most profitable to stay focused on just a few. Which is a major pain point for me, so in 2012 I intend to focus on a few core technologies.

Currently, I’m trying to limit my programming languages to Java, JavaScript and PHP. I might try out something related (Groovy, Clojure, Coffeescript), but I’m going to try to not stray too far from the path.

Java

Although there are now other cheap options, I still like the AppEngine platform for Java web application deployment. Libraries, such as Vaadin, are what keep the platform young. However, I do feel that there’s going to be a turning point soon when one of the other JVM languages really goes mainstream. It’s probably not going to be Clojure, maybe Scala?

I also still have that Android in Action book I want to go through.

PHP

PHP is a great source of small project work. It’s an interesting language I will continue to use. However, I am going to narrow it down to WordPress development and possibly a few other applications.

JavaScript

Like it or not, JavaScript is the language of the future. It’s everywhere and there’s no reason why it would go away. And now it has also invaded the server side. I was pleasantly surprised with Node.JS. It’s a very robust programming module that is going to stay in my tool-belt. On the client side, I do hope to get some game programming in and maybe some cross-platform mobile programming.

Non-technical

Of course, 2012 isn’t going to be just programming. I will continue with my Internet marketing efforts and if I feel it’s worth sharing, you’ll be the first to know.

Conclusion

I value input. Do you have a great topic you want me to write about? A question you can’t find the answer to? Get in touch with me and I’ll make it happen in 2012.

(photo credit)