2021 - A year in review

Published on Dec 31, 2021

8 min read

YEAR-REVIEW

As we transition to 2022 and leave 2021 behind, it's a great time to reflect on the year passing by. It is my second year writing a "year review". It's fun for me to look back over what I did and what I focused on last year. I want to continue the tradition this year as well.

I started this year in a burnout phase. I didn't feel like doing things that generally excite me. It took me a while to realize that I was in the phase. If you don't realize it, you won't know what hit you. Getting burned out from last year was not over. It takes time to accept it and get out of it. That's okay, and I'm glad I took my time.

That said, I focused on the areas I could or had the energy to do so. And I'm happy with the choices I've made so far.

Working as a Developer Advocate 🥑

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I got my first role in DevRel early this year from a career perspective. I started working as a Developer Advocate at Draftbit. It was not something I was actively looking for, but I couldn't say no to it when the opportunity arrived. It was a significant change for me, the kind of change I needed without knowing.

Working as a Developer Advocate allowed me to learn a lot about different things, majorly about documentation and working in a fast-paced environment. Working closely with a team with a lot of experience and learning about moving pieces of a business is a precious addition to any technical career.

Most of my work time was spent on writing content and leading documentation. Picking up pieces and trying to recognize the gaps were challenging. That's still a work in progress. For me, technical writing and blogging have been an integral part of my career. This year was better because I used my skills and experience and acquired more knowledge.

I wrote 43 articles ✍️

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Writing tech articles or tutorials is a gateway for me to engage with the tech community and keep me indulging in upcoming updates, starting conversations with people, and meeting new folks. I enjoy the process of writing and everything that comes with it. I still get to learn and share many long-form tutorials, but I also tried publishing a few short notes on this blog. Something that I haven't done in a long time and turns out people like to read them too.

Here are some of the most popular posts I wrote this year:

  • Setup Macbook M1 for Web and React Native development: one of the most read blog posts. I'm glad I wrote it. The process of setting up a new laptop thrice a year can be daunting (the laptop that I bought at the start of this year went dead for no apparent reason, and then I had to buy a replacement for it while it went for repair, fun times 😬). I'm also actively updating this post and will continue to do so for a while.

  • How to Create a Custom Image Gallery in React Native In this tutorial, I talk about how to create a custom gallery of images using react-native-snap-carousel and FlatList component from React Native. The FlatList is used to display the thumbnail view for each image below the carousel. The construction of the syncing part between the two is to add functionality such that when an image in the carousel is scrolled either left or right, the thumb in the FlatList is also going to be scrolled along with it. To achieve this synchronization between the two, I used React Hooks.

  • How to use shared element transitions in React Native I learned a bit about using Shared Elements in React Native and React Navigation. Transitions in mobile applications provide design continuity. This continuity is provided by connecting common elements from one view to the next while navigating in the app. I wrote about the process of doing that in this post.

  • How to Create a Custom Tab Bar in React Native Another post that I was excited to work on. Creating a custom tab bar using Bottom Tab Navigator from React Navigation and Blur View.

My personal blog is one of the most consistent things in my life. I didn't run experiments on it, move to a new framework, or try a complete overhaul. It is still flawed. I have an ongoing list of things that I'd like to implement as I find myself writing more active over the years. I also love that people like to visit it and read the content I share here.

Overall, I got a pretty consistent readership this year with over 90k+ views:

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It is also interesting to see that what’s driving most of the traffic is old articles:

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And, also that visitors are coming mostly through organic search:

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I still cross-post stuff at times on Medium, Dev.to and Hashnode. Not as much as I would like to, but I am eager to explore Hashnode more next year.

Dev.to has been my focus on cross-posting this year. I did manage to get 70k+ views and 15k followers.

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I spoke at a few events 🗣

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Giving talks or speaking is not my strongest asset, and I used to find it quite challenging (at least in my head). Although, after going through some appearances, I did find it quite satisfying.

Thanks to React Day Bangalore for inviting me for a panel discussion on React Native. It's on YouTube. I also gave workshops due to my role of working as a Developer Advocate.

I also got invited to speak at a Twitter space. Thanks to my friend Ankur (@TheAnkurTyagi) for the invitation and hosting it. We talked about tech writing and its impact on being a Developer Advocate role and working with startups.

Highlights from my GitHub 🐙

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Last year, I started to maintain a single GitHub repo for all the demos and example apps I write using React Native and Expo. These example apps are part of the tutorials you see on this blog. I continued to do it this year as well.

Another thing I maintain is an Expo Community project that integrates Firebase JS SDK in an Expo app. Since the Expo SDK's exponential growth in the past year with the awesome tooling, Developer Experience (DX), and support for native modules, I have some thoughts on what changes I'll be doing next year. Keep an eye on this GitHub repo.

I also got my first GitHub sponsor this year 🤩

Newsletter saga continues 💌

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I failed to run my weekly newsletter. First, it became bi-weekly and then monthly. It's all due to my inconsistency in sending out and not managing my time with publishing posts. However, it did grow to 1319 subscribers from 1201 last year. I appreciate folks who stick around after me being inconsistent enough to deliver.

I did move it from Substack to Revue after Twitter acquired Revue. With Revue, I like the experience so far. I've been using it for three months and have sent three newsletters. Anyone using Twitter can now easily subscribe from my Twitter profile. Thanks to my buddy Scott Spence who showed me how easy it was to migrate to Revue. If you're on Twitter, then give Scott a follow. He's an amazing person, an experienced developer, and he creates awesome content in the Web Dev space.

Reading 📚

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I did manage to go through some good books this year. Here are some of my picks that I enjoyed reading:

Travelling

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During the end of the year, I managed to get out of New Delhi for the first time in two years for a weekend trip:

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Wrapping up

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Even though I have been inconsistent with my personal goals this year, failing to achieve many of them, yet, there is a lot of things when I look back at this year that I did and the choices I made, I am glad it happened.

Thank you for reading this post and reading any other post, opening and reading email newsletters, reading my tweets on Twitter, and listening to me 🙏

Have a great 2022!


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Aman Mittal author

Software Developer and Technical Writer since 2017. Loves learning and writing about Node.js, React, React Native & Expo. Previously, worked as Developer Advocate, independent consultant, and technical writer with companies like Draftbit, Vercel and Crowdbotics.


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