This last year has been a shit-show. It's the year of the global pandemic that has turned our lives upside-down. That being said, how did my year go?

Generally speaking my year was okay. I haven't caught Covid-19. I have a job and my life is carrying on. I just don't go many places, spent part of the year working from home, and when I do go places I wear a mask.

Lets look at the goals I set for this year 2020 Web Development goals. Also lets looks at the report I wrote out in July Report: Midway Through 2020.

  1. Animations. I have removed animate.css from my site and coded my own animations. So I guess I met this goal.

  2. More javascript - ES6. I have removed jQuery from my website and added a style guide that includes accordions, tabs, responsive tables. My gallery is in vanilla javascript. I've dove into more node.js, and have dabbled with Svelte.js too.

  3. I did okay with this. I still think I use the mouse too much and not enough keyboard shortcuts.

  4. Try a language I don't know or at least try node.js. I did do this. Specifically dove into Express.js and using it to pull in data from MongoDb. I have been successful with that. I have a little state parks project I'm working on that allows me to add parks and display parks from the database. I also go some authentication to work too.

  5. Give my blog a real domain name. I didn't get to this.

Other Web Development Things

I did dive into Svelte some. Mainly just doing some tutorials. I feel like it all could be useful but I haven't got to where I feel like I can make something yet.

I did do some "freshing" up to my website - cleaned up some some of the css, removed most of the third-party code, removed jQuery, and updated some of the images. I also ran it through Lighthouse and fixed some performance and accessibility issues.

I do feel like I got a better understanding of Node.js, Express.js and using those to connect with a database. This year was the first time I connected with a database to add add and display data. I also got some authentication to work. These are, I think, my biggest accomplishments for the year cause it's something I have struggled to understand. I'm certainly no expert though.

At work, as little as I work with DNN, I am happy I made some progress with using the Form and List module, and using xsl stylesheets. I've also had more success in troubleshooting issues clients have with DNN.

Generally speaking, at work, I feel like I troubleshoot and fix issues faster. I've become very familiar with common issues. I can problem solve quicker. I also feel better about estimation and accessibility. Consequentially I feel like I need to be challenged more as sometimes I get bored with some of the work.

I have joined a web development Discord server that is geared toward beginners and those looking for jobs. I figured I could offer some advice be a part of a community.


I think overall, I met most of my goals. I tried out some server-side stuff, javascript frameworks, database stuff, while still improving my css skills. It's been a tough year and despite that I think I have made a lot of progress this year.

That all said, I still get down on my skills and am too hard on myself sometimes. I get frustrated with my progress or frustrated with ideas and coming up with site projects.

Other End-Of-Year Thoughts/Highlights

Outside of web development, what's been up?

I have kept up with reading more. I have stopped tracking my habits but I still read almost every day. I'm happy that I have read 22 books this year.

I have been drawing and doing some paintings with gouache. Recently I started a drawing journal that I try to draw in regularly.

With the Covid-19 pandemic I haven't been able to go to the gym as often so I've been going for more walks. I was doing more biking during the summer.

As far as vacationing and travel. The Covid-19 pandemic did force us to change our vacation plans. Again we have to put off the Smokey Mountains/Gatlinburg trip. Instead we went up to the Wisconsin Dells and kept most of our activities outside where we could keep at a distance from large groups of people. If we did encounter groups we wore masks and made sure to wash hands and sanitize often.

My favorite things from the Wisconsin Dells was our swimming at Devil's Lake State Park, the boat tour of the Dells that included the Witch's Gulch, and the horse drawn trip through a slot canyon called the Lost Canyon. I also enjoyed our tour of Taliesin - the home of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Also since a lot of activities were cancelled we did a lot of road trip exploration of Illinois. We went hiking in a lot of state parks, drove Route 66 in Illinois, traveled down Illinois 51 down to Giant City State Park. There, we rented a secluded cabin and just relaxed by a campfire at night. During the day we hiked most of the trails in the park.

Year End Faves

  • Book: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It's one of those books I wish I read years ago. I've dealt with issues like depression and it resonated.

  • Movie: I didn't see any movies in a theater this year because of Covid-19. I didn't even stream any movies. I just didn't have the patience for movies this year.

  • TV/Sreaming: Schitt's Creek. Needed some humor this year

  • Music: Local H, Lifers. Really great rock record. It just seemed to represent a lot of my feelings this year. Other than that still diving into older stuff. They didn't put anything out this year but I'm really loving stuff by the Interrupters.

  • Concert: Only went to one concert. Local H at a Drive-in in Gibson City, IL. It was really good and enjoyed it a lot.

  • Dev Podcast: Syntax

  • General Podcast: No Dogs in Space