2020 Year in review

December 31, 2020

With 2020 over it's time to take stock of the year that was.

12 Articles

When I started this site in July, I set a goal to write ten articles, so I'm happy to have written twelve (excluding site updates). Roughly two a month.

I intended to only write about SQL and Python but branched into Gatsby and Github.

In reverse chronological order:

Publishing cadence

I set an initial goal to publish at a rate of every two weeks. Looking back, an article every two weeks was a little ambitious.

Every three to four weeks seems to be the sweet spot. Three to four weeks is enough time without feeling the need to resort to content for content's sake.

Plan, code, write.

My content creation process is still developing, but this workflow has been helpful:

  • Planning: Come up with an outline even if it's only headers. Also take a bit of time to create any resources you'll need. For my data-centric content, that might mean setting up a local database or finding a demo dataset.
  • Code before writing content: Any code that will go with a post gets written first. It's much easier to write content with the code in front of you.
  • Write: At this point all that's left to do is write!

Gatsby FTW!

Gatsby is my static site generator of choice. It's hard not to love the fantastic speed a Gatsby site has.

It took some time to make useful but I'm pleased with the result. I can create pages and posts from Markdown and use Github actions to automate deployment.


A quick glimpse of what's planned for 2021.

Article ideas

I've got a lot of topics I'd like to write about but here's a selection:

  • Bokeh: Explore how to use this excellent Python Data Visualization Library. Including basic visualizations, connecting to real data sources, and interactive visuals.
  • SQL Refactoring: A few ways to improve your SQL queries.
  • Partitioning on a sequence of values in SQL: How we can use SQL to group on a sequence of values. Also known as the gaps and islands problem.
  • Snippets: Small code samples or patterns that I use regularly.

Site improvements

  • Dark mode: Toggle that switches the site colors from light to dark. Dark mode will give me an excuse to explore the React Context API and learn even more JavaScript.
  • MDX: Markdown is doing a good job, but there are a few limitations. With MDX, I should be able to make more of the site reuseable.
  • Upgrade to the latest Gatsby

Summing up

The big takeaways from 2020, for me, came from starting and working on this blog. It's been time consuming but also rewarding.

If you're thinking about it or on the fence, take the leap!

Thanks for reading in 2020.