Summer 2019 Development Goals

I’ve made a set of goals for the Summer. In the recent past I have been bad about making goals. I’ve been so busy with life, that I’ve just tried hanging on and making it through.

This Summer, I want to do some quality development work on both MyCntdwn and Beer Style Guidelines. The thing is that I say this every Summer. And for the last few Summers, I haven’t done enough quality work to ship anything. I’ve even gone as far as committing to a Data Sync Series which I eventually gave up on.

It’s been tough the last few years. I have a lot of things that I want to do, but I haven’t made this development work a priority. Other things in life have been a higher priority (work, family, etc). They still are, but this Summer I am going to do a better job of removing the time wasters. Instead of vegging out and watching a series of stupid TV shows in the evening, I’m going to do more development work.

I’ve decided that if I don’t do some good work and actually ship app updates this Fall, I’m going to stop development on these apps. It’s not fair to the small number of users I have to keep these apps in the Apps Store and not properly support them.

So far I’ve made some nice progress.

I’ve torn out all 3rd party analytic support in favor of one that I’ve written myself. This in itself has been a year-long project (with long breaks). This one I’ve written allows me to have much finer control over what’s being sent to my analytics backend. There’s no sneaky stuff going on there. And the users can easily turn all analytics tracking off.

I’ve also enabled Dark Mode support for both apps. I already had support for this in MyCntdwn. But now that it’s supported at the OS level, I was able to rip out a bunch of code I no longer need.

I’m currently tinkering with SwiftUI and seeing if I can replace a bunch of UI-based code and Storyboards with SwiftUI. Early indications are that I will be able to. I’m not 100% certain yet. I need to do more exploration with SwiftUI.

Next on my list will be to support data sync. It looks like they’ve made that much easier in iOS 13. But I’m not there yet. So I’m not going to get my hopes up with it.

And if this all works out nicely. I may even try to make them both macOS apps with Catalyst. But this is way down the road for me.

As you can see I’ve got some lofty development goals here. I just hope I can make them enough of a priority in my life to get them done. Honestly, I’d be happy shipping what I’ve done already when it’s time. But I want to do more. Stay tuned to see if I actually follow through on these plans.

Finally Watching WWDC 2019 Videos

I’ve finally had a minute (or 60) to sit down and start watching videos from WWDC 2019. I know, I’m over a month late to the show.

I watched both the Keynote and Platforms State of the Union on the first day of WWDC. But since then, I’ve been so busy with work and other stuff that I haven’t had much time to catch up.

From the keynote and state of the union videos, I knew SwiftUI looked amazing. But I didn’t get a real sense of it until this week.

I watched Introducing SwiftUI: Building Your First App. That was such a good video/session. I feel like I need to watch it again. I’m also looking forward to watching the other SwiftUI videos and learning much more about SwiftUI.

I think Apple really nailed it with SwiftUI. It looks so simple and intuitive. I should be able to remove a lot of code in my personal apps (and eventually professional apps) because of SwiftUI.

Tonight, I had a chance to sit down and start tinkering with SwiftUI. I currently feel like I’m lost in the woods with some things. It’s a bit overwhelming at first. There’s a lot going on that I don’t know how to do yet (interaction with Timers and Core Data). I need to watch more of Apple’s videos and really dig into the code a bit more.

I’ve got plans to update both MyCntdwn and Beer Style Guidelines to use SwiftUI (among other new features). I’m really hoping that I get good chunks of time this Summer to really dive in and learn the new stuff.

I just hope I have some time to actually make updates to my apps. Like for real this time. Things are so busy with the kids, that I rarely have much time to do this sort of thing anymore.

But this Summer, I’m determined to watch many more videos from WWDC and incorporate new technologies into my apps.

2018: A Look Back

Photo by Steven VanDesande Jr

2018 was a very busy, but very satisfying year. We bought a new house, bought a new car, went to Italy, shipped a huge app and had a lot of good times. There were a lot more successes and failures that I just never wrote about. Maybe I’ll write about them sometime, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

2018 goals, how’d I do?

Before I looked back at my 2018 goals, I thought I did a really good job toward my goals. Turns out, not so much. I’ve only accomplished one of my goals successfully. Ouch. I really thought I did a better job.

Run a 5k (or two)

Nope. Didn’t happen. I walked a lot this year, but didn’t do a lot of running. It’s still on my wishlist. I just need to commit and make the time to do it.

Read 20 books

That happened. In 2018, I finished 64 books. There were a bunch of comic books in there, but I still totally count them.

My Kindle Paperwhite helped out enormously with this. It makes reading in bed, when I can’t sleep, so much easier. I also take it with me whenever I travel anywhere and read.

I’ve also continued my (almost) daily habit of walking 1-3 times a day. During these walks, I will always listen to either an audiobook or podcast. Lately, I’ve been leaning more towards books, but that’ll swing back to podcasts at some point.

These two things (Kindle Paperwhite and walking with audiobooks) have helped me reach this goal.

More blog posts

I’d like to say that I did this, but I don’t think I can count it as completed. I did write more blog posts in 2018 than in 2017, but not enough. I was hoping to write a blog post every two weeks. This definitely did not happen. I wrote in spurts. But I also had long lulls of inactivity.

Present something (again)

Nope. I presented things at work to a small group of developers. But nothing to the community at large. I was hoping to present something to our local CocoaHeads chapter.

Frankly. I forgot that this was a goal of mine. I suck.

So… now what?

I’m not sure it makes sense to try making goals for an entire year. I think in 2019, I’m going to try things on a monthly basis.

Trying to make goals for the entire year end up with two issues. 1: I end up forgetting my goals. 2: I can’t adjust when I’m going way off the rails.

Hey, who knows. Maybe monthly goals will work out. Or maybe I’ll do as good a job with them as I did with my 2018 goals. I guess we’ll find out.

Christmas Movies

Around the holidays, our family has a list of movies that we like to watch. It’s a tradition that we’ve tried to keep for a few years now. It’s not always easy, but it’s one of the things we can all usually agree on.

Some of our favorite movies are:

This year I’ve added A Christmas Story to the list to watch. I used to watch this movie all of the time growing up. I found it hard to imagine that no one else has even seen the movie. I hope to fix that problem this year.

This year, we haven’t started watching any. I feel like we’re really behind. The kids have been so busy that it makes it hard to sit down and do things as a family. I hope we’re OK. We still have about two weeks left to watch everything.

My favorites on this list are either National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Die Hard. I love these movies. Elf is another good one. But Christmas Vacation makes me laugh so hard. Die Hard is just a good movie to watch from time to time.

I’m looking forward to seeing these movies this year.

New House

It’s been a crazy Summer.

Not only did I spend a significant amount of time this Summer preparing to ship an app, but we also bought a new house. Things got even crazier because we closed on the new house on the exact same day we shipped the app.

Our new house is less than two miles from the old house. We’ve been looking for a new house for roughly three years. We were only interested in houses within the same township we’ve lived in for over 10 years now. We’ve looked at a few dozen houses in the area and weren’t thrilled with any of them. This house came up in the ideal neighborhood and we decided to move quickly on it. The funny thing is that we actually looked at this house a year ago, but moved a little too slow and the old owners rented it out.

What we did was buy the new house and then move a lot of stuff from the old house to the new house before listing. We bought the house on a Wednesday and had our open house the next Sunday. Our old house sold within days of listing, which was very nice. We then had about a month to move everything else out and into the new house.

I’m still not sure owning two houses at the same time was a blessing or not. It meant that we could slowly move most of our belongings over ourselves. It also meant that we had stuff scattered between two houses and weren’t usually sure where things were. There was one Saturday where I went between the houses four times in a 30 minute time frame to find my son’s full soccer uniform. We were kind of a mess for a week or two.

We are all moved into the new house now. We still have plenty of things in boxes, but we’ll be moving them to where they need to be over the next few weeks/months. The old house has been sold and has new owners now.

There was a lot of things happening all at once and it lead to a very stressful end of Summer. There was even more news, but that’ll be in a future post - very soon. I hope that things can start to calm down a little now.