Loige

Luciano Mammino
Web developer, entrepreneur, fighter, butterfly maker!

2017 - A year in review

2017 is over and it's time to sit down and see what happened during this year. As I already did last year, I would love to write a (potentially boring) recap of all the good and bad things (mostly from a career perspective) that happened in my life during this year.

Last year I promised myself I would keep doing this as a way to keep track and benchmark my productivity over the coming years, so here I am to see how I performed!

The year of conference talks!

Let's start with a big win! This was the year of conference talks (and workshops too!). I had to travel a fair bit around Europe and I created a dedicated speaking page to keep track of all the events I have been involved with and the related available material (slides, videos, repositories).

Luciano Mammino at CodeEurope Wroclaw

Here's the full list of the talks and workshop I had the pleasure to deliver in 2017:

  • "AWS Lambda & Serverless framework" at Node.js Meetup, Dublin (January)
  • "Universal JS Web Applications with React" at Codemotion, Rome (March)
  • "Building a Serverless company with Node.js, React and the Serverless framework" at JSDay, Verona (May)
  • "Universal Javascript" at Frontend United, Athens (May)
  • "Serverless, the pros and cons of building a company without infrastructure" at Shift Conference, Split (June)
  • "Deep Dive on Serverless Application Development (with Planet 9 Energy)" with Danilo Poccia from AWS and Padraig O'Brien from Planet 9 Energy at AWS Summit, London (June)
  • "Serverless: getting started with AWS Lambda Functions" (workshop) with Padraig O'Brien at Dublin.js Meetup, Dublin (July)
  • "Serverless: the battle of the giants" (workshop) with Christos Matskas from Microsoft at FullStack 2017, London (July)
  • "Universal JS web applications with React" (workshop) at Web Summer Camp, Rovinj (September)
  • "Serverless from the trenches" with Padraig O'Brien at AWS User Group, Dublin (October)
  • "Getting started with Serverless and AWS Lambda Functions" (workshop) at Codemotion, Milan (November)
  • "Cracking JWT tokens: a tale of magic, Node.JS and parallel computing" at Codemotion, Milan (November)
  • "Cracking JWT tokens: a tale of magic, Node.JS and parallel computing" at Node.js meetup, Dublin (November)
  • "The future will be Serverless" at The Front Conf, Munich (December)
  • "Introducing Middy" (Lightning talk) at The Front Conf, Munich (December)
  • "Building a serverless company on AWS lambda and Serverless framework" with Padraig O'Brien at CodeEurope, Wroclaw (December)
  • "Cracking JWT tokens: a tale of magic, Node.JS and parallel computing" at CodeEurope, Wroclaw (December)

👍 Compared to 2016, I moved from 2 conferences talks to 17 (+750%), this is a pretty good WIN (and an awesome vanity metrics too 😇)!

I am really curious to see what 2018 will bring on this regard!

Career

In December I finished my contract with Planet 9 Energy and I am very excited to start a new adventure as Solution Architect with Vectra in Dublin. If you never heard about Vectra, this is what Vectra about page has to say about it:

Vectra offers the fastest way to detect and stop hidden cyberattackers – from cloud and data center workloads to user and IoT devices.

Vectra logo

The range of products offered by Vectra sounds extremely interesting and I am sure I will be exposed to super interesting topics like IT Security and Machine Learning, so I am absolutely thrilled to get started.

The year of side projects

2017, wasn't just the year of the conference talks, but also the year of side-projects!

I didn't write a new book, but I had the real pleasure to be involved in four on-going side projects: Fullstack bulletin, Serverless Lab, Middy and Fastify.

Fullstack bulletin

Fullstack bulletin website preview

Fullstack bulletin is a weekly newsletter Andrea Mangano and myself built to support ambitious fullstack developers to stay up to date with the latest trends and news. The idea is to collect 7 interesting links every week regarding topics such as Frontend/Backend web development, APIs, microservices, databases, scalability, but also web design, UI and UX. In every issue, aside from the links, you also get a famous tech-related quote and a suggested tech book.

The links are extracted automatically from the ones tweeted by Andrea and myself during the previous week, using a simple ranking algorithm.

The project is totally open sourced and built on top of serverless technologies (mostly AWS Lambda, Serverless framework and Cloudwatch).

Serverless lab

Serverless Lab website preview

Serverless Lab is a side-project started by Padraig "Podge" O'Brien and myself to help companies to get started quickly with serverless technologies on AWS.

The support is given with a day-long in-house training course that introduces all the components needed to build a wide range of applications using serverless on AWS. At the moment we defined an introductory course and an advanced one.

Some of our learning materials have been open sourced and you can check them out on the LucPod organisation on GitHub.

Yes, LucPod stands for LUCiano and PODge (Padraig's nickname)... I know, we have to figure out a better name 😂

Middy

Middy website preview

Middy is a Node.js middleware engine for AWS Lambda. It basically allows you to take care of tedious and repetitive tasks such as validation, input deserialization and output serialization by encapsulating this external logic into reusable and testable middlewares. With Middy, your lambda functions will look like this:

const middy = require('middy')  
const { middleware1, middleware2, middleware3 } = require('middy/middlewares')

const originalHandler = (event, context, callback) => {  
  /* your pure business logic */
}

const handler = middy(originalHandler)

handler  
  .use(middleware1())
  .use(middleware2())
  .use(middleware3())

module.exports = { handler }  

You can see from the example that the business logic is clearly defined in the originalHandler and that the handler function doesn't get polluted with additional code that is attached as a decorator with the use function.

Middy is still a pretty young and immature project, but, it's currently the only solution in this space (as far as I know), so it's getting a bit of attention. I had the idea of starting this project, but since then it has been a community effort and the current team is composed by some amazing people in the Open Source space:

Also, a special mention goes to Jose Santacruz for bringing Typescript support into Middy.

If you like this idea (and open source in general), remember to give it a star on GitHub.

I hope the project will grow in 2018 and get much more stable and complete.

Fastify

Fastify website preview

Fastify is a fast and low overhead web framework for Node.js. If you like Express, you are definitely gonna love Fastify.

Fastify was started by two amazing developers:
Tomas Della Vedova
and Matteo Collina in an attempt to create a performant and scalable, yet very friendly web framework for Node.js.

Now the team has grown up a lot and version 1.0 is very close to being released. You can surely expect big things from this framework in 2018.

For what concerns me, I have been involved mostly in taking care of the Fastify website and its Continuous Integration pipeline. I made sure that every time there's a new release, the documentation get's pulled from the main repository and the website is rebuilt, versioned and published. This way, contributors don't have to worry much about the website look and feel and they just have to maintain a bunch of handy markdown files to document all the aspects of the framework. This part is built by using a bunch of tailored Node.js scripts adopting git and the GitHub APIs, Metalsmith as a static website engine, Circle CI for the CI pipeline, GitHub Pages and Cloudflare for the web hosting.

Blog posts

I have to admit this year I wasn't a very prolific author (again 😓)... I guess all the stuff described above took almost all my free time. Anyway, I still managed to write some posts. Here are the most interesting ones (based on actual reading stats):

It's funny to see that most of the traffic is still driven by old (and probably outdated) articles from the previous years like Developing a web application with Lumen and MySql (~12.000 views) and Gulp and FTP: update a website "on the fly" (~5.700 views).

👎 The total number of page views amounts to about 57.000 views, which compared to the previous year total of 90.000 is a dramatic decrease of 36.67%!

I guess I have to write more and find more interesting topics if I want to keep this blog relevant in 2018!

External posts

Aside from the articles published on my blog I had the pleasure to collaborate again with Scotch.io and to establish a new collaboration with Twilio to publish 2 posts as a guest author:

It's always fun and rewarding to write guest posts and it's a nice way to get my name out from my common channels.

I guess in 2018 I should keep doing that and maybe build some new relationship with other publishers :)

Open Sourcing

As usual, I kept spending some time working out some small open source contributions, mostly creating little Node.js libraries or command line utilities for different purposes. Here's the complete list of the open source contributions I made:

Organisations

Repositories

👍 Comparing last year (13) to this year (19) I had a +46.15% repo contributions increase. Another pretty good vanity metric!

PS: I finally have more than 100 repositories on my GitHub account 🎉

Learning

This year I kept familiarising know technologies such as AWS, serverless, Node.js, React, Docker and python, but I also gained knowledge of some interesting technologies/tools such as Terraform and Ansible.

Also, I am getting more and more interested in the following technologies:

👎 I admit I dropped the ball on Elixir, and even though I spent a bit of time reading about Phoenix (the most famous Elixir web framework), I never really built something barely interesting with it.

Previous years goals

Now it's time to check whether I met the goals I set last year:

  • Keep improving my knowledge of Node.js and everything related
  • 😐 Publish the first version of my side project with Andrea
    (that mysterious side project was totally dropped, but we managed to publish Fullstack Bulletin instead, so this was not a complete failure)
  • Getting better with AWS and the Serverless framework
  • Move my blog to a static publishing engine and (possibly) use a serverless hosting approach
    (this is still a work in progress 😟)
  • Keep investing time on Elixir and build something with it
  • Presentations and talks at conferences and meet-ups
  • 😐 Get more proficient with VIM
    (I think I got slightly better, but VIM it's not my primary editor still)
  • Keep open sourcing stuff
  • Travel more!
  • 😐 More serious and constant BJJ training!
    (I finally got my blue belt, but still I feel like I am training way less then I should!)

Expectations for next year

Ok, it's finally time to move to the good intentions for the next year! I have been very long already so I'll just sort this part out with a simple unordered checklist, I am already looking forward to seeing, in one year time, how many items will be crossed:

  • MOAR conference talks/workshops (at least 8)
  • Write at least 8 quality blog posts (excluding this one!)
  • Learn a lot about Security, Machine Learning and networking (😇 Vectra, please...)
  • Keep contributing to Fastify
  • Keep working on Middy
  • Move my blog to a static publishing engine and (possibly) use a serverless hosting approach
  • Learn enough about Rust and build something with it
  • Learn enough about Elastic Search and build something with it
  • Learn enough about Kubernetes and build something with it
  • Do stuff with CSS Grids and Flexbox
  • Keep learning AWS and serverless
  • More serious and constant BJJ training!

Well, That's all... I hope I didn't bore you to death!
Anyway, I'd really love to know what was your biggest achievement in 2017. If you feel like you want to share this information with me feel free to write me on Twitter or to post a comment here! I'll make sure to have (at least) a pint in your honour! 🍻

Finally, I wish a fantastic 2018 to you all!

Luciano Mammino

Web developer, entrepreneur, fighter, butterfly maker!

Ireland / Italy http://loige.co
comments powered by Disqus