2021 Lookback


It is that time again, time for 2021 lookback.

If you want to read articles from previous years, see the following:

Note: this article is written from a technology perspective. I wrote about technologies and tools used during this year.

WordPress

For the first half of the year, I was working on maintaining a long-term WordPress project that I have been part of. The biggest feature I developed was implementing the Algolia search. It was my first time implementing Algolia to WordPress. Still, I couldn't do it without a backend developer that helped set up everything in the backend. Other than that, I had to optimize pages for Core Web Vitals. Although CLS was a problem for a few months, eventually, I figured it out.

Static Site Generators

My site runs on Eleventy, and I couldn't be happier for that. I also migrated my other site, mentor.silvestar.codes, to Eleventy. There is also my new side project, CSS Auditors, that runs on Eleventy. I am excited about the Eleventy progress, so this week, during the holidays, I have successfully updated my projects to version 1.0.0-beta9 to be prepared for the 1.0.0 release.

I have been part of two Hugo projects. One project was to build a new category for the existing site where the data for the category came from Contentful. Using multiple headless CMS solutions in one project was a successful concept. I have built one completely new site on Hugo. It was quite basic, but I had fun developing Greenhouse integration and the pricing calculator (which we decided not to use in the end).

I switched to a new company, Wunder Mobility, permanently this October. I am part of the marketing team, and I am in charge of the company website development. The site runs on Jekyll, and my job was to make it better. I developed a few templates as a part of the redesign project. I optimized the site, and now our new templates (and some old ones) satisfy Google's metrics. We already saw a significant impact on Google Search Console. I also improved the development process by removing a few bottlenecks within the project, like complicated file iterations and paginations.

Before I switched to the new position, I worked on another Jekyll site migrated to HubSpot. This site was getting quite big, and my MBP had trouble with the build process. Moving away from Jekyll was the right decision, not just because of the build process but because our CMS, Netlify CMS, was not playing along very well with the growing team.

HubSpot

I acquired a HubSpot Developer certificate this year. I was helping the agency migrate away from Jekyll, so I had to. HubSpot is a great solution for marketers, but their CMS is awful. It is confusing, navigating is impossible, and the development process is unfriendly. When I started using their development tools, I immediately thought of Shopify and its bad DX (Developer Experience). I just don't like these closed platforms that limit access to code. One thing that was better than Shopify is HubSpot's templating language/engine. However, it wasn't that straightforward to get used to it. Anyway, since my client decided to switch to HubSpot, switching to a new company was much easier to make.

Side Projects

This December, I started a new side project, Advent of UI Components. I built 24 different components and tried to expand my CSS knowledge using some less-used features.

I am still running the UI Dev Newsletter with more than 300 subscribers. However, I am thinking of stopping it for a while in favor of my other side project.

That other side project is CSS Auditors. It is a project that aims to analyze CSS from different industries. A friend of mine and me published two blog posts and two reports. I am going to focus on this project in the following year.

Blogging

I have published 18 blog posts this year. In comparison to the previous year, that is 8 articles more. I want to do even better next year.

Two of my articles were published on CSS Tricks, and I finally got published on Smashing Magazine. I hope to come up with some exciting topics next year and publish more articles for these prominent publications.

Conclusion

2021 was a big year for me since I accepted a permanent role the first time after 2017. I departed with other clients, which was a big decision since I worked with some of them for a few years. I also decided not to help friends of mine with their sites. I am entirely concentrated on my new role, blog, and side projects.

I look forward to 2022; I think it will be the best year so far.