Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.

– Hal Borland

Another year is almost behind us and I guess it’s time for all of us to take some time to look back on it. For me 2018 was a pretty mixed year both professionally and personally. On one hand I finally managed to re-ignite my desire to work on OSS projects and I’ve managed to get a lot done on so many projects, but on the other hand I ran into some health issues, combined with burnout, and I’ve started pondering a lot about the meaning of everything that I’m doing (and the meaning of life in general). Yeah, yeah - I’m one deep and profound individual. I know.

I guess most of my dear readers care only about the things I’ve done on the OSS front, so I’ll focus on them first. Without a doubt the thing that consumed most of my spare time and my energy this year was Clojure tooling (CIDER, nREPL and all the related projects. I’m also quite happy that I managed to find some time for RuboCop and Projectile and both projects made some significant strides throughout the year. And, of course, I finally resurrected my blogging efforts in the form of Meta Redux.

I won’t really repeat everything major I’ve done throughout the year here. I’ll just mention the things I’m proudest of:

  • The big cleanup of the internals of CIDER 0.18
  • Saving nREPL from Clojure Contrib and reviving its development
  • Coming up with a solid plan for RuboCop 1.0 and growing the team around the project
  • Releasing for the first time a 1.0 version a major project of mine (Projectile) and the subsequent improvements for the upcoming Projectile 2.0

I’ve also realized this year that I’m at a point where I can’t adequately work on all the projects I’ve started and pursue all the ideas I have. This meant that I had to decide what matters the most to me and focus my energies there. It also meant some of my projects were not well supported anymore, but I can live with this. I don’t know what my focus for the next year is going to be. Time will tell.

By the way, I’m more and more convinced that good documentation is crucial for the success of every project, so I’ve invested a lot of time in documentation efforts like nrepl.org, cider.mx and projectile.mx. I understand that the results are still not great, but given all the constraints I had to deal with, I’m quite satisfied with them. One of the big revelations for me this year was how awesome AsciiDoc is! Going forward I hope to use it more in my documentation endeavours. I’ve also become quite fond of the Antora documentation publishing system and I can heartily recommend to everyone looking for something like this.

To wrap up the OSS subject - 2018 was the first year in which I managed to make some money from my OSS work. RuboCop and CIDER received more or less the same funding throughout the year (mostly donations, plus a grant from Clojurists Together for some work on CIDER). I’m extremely thankful to every company and individual who contributed funds and I want you to know that I really appreciate this! Unfortunately the donations were still a drop in the pond in the grand scheme of things, but I hope the situation will improve down the road. As many people discussed with me ideas for funding projects like RuboCop, CIDER and nREPL I’ve been ruminating a lot on the subject and I’ll likely write another blog post about this.

This year I’ve attended fewer conferences than before and I gave only a handful of talks. Without a doubt the best conference I’ve visited this year was ClojuTRE and I can highly recommend it to everyone who’s into Clojure. I also had a lot of fun meeting the awesome members of the Ruby development community at RubyKaigi and reconnecting with many old friends at Clojure/conj and Clojure X. I’m a bit disappointed with my lack of inspiration for talks this year, but it is what it is - hopefully next year would be better in this regard. I’ve got a lot of ideas, but I’m finding it hard to channel my thoughts into something worth sharing with a bigger crowd.

In the area of learning and self-improvement I didn’t do much this year. My grand plans to master Erlang and Haskell went nowhere (as usual), as did my plans to spend more time developing my software architecture skills. On the bright side, I did spend a lot of time honing my managerial and leadership skills and I think I’ve never been a better manager (which is not the same as being certain I’m a good manager). There’s always this struggle in me between my love for programming itself and my love for working with many people, leading teams, projects, etc. Finding the balance is pretty challenging and pushing yourself hard in both directions can be extremely stressful and exhausting. Probably at some point in the future I’ll have to focus just on one or the other, but I hope this moment is at least a couple of years into the future.

I didn’t do much with my hobbies this year - zero progress playing the guitar or learning Spanish. That was a bit disappointing, but not unexpected given my workload and traveling schedule. On the bright side - I did have many wonderful trips and I’ve visited a few new (for me) countries, namely Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Norway, Azerbaijan and Malta. All of them were spectacular and you can’t go wrong by choosing to visit any one of them. Fun things I learned on my trips - in Norway August is a rainy month and doesn’t feel much like summer and in Azerbaijan people consider 25 degrees Celsius in the September a cold weather for the beach. I also got to spend more time in my beloved Andalucia (a region in Southern Spain) this year and I’m now more convinced than ever that it’s one of the best places for living (at least for someone like me). If I ever decide to leave Bulgaria, Andalucia will be at the top of my list.

Sports-wise my year was a complete zero, but at least I learned to swim (somewhat) at the age of 33 (now 34). I’d like to do more of this and maybe ever learn to do it right. Same with favourite past-time - reading and watching TV shows and movies. I watched few series and movies this year and this left me feeling a bit empty. I read very few non-fiction books and this had exactly the same effect. I just got a new Kindle as a Christmas gift for myself and I certainly plan to change this. I already read more books this month than in the entire year combined.

What about the famous New Year resolutions? I don’t have anything particular on my mind, as of today. I’ll definitely try to do some of the following:

  • live a healthier (and less stressful life)
  • learn Erlang and Haskell properly (again)
  • find some time for the guitar and the Spanish
  • look into personal finance management (FOREX, stock markets, etc)
  • visit 5+ new countries
  • read 20-30 fiction books
  • read 5-10 non-fiction books (mostly on management and leadership)
  • become a better human being (that’s always the hardest thing to do, right?)

I guess that’s all from me for now. I sincerely hope that you had a much better year than me and you’ve got some really awesome plans lined up for 2019!

Live long and prosper!