Adam’s 2015 in review

I’ve come to really enjoy writing these end-of-year review posts. I find it’s not until I’m looking back that I realise just how huge a year it’s been, and how much we’ve achieved – and 2015 was no exception! This year SSW doubled our YouTube presence, we’ve kept working and upgrading to the best and greatest tools and tech, presented at some awesome conferences, played with some awesome gadgets, won the MAPA award from Microsoft, published several ebooks, we even opened a new SSW office… and I’m sure I’m forgetting some things!

SSW TV overview

SSW TV is the SSW YouTube channel where we publish videos of presentations, interviews, tutorials, webinars, product reviews, and more – all made by developers, for developers. When I wrote my 2014 review at about this time last year, SSW TV had more than half a million views, more than 4,000 subscribers and more than 3 million minutes watched.

This year, we’ve all but doubled those stats:

  • We’re almost at *one million* views
  • We’re just shy of 8,000 subscribers
  • 2 million minutes watched – that’s more than 11.5 years!
Figure: Almost 1 million views

Figure: Almost 1 million views

 

27k-views

Figure: “Going Hardcore with Business Intelligence with PowerBI” was the most popular video that I made in 2015 – it was released at the end of September and already has 27,000 views!

 

controversial-video-tesla-review

Figure: My most controversial video was the Tesla review – I guess not everyone agrees with my tips for Tesla 😉


The latest versions of everything

It’s been a great year for new releases, and we’ve been collecting them all. Our business runs on the latest CRM 2015, SSWTimePro.com, and MYOB (and Dynamics AX in China). The devs are mostly doing Angular on VS 2015 and Win10. We manage our work with TFS 2015 and visualstudio.com, and we’re using all the latest web tech before it even goes to release. We’ve done two enterprise projects on ASP.NET 5 while it has been in beta and have a couple of projects on Angular 2 while it is still in Alpha (and one of those is a SharePoint solution!) There has been a bit of pain, but it’s been great getting a handle on all the new toys so we can help our clients get up to speed fast!

On the Microsoft side of things, Satya has done some great work and continues to open source more stuff – now our friends on Linux and Mac can use .NET core and ASP.NET 5 as well, and everyone can make the most of Visual Studio with Visual Studio Code, the new open source code editor that runs on all operating systems.

Presentations and conferences

Presentations are something I really enjoy, so it’s lucky I get to do a lot of them! 🙂

This year I presented at the following:

  • NDC (Norwegian Developers Conference) in Oslo
  • //build/
  • The New Zealand Digital Workplace Conference
  • Ignite New Zealand (formerly known as TechEd)
  • Ignite Australia
  • Newcastle Coders Group (ncg.asn.au) – I spoke with Andrew Coates at their 10 year anniversary, and was informed by Peter Drew that I have done the most presentations for their group over the last 10 years
  • Sydney .NET User Group (https://www.ssw.com.au/ssw/NETUG/Sydney.aspx)
  • Canberra .NET User Group (https://www.ssw.com.au/ssw/NETUG/Canberra.aspx)
  • Of course, there was lots of private events – a highlight was a half-day presentation for all the developers of Commonwealth Bank
NDC-adam-cogan-is-number-1

Figure: My favourite presentation this year was the NDC, where I was briefly ranked as the #1 speaker before Troy Hunt stole the top spot.

I’ve already got a few presentations lined up for 2016 – one I’m really looking forward to is presenting at the SharePoint conference happening in Melbourne in April.

New tech:

There’s been some excellent new tools and technologies come out in the past few months. Looks like for 2016, Angular 2 and DevOps is the name of the game, along with PowerBI and Application Insights.

Favourite toy of the year #1 – the Tesla

I’ve had fun this year playing with cool gadgets, crashing drones and sleeping with the latest Microsoft Band 2, but my favourite toy this year was the Tesla Model S. I’ve had a lot of fun with it: I’ve blogged about it, made a video review about it, and recommended it so heartily to all my friends they’ve started calling me a Tesla Evangelist.

Figure: I didn’t let my wife in on the secret before I pulled this April Fool’s prank … She almost had a heart attack thinking I’d crashed my brand new, uninsured Tesla! Needless to say, I found it funnier than she did

Figure: I didn’t let my wife in on the secret before I pulled this April Fool’s prank … She almost had a heart attack thinking I’d crashed my brand new, uninsured Tesla! Needless to say, I found it funnier than she did

Favourite toy of the year #2 – The Microsoft Band 2

Speaking of the Microsoft Band, you know from my review of the new Microsoft Band 2 that I really love it.

Favourite toy of the year #3 – Emojis

2015 is the year I started using emojis. I think it has been a good change.

My wife and I have even come up with emoji ‘codes’ – for example, sometimes she’ll send me a Greek flag with a red face. I know that means that something bad has happened today and I should ‘beware, cranky Greek’ (my wife is Greek 😉 ).

Figure: So I’ve finally embraced emojis. They do make messages friendlier, but I’m not quite as keen on them as my daughter

Figure: So I’ve finally embraced emojis. They do make messages friendlier, but I’m not quite as keen on them as my daughter

Chinafication

A service I’m really excited about for 2016 is Chinafication, which is a new service SSW is offering that’s been on my to-do list for years. “Chinafying” is a big process – translating the language of an app from English to Chinese is one part of it, and social media is another. We modify the application to ensure all the tools and software work with the local Chinese environment – and that means we’ve got to get around “the great firewall of China”.

A nice example you can view is SSW Link Auditor which was Chinafied by our SSW Beijing team. Web applications like SSW Link Auditor use CDNs to improve load times. Unfortunately, many common CDNs are blocked in China, which results in critical pieces of an app’s infrastructure being unable to load. The Link Auditor team have been using a combination of China-accessible CDNs and local resource fallback to ensure that Chinese customers get the best performance and reliability from the app.

So far, the results are awesome, and I’m looking forward to being able to bring other Western apps to China in 2016.

MAPA

One of the sweetest moments of 2015 was winning the Microsoft Australia Partner Award (MAPA) for Excellence in Learning for SSW’s 9-week intensive .NET training course, FireBootCamp. I was so thrilled about this I wrote a blog post on our Microsoft award.

My publications

In August of 2015, SSW entered the exciting world of ebooks with the “The Visual Studio 2015 Checklist – 5 ways to take the pain out of coding”, and just a few months later, we released our second publication, “AngularJS – 5 Lessons from the Trenches”.

We decided to release ebooks as useful resources that can do something that a video can’t. Sometimes before choosing a technology, you want to read the headlines so you can grok the benefits. Both of these ebooks are chock full of useful information and beautiful images, and I couldn’t be prouder.

the-visual-studio-2015-checklist

Figure: My first ebook covers 5 great ways to get the most out of the newest version of Visual Studio

angularjs-5-lessons-from-the-trenches

Figure: Our second ebook shares our hard-learned knowledge about AngularJS – and it has some great tips for getting ready for Angular 2.0

The new Melbourne office

SSW opened its newest office on December 21 in funky Hardware Lane in the Melbourne CBD.

The small Melbourne team is headed up by David Burela, Joanna Feely, and Ivan Tyapkin. I am excited about growing the business in Victoria, and I can’t wait to see how we do.

SSW melhourne

Figure: The SSW Melbourne team are in Hardware Lane in the CBD. It’s hard not to smile when you’ve got Melbourne’s excellent coffee.

Sydney: The reno hell, volume II

It’s been a year since I last mentioned the renos. A year is a long time, and I’d hoped we’d have SSW Sydney all done by now, but we’re not there yet. We got bogged down with nefarious water leaks and windows and acoustic issues. That said, there has been a big improvement to the office already: we’ve said goodbye to suite 13 and got the devs sitting in our shiny new suite 15. Settlement usually takes 6 weeks, but because Anastasia and Cameron Shaw are so organised, we got it done in 1 week. I’ve never heard of that before. That was great. Fingers crossed that 2016 is the year we get the renovation done.

Top tweet of 2015:

top-tweet-2015

Figure: Apparently I wasn’t the only one excited about SSW TimePro in the Visual Studio Marketplace (Tweet – watch the video)

On a personal note…

I think my daughter Ruby’s interview with Noel Gordon, inventor of Google Maps, was fascinating – and I got to meet him too!