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A Year in Review 2016


Year In Review 2016

Time for the annual year in review blog post! This year has just about everything in it, everything apart from peace and quiet. A huge diversity of work and skill-sets, from Salesforce to Sametime, from AngularJS to admin work on SAML, so much so that my tiny mind is bulging at the seams.

My Salesforce skills have come on leaps and bounds: it is an interesting platform, with a lot of opportunity for the clever hacking I enjoy so much. I must give Bluewave a huge thank you for letting me work with it (Salesforce is very partner-oriented, with little place for true freelancers) and most particularly Barry Hughes, the most patient guru who also lets me sit in on internal training sessions despite having finished my full-time work (with Bluewave’s permission I might add).1

For the first time ever, I have a proper office rather than simply relying on client sites or my home workspace: my rented office is at Purple Patch, and it has proved to be just perfect. I can get tons done, and it’s also somewhere to meet, and work, with clients.

LDC Via has had a busy year with booths at multiple conferences and loads of changes and new features based on client feedback and installations. We even launched a whole new offering: KEEP.WORKS.

What skills have I used this year?

Salesforce —> The full range of Salesforce app building, from standard declarative coding to involved, large chunks of Apex and Javascript programming. I also spent loads of time training people on Pardot, working with this very “defined” marketing framework to flex it in a way clients actually want it to function.

JavaScript —> The continuing growth of JavaScript as a primary language for projects showed up a lot this year, in everything from AngularJS to Salesforce Lightning.

Proper Programming —> Java is still my core “serious” language. I’m using it enough to keep things sharp, but it’s not a growth area.

Supplementary stuff —> full on iCal work2, search integration with Solr and Nintex for Sharepoint stuck out this year.

IBM —> Sametime, Domino, WebSphere, ISeries and the other staples of the IBM family continue to test my imagination with integration and upgrade work, ensuring everything stays up-to-date and relevant.

Guesses for 2017

Two big items to guess about here:

Skills

JavaScript - this will continue to grow for me, driven by multiple things:

  1. LDC Via and its extensive use of node.js.
  2. Salesforce Lightning - the direction in which Salesforce are clearly steering.
  3. For Domino-based web work, a JavaScript framework talking to Domino services turns out to beat XPages hands down every time.
  4. Lots of clients want to “glue” existing systems to third-party APIs.

Salesforce - I’m less sure about this. The model favours a race to the bottom, which is already starting to show. The company is also incredibly partner-oriented which means it’s hard for smaller companies and individuals to find work. I will just have to keep the skills sharp and see what happens.

Work Load

Bugger knows, this year has been busy, but it’s been in fits and starts3, such is the joy of freelancing. I had a couple of quiet spots and a couple of periods of full-on mayhem. For 2017, I’m hoping to avoid the two things that make we want to scream: (1) the sudden cessation of all work, followed by a couple of stunned weeks looking around, and (2) the conversation with someone later on that year who says “I would have asked you, but you always seem so busy…”

OK, that is enough of the fluffy blog posts for a while. Next up: proper tech stuff!


  1. I was there as a contractor to help take deal with a sudden heavy load, they have now hired permanent staff, but still treat me as part of the team and I’m there if they hit another peak. 

  2. Including requests to Google and other web email vendors for native buttons and drag-and-drop meetings, etc., etc. 

  3. or even ‘Stits and Farts’ 

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