Year in Review (2022)
It’s been two years since I wrote up an end-of-year post which I think speaks to the general busyness and disjointed nature of Covid times. I’ve been working constantly on various things but my public output has dropped off quite a bit so I’m taking steps to address that in the new year.
In no particular order here are the major sections of what took up my time and thoughts professionally this past year.
1. Django Books
I’m still updating my three books on Django which manages to keep me quite busy. It was a sprint to do the 4.0 updates in the spring and I thought 4.1 would be straightforward until Heroku decided to delete their free tiers. Which meant I had to shop around and try out a bunch of new hosting options. I’ve settled on Fly since other Django people have spoken highly of it and I’ve liked my interactions with both the team and the product.
It seems like January now is when my 4.1 updates will come out given these changes, then 4.2 in April 2023 and 5.0 in December. That’s a lot and each time I think I can just bump version numbers, go through all the code again, and be done with it. But stuff keeps coming up.
People still buy the books, which is good, and I enjoy the work but I need to find a way to have the updates and general learning about Django on my end not be so all-consuming with my time.
2. Fly.io Django Docs
One byproduct of moving away from Heroku is that I picked up a consulting project to write the Django Docs for Fly.io. This was a fun bit of work and interesting to switch from my normal tutorial style where I hold the readers hand every step of the way and switch over to docs which are more terse. I might do more with Fly in an official capacity in 2023. We shall see.
3. Django Software Foundation Board
After 3 years on the Board as Treasurer I’ve stepped away for the next term. I’m proud of the work I did to standardize the accounting and finances of Django. Launch, maintain, and update the now annual Django Survey which has had a direct impact on the technical direction of Django. Integrate GitHub sponsors. Set up the Django Merchandise store. Manage relationships with JetBrains, large corporate donors, and the Python Software Foundation among other organizations.
But it was a lot of time on my end and I think some turnover is healthy and good for the Board and Django in general. I might run again in the future but I’m looking forward to a little more time in 2023 to focus on new projects.
Sigh. I have updated most of the tutorials to Django 4.1 but overall the site has been neglected. It needs a new design. To include my three books rather than hosting them on separate domains. SEO love. Payments. And more. I’ve been saying I need to do this for years now and haven’t. 2023 is the year I will.
5. Django Chat Podcast
Carlton and I continue to produce new episodes. It’s something we both enjoy and is a way to stay engaged with the community. Our current bi-monthly pace and occasional breaks feels sustainable. Overall listeners continue to grow up and to the right. No sponsors or money coming in but Carlton and I both have future products in mind to shill to help cover the costs.
6. Django News Newsletter
Jeff and I continue to publish this weekly. It’s fun and not overwhelming at all. I keep thinking we’ll run out of new projects or articles to include but so far that hasn’t been the case. Just passed 3,000 subscribers which is a nice milestone. Just like the podcast slowly going up and to the right.
We will be experimenting a little more with advertising and job postings in 2023. So far we’re able to cover our costs and make a little extra $ with the sponsorships we have. Still doesn’t come close to covering our time but is still nice.
This site… as with much of my other public-facing stuff feels quite neglected. Could do with a new design. More actual content. I find my own opinions are less and less interesting to me the more I actually know about stuff. Will need to overcome that a bit. The plan is to have this site just be personal musings and everything that’s not a Django tutorial.
8. DjangoCon US 2022
I gave a 45-minute talk in October called The Django Jigsaw Puzzle: Aligning all the Pieces. It’s basically everything I know about Django after a decade working with it. As ever, these talks take a tremendous amount of time to do. I think I might take a break next year from giving talks though I am hopeful to attend both DjangoCon US and Europe in person. It was really energizing to see everyone after a three year absence and a definite highlight of the year.
9. Open Source
- awesome-django now has 6.4k stars. Having Jeff Triplett as a co-maintainer makes it possible.
- DjangoX has almost 1.5k stars and is my starter project with built-in authentication, static files, Docker, and all the rest. I have thoughts of making a premium version that is fully kitted out, perhaps in partnership with Jeff. We shall see though. I have no false allusions about how much work it is to do a proper job with premium Django starter projects and I’m not sure it’s the best use of my time in the near term.
- DRFx is my Django REST Framework starter project which was updated and still chugs along with almost 400 stars. Maybe I should roll it into DjangoX? I dunno. Something to think about.
10. 2023 Goals
I’ve been saying for years that I want to do a Python book and have even written a lot of it. I just haven’t had the time to sustain focus while maintaining all the other spinning plates in my personal and professional life. One thing I appreciate as I’ve aged is that life really does become more complicated unless you take active steps to remove things. I can’t remove my kids and given their ages at the moment–10, 6, 2–they are very time consuming so the reality is my professional time is just limited and I have to make do with what I have.
I plan to have LearnDjango.com finally have my books on there. To make progress on the Python book. And keep the other things noted above going, mainly the newsletter and podcast.
I think in the next year or two I will have my Python book done as well as my three Django books to maintain and I’m not sure I have more content in me after that. Ideally I could find a way to keep all of those going and yet have an opening for either part-time or full-time work on something else. We shall see.
Wishing health and happiness to everyone reading in 2023!