2015 Review

It’s that time of year again, so here's another self-indulgent reflection on the last 12 months. I promise to keep it mostly tech-focused this time.

New Technology for 2015

I can't think of a year in recent memory where I learned so many new technologies. It’s no exaggeration that my tools of choice are now completely different than they were just 3 years ago. Of course the rate of churn in the front-end world has been a frequent topic of lamentation this year, but generally I welcome all of the great new ideas and libraries that we have to choose from. Here are my top picks from 2015:


Finally, a variant of Flux that just feels right. I love how beautifully simple the APIs are, and there’s a really great community and ecosystem sprouting up around Redux. Watch the conference talk on how it came to be, and the really excellent tutorial videos.


It seems a lot of people are moving from JSHint to ESLint, and it’s easy to see why: style checking, pluggable rules, and a really active ecosystem make it by far the best JavaScript linter going forward.


Webpack takes a lot of heat (often deserved) for being a beast to configure, but there really isn’t anything comparable for transforming and bundling web assets. And once you experience HMR for JavaScript and CSS, writing a web app any other way feels painfully archaic.


I was definitely playing catch-up on this one, but 2015 was finally the year that browser support for CSS's Flexbox made its widespread use feasible. If you write CSS and haven’t jumped in yet, check out how much easier it’ll make your life.


I moved from Vim to Neovim this year as my main editor, and it has been remarkably stable for such an ambitious young project. If you use Vim and aren‘t on an Amiga, I definitely recommend switching, if only for the async command support (check out Neomake).


Since November, I have been spending a lot of time with react-native. While it is still raw in a lot of ways (particularly the docs), it is already an incredibly powerful platform for building mobile apps. I am constantly stunned by


Looking back on the 39 books I read, there were surprisingly few technical ones last year. Of the half dozen tech books, CSS Secrets was by far the best. If you have some experience with CSS, I very highly recommend it. There were a few non-technical standouts as well:

  • The Idiot (Dostoevsky) - Not nearly as good as Crime & Punishment, but still worthwhile
  • Zero to Five - The best parenting book I’ve read so far
  • The Sandman (the full graphic novel series) - A really impressive piece of work
  • Zen to Done - Another take on Getting Things Done. Still trying to put some of its ideas into practice.

This Blog

One of my goals for the year was to write a few more things on this blog. While I missed the goal of one entry per month, I eked out 8, still far above my usual rate. Though I'm not particularly proud of anything I wrote, I am glad that I managed to force some pieces out, just to get the practice. There are no blog-related goals for 2016, so we’ll see what happens.