My Top 15 For 2015

Dec 22 2015

It's been a phenomenal year for technology. The cloud landscape has shifted from VMs to containers. Go has enjoyed a meteoric rise while the venerable PHP has reached version 7. JavaScript continues to surprise us all. IoT seems to have tarnished its reputation. But Android and iOS continue to push the threshold of mobile. What follows is my (arbitrarily ordered) list of stand-outs in my development world.

This isn't a necessarily a list of "new" things, but things that stood out to me this year.

1. GitHub's Electron...

has me really excited about crafting desktop apps with Web technologies. A convenient Node.js-based wrapper around Chromium, it's the basis of Atom and Slack.

2. The Base16 Colorscheme(s)

provide a great collection of useable colorschemes for working on code. I'm currently a big fan of base16-mocha for my own editing.

3. Container Days NYC

was my favorite conference of the year. It had a great blend of people, a loose clustering of related topics, and a pleasant mix of conference and unconference styles. Oh, and the MS Times Square venue was awesome.

4. The Elixir language

somehow blends functional programming with a Ruby-like syntax in a way that feels totally natural. Not to mention it runs atop the excellent Erlang runtime. And the documentation is top-class.

5. Kubernetes

has hit its 1.x milestone this year, and I think it is striking the right balance of utility and opinion that a container platform needs. I expect it to really hit prime time in 2016.

6. Nexus and Android

have supplanted Apple in my mobile world. This is the year I switched, and I am enjoying the more open ecosystem much more. I can't lie: I like the integration with Google services much more than iOS's links to Apple's own service offerings.

7. Package management

has become my number one concern with Go (e.g. with Glide), but also my focus for Kubernetes (Helm). This has been a year of learning about how to successfully manage external dependencies.

8. And IoT

seems to have fizzled. Where were all the cool new products? Instead, we saw more bracelets, thermostats, and lightbulbs. The heavyweights seem to be more interested in vendor lock-in than innovation. Yet nobody seems to be all that concerned with security. And I've gone from excited to disappointed. There are a few exciting startups in the space, though...

9. VIM Notes

is my new favorite VIM plugin. It's just a clever and attractive note taking plugin that makes me want to use VIM rather than Evernote or Keep.

10. Composition and CSP

has entered my veins. This is the year I stopped thinking like an object oriented developer. I blame Go, Rust, and Elixir.

11. Ack, Hub, and Tree

are the new command line utilities that I find myself using on a daily basis. I've broken myself of the grep habit with ack. I use hub to file pull requests. And tree is a great way to quickly visualize a directory structure.

12. Dash and MacDown

are both favorite desktop tools of mine. Dash had a major update this year, and I wrote a documentation generator for it in order to bolster my own productivity. Open-source MacDown has become my main Markdown editor.

13. IRCCloud

has made my chat life better. I can make more of IRC by staying connect, getting support for pastebin and gists, and easily sharing across devices.

14. PlantUML

is a great tool for making it just a little easier to generate UML (from simple ASCII art). I like to "whiteboard" with sequence and state diagrams. So PlantUML has been a handy tool.

15. "Reality is Broken"

by Jane McGonigal was one of my favorite books this year. While my core philosophy doesn't quite align, her book challenged me to think differently about the utility of games, and about how our narratives can shape happiness.

Here's to a 2016 of more discoveries and developments.