Well here we are; 2011 is drawing to a close and every blog seems to have an end of year review, who am I to buck the trend? So here are the things of note from my 2011, going from vaguely technical to totally personal:

The Wonders Of Agile

The members of our development team in my day job have been pushing agile for a while now, but it’s only been during 2011 that I think we got the process down and finally started to get the buy-in from outside the team that you really need to make it work. The benefits have been obvious and we won’t be going back any time soon!

Get in the SCRUM

Continuous Deployment

This has been central to the success of the agile process for us. While we’re nowhere near the holy grail of continual deployment to live, it cannot be overstated the difference that continual deployment to test has made. If a TFS user story is marked as completed the product owner knows it is available to them, which saves plenty of problems with forgotten deployments causing a lack of confidence from the product owners. This is made possible by the power of TFS build and it takes a matter of moments to set up for new projects.

Setting up continuous deployment in TFS

WiX

If you’ve been following the blog you already know I’m a bit into WiX! With our current work environment we have no control over staging or live servers and so creating proper installers has been a total lifesaver. We can now be confident that what we want on the server will be what actually ends up there!

My series on WiX

Irony

Irony is an open source .net language implementation kit. That is, it allows you to create your own custom languages and parse them at run time. That in itself is nothing new, but Irony is the best I’ve used to date. Performance is good enough to make it useful in real-time processing applications too! If you want to allow custom modification of your application’s behaviour it’s the way to go (IMHO). Documentation is a bit thin on the ground so I’ll be running a series of posts on it in the New Year.

Irony on CodePlex

Blogging

This blog has only been running since July but I’ve had a great time writing every post. I thought I’d make my stats public for you:

  • 12 posts;
  • Averaging around 50 visits a day on weekdays, steadily rising month on month;
  • 8000 visits in total;
  • Just under 2000 unique visitor, thanks for coming back!
  • The vast majority of search traffic comes in through Google. But you knew that already;
  • The top two referring keywords were 'wix' and 'IIS'.

Kindle

I’ll admit it, I scorned the kindle. I trotted out all the familiar excuses: ‘Its just not the same’, ‘where’s the book smell?’ etc. The truth is though that this was my best purchase of the year. Since buying it I have been reading more, and reading more often. It lives in my jacket pocket so it’s always there to help my fill a spare ten minutes. I love being able to get the next book in a series instantly when I finish the one before. The amount of books for under £2 is brilliant. Get one. Now.

Amazon kindle

So, there is my 2011. I’ll be back in the New Year with a couple more deployment and WiX posts and I’ll get started on a new Irony series. I hope you have all had a great festive season and that you enjoy your New Year!