2023 Year in Review
Date Published: 23 January 2024
Now that CodeMash is over (I had a workshop and 2 talks, including a new one), I can focus enough to write up this review post. For those who care to see how things have progressed over the years, a brief history of similar such posts is listed below. If you want to write your own such article, I have a checklist linked at the bottom of the list.
- My 2017 Year in Review
- My 2018 Year in Review
- My 2019 Year in Review
- My 2020 Year in Review
- My 2021 Year in Review
- My 2022 Year in Review
- My Year in Review Post Checklist
Last year I only added 20 articles to my blog (about 6 fewer than in 2022). That works out to 1-2 per month, though in reality there were a few months where I blogged a lot, and bunch where I... didn't.
Last year I set a goal of 26 articles in 2023, which I promptly forgot about. It just goes to show that goals are less important than habits. If I want to publish 26 articles in 2024, I know the way to do it is to put in place the processes that will ensure it happens, such as making a commit to publish every other Monday or something like that.
The thing is, I'm also trying to focus more on video and my YouTube presence in 2024, so I don't think I'm going to make that push. Instead I think I'll set a modest goal of 12 blog posts in 2024, and I expect I will be able to achieve that without any special effort. Heck, this one counts as one so I only need 11 more!
Google made me switch over my analytics mid-year in 2023 so I have GA4 data for 15 June through year end. In that time I had 193k users and 322k page views. My old GA account showed 208k users in the first half of the year and 323k page views. Combined that's 401k user sessions and 645k page views.
I had about 750k page views in 2022, and 842k in 2021, so my year-over-year traffic continues to slide basically in line with my blogging slowing down. If I want that trend to reverse, I'll need to post some more content...
Only a couple of my 2023 articles made it into my top 10 most popular articles, and that was my Scaling Your Software Team Up vs. Out (Developing vs Hiring). Check it out if you haven't already. The other popular one described my updated Clean Architecture Template version 8. Everything related to Clean Architecture continues to be popular... (maybe I should write more about that)
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. I'm using the 2nd half of 2023 for this, since my analytics data was split and I didn't feel like trying to collate everything for the whole year.
- ASP.NET Core Clean Architecture Template v8 Released (25k views)
- Solved - An attempt was made to access a socket in a way forbidden (16k views)
- The More You Know The More You Realize You Don’t Know (12k views)
- Force Nuget to Reinstall Packages Without Updating (8k views)
- Why Use DateTimeOffset (5k views)
- Clean Architecture in ASP.NET Core (5k views)
- Buildinga Resilient Email Sending Method in .NET with SmtpClient, Retry Support, and the Outbox Pattern (4k views)
- Configure Visual Studio to Name Private Fields with Underscore (4k views)
- Enum Alternatives in C# (4k views)
- Add Images Easily to GitHub (4k views)
Currently I have about 1664 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 2024).
Once again my traffic is going down, not up, so I'm not really getting closer to this goal. Maybe I'll publish 12 really popular articles this year, though. One thing I'm looking at as I continue to do more YouTube stuff is publishing articles to go along with the videos, so that readers who prefer non-video content will still have access to the material, and perhaps that will drive some traffic. I haven't figured out a good process for doing this consistently yet, though, so it remains a stretch goal.
Weekly Dev Tips Podcast Stats
I have (had) 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 got pretty burnt out on the podcast during the pandemic. In 2021 I only published one new episode, on Blogging with Andrew Lock. I haven't published any new episodes since then.
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.
Definitely give them a listen and subscribe, and if I get back to adding more you'll get notified.
I may revisit some of the topics as I build out my YouTube channel, too.
Weekly Dev Tips Mailing List
Unlike the podcast, I rarely miss sending out an email tip on Wednesdays (well, until recently).
I have over 4000 subscribers. I could probably be doing more to grow that - I see some folks in the community pushing their email lists every day on social media and with popovers on their blogs. I hate popovers so I don't think I'll nag y'all with those any time soon, but you will probably see more references to join my newsletter in 2024.
For instance: You can sign up here, if you’re interested.
Goal for 2023: 4,000+ subscribers. Current growth rate should make that very attainable.
YES! I actually attained one of my goals! Woohoo!
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 2024.
- Twitter.com/ardalis: 22,544 followers. 55.2k tweets sent (ever).
- YouTube.com/ardalis: 6.33k subscribers. 110 videos. 42,432 views in 2023
- YouTube.com/weeklydevtips: 1052 subscribers ; 75 videos. 2,135 views in 2023.
- Twitch.tv/ardalis: 2.1k followers; 0 subscribers. Inactive since 2021.
- GitHub.com/ardalis: 7.8k followers; 263 repositories, 73 Stars.
- BlueSky (ardalis.com): 237 followers. 207 posts.
- Mastodon (@firstname.lastname@example.org): 1.2k followers. 367 posts.
- Instagram.com/ardalis_steve: 147 posts; 693 followers.
- TikTok (@ardalis0): Inactive.
In 2023, I published the following books and courses:
My Pluralsight Courses (View All)
I published 1 new course last year (24 total).
There's a bug on Pluralsight's site making this course appear to be authored by Pluralsight and also not showing up on my author home page (which thus still shows 23 courses total). I'm hoping it's fixed soon.
This year I'm working on some courses on Modular Monoliths.
I spoke at a few conferences last year, including some in person events:
- CodeMash 2023 (cloud design patterns, improving existing code)
- Boston User Group in Feb 2023 (virtual) (clean architecture)
- Stir Trek (May 2023) (Data Access Evolution)
- TechoramaNL (October 2023) (clean architecture workshop, SOLID session, design patterns session)
- DotNetFlix Show (October 2023) (virtual) (design patterns)
- dotnetconf 2023 (virtual) (clean architecture) (November 2023)
- DevIntersection (Orlando, FL, December 2023) (clean architecture, dark side of microservices, event-driven distributed app in a day workshop)
My talks and workshops often focus on domain driven design, clean architecture, cloud design patterns, and ASP.NET Core. Contact me if you're interested in private presentations or training for your team.
Most of the rest of this is less interesting if you just follow me for technical content. You've been warned.
We did some camping (with travel trailer) in 2023. In the spring we went to Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Shenandoah, as well as Assateague Island.
In the summer we visited Iceland, which was a lot of fun and very beautiful. We visited the Westman Islands, went inside a volcano, went on glaciers and took boat tours around glacial lagoons. We rode Icelandic horses (which have 2 additional gaits compared to most other horses). We saw so many waterfalls and even had an active volcanic eruption as we were headed home.
Also in the summer we visited Ravenwood Castle in Hocking Hills, Ohio for a weekend.
We even managed to visit the Galactic Starcruiser in Orlando before it was shut down permanently. It was a lot of fun.
In the Fall we visited Amsterdam and Utrecht, Brussels, and Paris as part of my trip to TechoramaNL. That was three countries I'd previously not been to, which in addition to Iceland adds 4 new countries to my lifetime total in 2023.
My only other travel was to Orlando for DevIntersection in December. Coming into 2024, we have a few trips lined up but nothing as big as Iceland, and we'll see if we can make it back to TechoramaNL, since that was a lot of fun and their team did a great job of organizing and running the event.
You can get annual stats from Fitbit in the Activities tab.
- 3.7M total steps counted (up 1.1M!)
- 10,285 floors 8566 floors (up 1719)
- 1,666 miles (up 466)
I managed to play outdoor and indoor soccer in 2023, along with coaching my 9yo twins' team. My weight's been creeping up over the last few years, but I started to really work out and lift in summer 2023. My 2023 year started with a career-high weight of 228 points. I got down as low as 213 in early October, but by the time the holidays were over it was back up to 221 pounds.
I was logging all my food from March through summer some time but didn't end up sticking with it. I'll probably try to pick that up again soon as I know it's an easy way to help stay on top of things. I also need to cut down on chips and beer/alcohol, as both of those quickly add up and are just empty calories.
As I work on building muscle, it'll be important to track body fat percentage at least as much as weight, along with other measurements. In 2023, I started the year at 28.7% fat, and ended at 26.8%. My low as about 25.4%. So, I dropped 2% body fat which isn't nothing. I think I can make some significant improvements on this front in 2024, and maybe aim for under 20% (which losing 12 pounds of fat while adding zero muscle would achieve).
Work Environment and Gear
I try to keep my current list of gear and tools used up to date. I did buy a few new things in 2023 (links may support my blog):
- Elgato Prompter. I've only had it a few weeks but it's pretty cool. You'll be seeing it in use in my courses and YouTube videos.
- MagSafe Car Charger. Hooks to an air vent; phone attaches and charges via MagSafe magnets. Really loving it.
- MagSafe Charger Stand for iPhone. Nice, heavy charger that uses magnets to ensure the phone is in the proper position, and allows the phone to stand up at an angle while still charging.
- ASUS TUF 27" 1440P HDR Curved Monitor x2. I prefer non-ultrawide screens for screen recording for YouTube, Pluralsight, etc. These are really sharp and a nice upgrade from my 15 year old Dells.
- Elgato Key Light Air x2. Provides front lighting while recording.
- Logitech MX Keys Advanced Wireless Illumnated Keyboard I really love this keyboard. It's super quiet but very responsive. Don't get it if you want CLACKITY-CLACK but if you record video it's great.
- Elgato Facecam 1080p60 Full HD Webcam. A very nice webcam, but I ended up using my real Canon camera as my primary recording/YouTube camera, so this one gets used but not for my primary recording.
- Camera Desk Mount Stand. Good to have a few spares for lights, cameras, etc. For my camera with the Prompter attached to it I ended up putting it on a tripod behind my table rather than attaching it to the desk, as that gave it more stability and me more options for placing it.
- USB Lavalier Lapel Microphone. I've only used it once or twice so far but I would use this for recording when I'm standing rather than at my desk.
- BowFlex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbell x2. The start of my weight training journey.
- BowFlex SelectTech Stand with Media Rack. Strong stand to put 200lbs of dumbbells on.
- Mirabox Capture Card. To connect my Canon camera to my PC via HDMI.
- Canon RF100-400mm F5.6-8. Zoom lense for the Canon, mostly for taking pics of birds. Note: doesn't work well when using the Canon as a webcam...
- Canon EOS R7 Mirrorless Camera with RF-S 18-150mm Lens Kit. Not cheap but a nice upgrade from my 2014 era Nikon.
As you can see I bought a lot of stuff to try and get my recording setup working. Overall things have come together pretty well, and I can't really user excuses about equipment as a reason for not producing more YouTube videos and training courses.
NimblePros has been doing well. We hired 3 people in 2023 which is pretty good considering so many companies in our industry have been laying people off. We're very happy with the crew we have and the culture we've developed. If you're looking for help migrating to the latest version of .NET and/or to the cloud, or if you need help leveraging DDD and/or distributed architecture, give NimblePros a call (or, preferably, email). We've also started doing public webinars and training classes, as well as launching email training courses where the content is delivered right to your inbox over a series of days.
If you don't know it, devBetter is a group coaching program that promises to accelerate developer careers. It's continued to grow and has become a vibrant community. I enjoy our group coaching calls every week, and several of the hires NimblePros have made came from the devBetter community. It's a great way to help yourself and others.
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 this year and beyond!
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.