Recap 2023

• 4 min read

Another year has come to an end. As has become customary in my blogosphere-bubble, I'd like to reflect on the events of 2023 from my perspective.

Personal #

Like last year, I won't tell you about the nightmare-dreams I had or what food I ate. That's dull.

Ignoring my "wake-up call into reality", 2023 has been a great year.

I spent many days and evenings with friends or forged new friendships. Some of these new friendships formed on loose connections I had for years, but which started to flourish this year.

Visiting the Laravel Switzerland Meetups in different cities was a highlight as well. It's a booster shot of energy seeing more folks interested in Laravel and web development in general. Also, gave my second talk in June about GitHub Actions. If you're curious, check out the recording.

My social media habits took a turn. After third-party Twitter clients vanished, my Twitter usage fell of a cliff. I peek at my feed every other day, but I'm more of a silent observer now. Mastodon and books are my new go-tos.

Mastodon feels like a cozy corner of the internet. Following PHP and frontend developers and some generally cool folks there makes the feed more interesting than Twitter, for me at least. Posts and feedback feels more genuine.

Maybe because I don't follow new folks on Twitter, my feed feels more and more like an echo chamber. The same thoughts just reverberating in a small space.

Last year, I picked up a new habit – walking 5000 steps daily. Kept it going and bumped it up to 7000-8000 steps. Still a challenge, but it's a sweet spot.

Every night, an hour before going to bed, I take a 5-15 minute stroll. Sometimes I listen to a podcast or an audiobook; other times, I listen to the bustling sounds of my neighborhood.

Work #

Celebrated my 10-year anniversary at 2media this year.
The year was filled with lots of changes. Collaborating more closely with our parent and sister companies led to new projects and increased meetings.

This reinforced my preference for small teams, where each member takes initiative, blurring traditional role boundaries. In other words, I thrive when working with individuals who think collectively as a team, rather than in silos.

Freelancing dreams took a back seat this year. Still would like to help teams or companies with my automation or Laravel knowledge in the future. But that topic is not on the front burner right now.

Another milestone this year was that screeenly reached +$100 monthly recurring revenue. 🎉

All in all, I'm excited about what 2024 has in store for me and how my work situation will look like at the end of the next year.

Open Source #

2023 was a year without many new projects. In my eyes, a good thing.

One new package born this year is laravel-backup-restore. Helps you restore a database backup hassle-free.

A significant portion of my open-source time this year involved adding support for Node 18 to sidecar-browsershot. Not a massive pull request, but getting all the gears turning took a good 20 hours.
Out of this work came a new AWS Lambda layer: sidecar-browsershot-layer. (Need to set up automation in this project, to keep Chromium up to date. Future-me will find a good solution here.)

A lot of time was spent on maintenance work as well: keeping packages up to date and, more time-consuming, answering issues and discussions.

In 2024, I need to find more hands for these bigger projects. It's not that I get hundreds of new issues every week, but each issue is for a complex problem in an environment which I can't control (eg. GitHub Actions). (If you, dear reader, are interested in helping out here, please let me know!)

Beside the mentioned maintenance work, I started working on a new side project. It has the working title "Untitled Read It Later App" and is my personal spin on apps like Instapaper, Readwise, Pocket, or Matter. I want to invite interested friends to an early alpha in the first half of 2024.
Will share more about the progress on Mastodon and on Twitter.

Epilogue #

Looking at the state of the world, 2023 wasn't a great year either. Tensions, conflicts, inflation, climate catastrophe.

I'm grateful for health and a still intact body. Now wrapping up the year with reading, binging Lord of the Rings, and cooking and baking.

See you next year.