2012 in Review

Dec 31 2012 Published by under General, JavaScript, Technology, Windows 8

Following a tradition several years in the running, I bring you my personal retrospective into 2012 and a glimpse into the new year.

In fact, 2012 followed much the same pattern as 2011 – some interesting stuff in the start of the year, a long period of just kind of being bored with everything, and then finding something to be excited about as the year drew to a close.

As 2011 ended, I was starting to get more seriously into JavaScript and web development. In early 2012 I posted a few opinionated opinions on object creation in JavaScript, which sparked some good conversation. I followed these up with a couple of articles on the same subject on the Adobe Developer Center.

In April I went to Beyond Tellerand – Play, a creative/development conference in Cologne, Germany. I revived one of my most popular talks, Playing With Chaos, for this conference, redoing all the examples in JavaScript. It went over amazingly well. The talk is always really well received. After that, I had the idea to turn the talk into a self published book and got a good start on it. But that kind of fizzled out after a couple of months. Perhaps I’ll revive it some time in the new year. You can actually watch the whole talk at the BT Play site, along with the other sessions.

It turned out that BT Play was the only speaking gig I did all year – the least amount of speaking I’ve done since I’ve started. I did have a couple of other opportunities to speak, but have not been super interested in doing so, to be honest. There are few if any “Flash conferences” around anymore, and even if there were, I’m not really doing any Flash these days. I don’t feel expert enough to try to get into the JavaScript conference speaking circuit. I probably could do more stuff like the chaos talk, which would go over well in any kind of creative type situation, but the impetus just wasn’t there for some reason. I guess another part of it is that the Flash conferences had a certain group of people you knew were going to show up. A large part of the pull to speak at these was the hooking up with friends from around the world and hanging out with them. I do miss that.

In June, my coworker and friend, Todd Anderson, and I went down to Austin for the TXJS conference, as attendees. It was very odd not knowing anyone else at the conference, and I’ll admit it, not having people coming up to me saying they read my books, blog, used my components, etc. It was also around this time that I started to get a bit bored with JavaScript. This statement needs a lot of clarification. I don’t have any problem with the language itself or what it can do. And at first, I was pretty excited about all the stuff happening in the community – so many new libraries and frameworks coming out all the time. But this latter part is what eventually got me bored with it. Too many frameworks, too many opinions. and everyone in your face telling you the RIGHT way to do things. I guess I was a bit guilty of this myself earlier in the year with my object creation posts. But I just kind of got tired of all the king-of-the-hill playing that’s going on in web development this last year or so. I got too caught up in the “how to” part and wasn’t really MAKING anything.

So you might have noticed that from June to August of this year I went pretty dark. Honestly I wasn’t even doing anything blogworthy. A bit of a technology sabbatical, covered well enough in this post. Also mentioned in that post is that Windows 8 programming is what pulled me back into activity. I now have two apps in the Windows 8 Store and am very close to having my next one ready for submission.

If it’s not obvious already, I LOVE Windows 8 programming. Everything I’ve done so far has been with HTML/JavaScript, which is the one thing that has most excited me over the last couple of years. But there’s very little of the community chaos that you get in web development. You are essentially developing for IE 10. So all the self-righteous, holier-than-thou web dev hipsters aren’t going to talk to you anyway. 🙂 I’m not a standards guru, but from what I know, IE 10 is pretty good. And even if it’s not 100% standards compliant, since you are only developing for the one platform for desktop Win8 apps, it’s kind of a standard itself.  There’s none of the cross-browser / cross-platform stuff to worry about. Basically, you can just ignore all the noise and MAKE stuff. And that’s what I’m doing. And loving it.

On the job front, I’m still at Infrared5 and that’s all going pretty well. Although nothing jumps out as being hugely exciting there for me in the last year, there were no huge problems either. I did one project in ActionScript / Flex / Desktop AIR, which was pretty unique in that it embeds a Red5 server in the app itself to do local recording of video. I have Paul Gregoire to thank for the Red5 help and in hacking together a stripped down version of the Red5 server that could be run on the low end hardware we were targeting. It was quite a technical challenge and worked out pretty well. Most of the rest of the year I’ve been doing iOS stuff for a client of the company that keeps hiring me back. Earlier in the year I helped build out a custom iOS library for the client, and in the latter half, I’ve been helping to build an app based on that library – truly eating my own dog food! It’s an interesting situation to be working with the black box of a closed library that you helped build but no longer have access to the source of. A bit frustrating at times, but quite an eye opener as well.

So what’s in store for 2013? More of the same. Specifically, my plan for the moment is to participate in this: http://onegameamonth.com/ The One Game A Month… er… project? It’s not a game jam, it’s not a contest, it’s just a couple thousand people who say they are going to try to make a game each month for 2013. Fantastic idea. I’ve spent way too long on the game I’m currently working on. That’s a common problem with any personal programming project. There’s no deadline, so you fiddle with it forever, trying to make it perfect, eventually get bored with it and start something else. This boxes out your time. One month. Get it done. Ship it. The game I’m working on now will wind up being my January game, and I have a great concept for February. I’m excited about this.

I also really do plan to do more blogging. I’m going to try to put something up 2-3 times a week. Probably a lot of it will be about the game I’m working on at that particular time. Any tricks or tips, problems or insight.

Also, as many of you know from my tweets, G+ posts, other comments, and occasional mentions on this blog, I’ve been heavily into running in the last few years. This past year I ran my first two marathons and am now in training for my first ultramarathon, a 50K (31 mile) trail race in April. I don’t like to put too much of that info on this blog, but if you are interested to hear more about that, here’s another year in review post from that viewpoint, on my personal blog.

2 responses so far

  • eco_bach says:

    Keith, seems like you’re in good company with Jesse Freeman. In terms of just creating things, why not just do stuff ‘off the web’. Have you ever dived into OpenFrameworks or Cinder? Best wishes for the New year!

  • keith says:

    Yes, Jesse and I talk nearly every day. I’ve played a bit with oF and Cinder, but having fun with the Windows 8 stuff now.