Raivo Laanemets. Full-stack developer.

Now, 2017-01, summary of 2016 and plans for 2017

On

This is an update on things related to this blog and my work.

Last month

Blogging

  • Added an UX improvement: external links have target="_blank" to make them open in a new tab. The justification can be found in this article. It is implemented using a small piece of script in the footer.
  • Updated the list of projects to include work done in 2016.
  • Updated the visual style for better readability. The article page puts more focus on the content and less on the related things.
  • Updated the CV.
  • Found and fixed some non-valid HTML markup on some pages.
  • Wrote announcements to the last of my Open Source projects: DOM-EEE and Dataline.

I also discovered that mail notifications were not working. The configuration was broken for some time and I had disabled alerts on the blog engine standard error stream. I have fixed the mail configuration and monitor the error log for mail sending errors.

Work

I built an Electron-based desktop app. I usually do not build desktop applications and consider them a huge pain to build and maintain. This was a small project taking 2 weeks and I also used it as a chance to evaluate the Vue.js framework. Vue.js works very well with Electron and was very easy to pick up thanks to the similarities with the KnockoutJS library. I plan to write about the both in separate articles.

The second part of my work included a DXF file exporter. DXF is a vector drawing format used by AutoCAD and industrial machines. My job was to convert and combine SVG paths from an online CAD editor into a single DXF file for a laser cutter.

During filing my annual report I was positively surprised that I need to file very little paperwork. It only required a balance sheet + a profit/loss statement + 3 small additional trivial reports. On the previous years I had to file a much more comprehensive report now required from mid-size (Estonian scale) companies with about 250 employees.

Infrastructure

I have made some changes to my setup:

  • Logging and monitoring was moved to an OVH VPS.
  • Everything else important is moved away from the home server. Some client systems are still waiting to be moved.

The changes were necessary as I might travel a bit in 2017 and it won't be possible to fix my own server at home when an hardware failure occurs. I admit it was one of the stupidest decisions to run my own server hardware.

Besides these changes:

  • infdot.com now redirects to rlaanemets.com. I am not maintaining a separate company homepage anymore. This gives me more free time for the important things.
  • Rolled out SSL to my every site/app where I enter passwords. All the new certs are from Lets Encrypt and are renewed automatically.
  • I am now monitoring my top priority web servers through UptimeRobot.
  • The blog frontend is monitored by Sentry.

Other things

The apartment buildings full-scale renovations were finally accepted by the other owners and the contract has been signed with the building company. The constructions start ASAP. I have been looking for possible places to rent a quiet office space as the construction noise likely makes work in the home office impossible.

Yearly summary and plans

2016 was incredibly busy and frustrating year for me. A project at the beginning of the year was left partially unpaid after it turned out to be financially unsuccessful for the client. The project did not have a solid contract and a legal action against the client would have been very difficult. This put me into a tight situation where I took more work than I could handle to compensate my financial situation. As the work accumulated:

  • I was not able to keep up with some projects. Deadlines slipped.
  • I was not able to accept better and more paying work due to the existing work.
  • Increasing workload caused health issues: arm pains, insomnia.

In the end of the year I had to drop some projects as there was no other ways to decrease the work load. Last 2 weeks were finally pretty OK.

In 2017 I want to avoid such situations. Financially I'm already in a much better position. I will be requiring a bit stricter contracts from my clients and select projects more carefully.

Considering technology, I do not see year 2017 bring many changes. My preferred development platforms are still JavaScript (browsers, Node.js, Electron, PhantomJS) and SWI-Prolog.


Comments

No comments have been added so far.

Email is not displayed anywhere.
URLs (max 3) starting with http:// or https:// can be used. Use @Name to mention someone.