2021 Year in Review

Date Published: 11 January 2022

2021 Year in Review

Time for a recap of stats and important (and not so important) milestones from 2021, the SECOND year of the COVID-19 pandemic (yeah we thought 2020 would be THE year of the pandemic. Turns out... not so much.).

Here are some other year-in-review recaps for reference and a checklist for writing your own:

Blogging

Last year I added 37 articles to my blog (about 4 fewer than in each of the previous two years). That's a little more than 3 per month and about 11 short from hitting 1/week.

I'd really like to publish 50 articles in 2022.

In terms of traffic, Google Analytics reported that I had 842,609 pages views in 2021, slightly more than in 2020 (784,114 page views). That about 7.5% more, which is a lot better than the 1.8% growth I got the year before.

2021 Ardalis.com Page Views

New Articles

Notice those larger spikes. Those were new articles I wrote that got some traction. They each saw the most immediate traffic when published, and were:

You can browse through all of my (recent or not) articles here.

Most Popular Articles

Which brings me to articles. Google Analytics is great for identifying one’s most popular content. Often it’s not what you might think, expect, or hope for, though. For example, I mostly focus on code quality topics, domain-driven design, object-oriented principles, testing, etc. My top posts… don’t always reflect that though:

  1. The More You Know The More You Realize You Don’t Know (41k impressions)
  2. Force Nuget to Reinstall Packages Without Updating (35k impressions)
  3. Solved - An attempt was made to access a socket in a way forbidden (35k impressions)
  4. Add Images Easily to GitHub (30k impressions)
  5. Clean Architecture in ASP.NET Core (24k impressions (in 1 month!))
  6. SQL Server Error User Group or Role Already Exists (14k impressions)
  7. Why Delete Old Git Branches (14k impressions)
  8. C# Generics Best Practices (13k impressions)
  9. What is the difference between a DTO and a POCO or POJO (13k impressions)
  10. How to Hide the Connection Bar in RDP (12k impressions)
  11. Avoid Wrapping DbContext in Using (11k impressions)

Currently I have about 1617 blog posts on this site. That's just a count of all the files in my blog folder now that I've moved to using markdown and Gatsby.

I'm going to keep shooting for 1 million page views in a year (specifically, in 2022).

I've had this goal for a couple of years now and have obviously thus far fallen short, but I am at least making progress in the right direction.

Weekly Dev Tips Podcast Stats

I have a podcast, Weekly Dev Tips (which is the same name as my emailed newsletter that goes out every Wednesday). You can find it on the usual podcasting apps, its website, and also on YouTube.

I've been pretty burnt out on the podcast during the pandemic. Last year I only published one new episode, on Blogging with Andrew Lock.

There's not much point in reporting stats on the podcast in 2021. I may return to it in 2022 but I'm more excited about doing actual YouTube content so we'll see.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to the existing shows. Most of them are meant to be evergreen content that you would listen to in order, with a lot of great stuff packed into the first couple dozen episodes.

Here are the top shows (all time downloads):

  1. Domain Events – Before Persistence (7,635)
  2. Do I Need a Repository? (7,429)
  3. What Good is a Repository? (6,805)
  4. On Learning TDD and LISP with Uncle Bob Martin (6,768)
  5. .NET Foundation with guest Claire Novotny (6,687)
  6. Guard Clauses (6,438)
  7. Maintain Legacy Code with New Code (6,316)
  8. Layering Patterns on Repositories (6,077)
  9. On Design Patterns (6,037)
  10. Breaking Bad Coding Habits with Joe Zack (5,850)

Weekly Dev Tips Mailing List

Unlike the podcast, I rarely miss sending out an email tip on Wednesdays. I did break my streak this year while I was on vacation... But usually you'll get a new tip every Wednesday.

Currently I have 3,605 subscribers, up about 12% from a year ago (with 3,225 subscribers). You can sign up here, if you’re interested.

Goal for 2022: 4,000+ subscribers. Current growth rate should make that very attainable.

Social Media Stats

It can be difficult to get this information after the fact, so here are my stats for various social media things as of January 2021.

Actually joined TikTok (inspired by Hanselman) but someone got my username (the horror!) so I'm @ardalis0 there. No content, though...

Publications

In 2021, I published the following books and courses:

Updated my architecture eBook for .NET 6: Architecting Modern Web Applications with ASP.NET Core and Microsoft Azure

Updated my book on porting from .NET to .NET Core/.NET 5.

My Pluralsight Courses (2021) (View All)

I published 3 new courses last year (22 total). The second half of the year, Pluralsight had a hold on new dev courses. That's done now, so I expect to publish a lot more this year.

A couple of these are updates of older but often more comprehensive courses. You may find value in watching the originals as well, which are linked from my author profile.

Speaking

Last year I spoke at ZERO in person conferences due to COVID. The last in-person event I spoke at was NDC London in January of 2020. After that, it was virtual only. I did a ton of virtual talks in 2020, but slowed down quite a bit in 2021 (though I had a lot more private engagements with clients). Here are some of the virtual sessions I delivered:

  • Columbus App Dev (virtual) (April 2021)
  • Stir Trek (May 2021)
  • DevIntersection (virtual) (June 2021)
  • Baton Rouge .NET Group (virtual) (June 2021)
  • VS Toolbox (virtual) (October 2021)
  • dotnetconf (virtual) (November 2021)

My talks and workshops often focused on domain driven design, clean architecture, cloud design patterns, and ASP.NET Core. Contact me if you're interested in private presentations for your team or company.

Travel

Most of the rest of this is less interesting if you just follow me for technical content. You've been warned. Also, there wasn't a ton of travel happening due to COVID. I haven't been on a plane since 2020. Trips in 2021 consisted of a couple of close-family vacations, one to Hocking Hills, Ohio and another to Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Otherwise we pretty much stayed home and tried (successfully) to avoid getting COVID.

Fitbit

For some reason Fitbit hasn't sent me a 2020 summary like they usually do, but here's some manual analysis (which you can do from the website at fitbit.com/activities):

2021 (with one week in April where it didn't collect any data):

  • 2.9M total steps counted
  • 5963 floors
  • 1345 miles

Not too different from 2020, really (though it counted a lot more floors - I think my tracker in early 2020 didn't track floors). Hoping to get out and do more hiking and eventually get back to playing soccer this year. Also I injured my foot a couple of months ago and that's slowing me down a bit, but hopefully that'll be better soon, too. It's rough getting old.

Work Environment and Gear

I try to keep my current list of gear and tools used up to date. In 2021 I didn't do a whole lot in terms of upgrading my gear. I got a second 49-inch Curved Samsung Monitor (affilate link) for another recording office setup. I'm quite happy with this monitor.

Looking through my order histories on various sites for 2021 I really didn't buy much in the way of work gear. My desktops and laptops are all still working fine for my needs.

About the only "fun" and kind of high tech purchase we got was a new electric zero turn mower (Ego Z6), which does a good job and has good battery life/range once you max it out with 6 batteries.

Work Stuff

NimblePros

Our daughter went off to school, so we lost one employee mid-year. We hired a new full time person who started in January, though. Business demand has been high, and NimblePros is helping as many clients as it can, though we still have more work than we can handle. We will probably add another couple of people in 2022.

devBetter

devBetter has continued to thrive. As of now we have 8 Alumni members and 27 active subscribing members, which is pretty good! If you're not familiar, devBetter is a group coaching program that promises to accelerate developer careers. Last year several members found new jobs, one with a very significant pay increase, and the growth in membership and the community has meant more interesting conversations and sharing of resources for the whole group. I'm looking forward to what 2022 brings.

That’s It

Thanks for reading this far. This post is mostly for my own reference, but maybe you found it interesting or useful.

If you want to write your own year in review blog post, I wrote a checklist here. It's probably longer than most people will want but you can just pick and choose what works for you.

Good luck in 2022 and beyond!

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.


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