Review of the Year – 2006

2006 has been quite a year split into 3 distinct sections for me.

I finished a very long contract in early March so the first couple of months of the year (apart from the obligatory Lotusphere interlude) were spent preparing to leave. In theory, being a contractor should mean that I just up and go with almost no handover, but when you’ve been in a role for almost six years and run three relatively large applications, it took me quite a while to not feel too guilty about leaving. Even then, the guys that took over from me were left very little time to get up to speed as the hiring process of the company was so slow off the mark.

The next three months were so chilled out it’s hard to imagine how relaxed I was back then. A week in Sweden was followed by as much free time as I liked to play around with new technology and development. And then just to make sure the time off was really memorable I decided to take a bit of a road trip across the States. After getting back in mid-May I sent my CV out to a few agencies to test the water more than actively looking for a job.

Setting aside the arguments about the dominance of Domino or Exchange, IBM or Microsoft, there is no doubt that the contract market for Domino developers has shrunk considerably over the last few years. These days the people on the market are pretty much exclusively very good (back in 2002/03 there were some real cowboys out there who have thankfully left the market now) and although there is always a steady trickle of jobs going, the competition is very strong. With this in mind I had set myself up for a long wait, being in the lucky position that I could pick and choose what I wanted to do. It was a great surprise then that after just a couple of weeks I was offered a very interesting contract back in the City for a large insurance company developing applications which are properly internet facing, integrate with J2EE and increasingly MySQL, Oracle and DB2. A first for me in work life and a good challenge.

So back onto the trains then! That was a real shock to the system. The thing about the long commuting is that it’s a habit, when you’ve been doing it for a while you forget quite how much of your day is spent travelling. But when you stop and then start again it’s a real struggle and it was that which persuaded me to, once again, think about moving down to London. I’ve bored everyone enough about that palaver suffice to say that I’m all settled now and very very glad that I made the move. It makes such a difference to be able to be in the office within 30 minutes in the morning.

There’s been a few other family things going on over the last couple of months which I don’t really mention on here but it looks like everyone is recovering well from those problems. But the last quarter of the year really hasn’t been fun with the stress of moving along with the other stuff happening. By Christmas time I really needed the few days off to go off-line, completely recharge the batteries and generally recover.

I’m very aware that I haven’t been posting technical entries for a while now. That’s due to a combination of other things taking precedence but also the fact the my technical attentions have been diverted recently away from Domino and towards J2EE, more specifically web services. It’s all very interesting for me but there are far better sites out there to provide you with your technical fix than I could write. That being said, I do miss putting things up here so one of my resolutions for 2007 will be to be a little more consistent about posting the interesting blog entries rather than the flotsam of my life.

Of course I still have a long list of feature requests to deal with on Defectr. I’m so pleased with the feedback I’ve had from that and also the consistent (and increasing usage) of the system. It’s definitely not a money earner yet but that wasn’t really the point initially. It’s taught me a lot about the Dojo framework and what I would do differently in future when using one of the larger Ajax frameworks. As ever, if you have feedback please drop me a line and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

So, that’s another year done with. Overall I’d say an A- grade, the Domino technology and community continues to improve and amaze. Bring on 2007 and Lotusphere.

Wishing a happy new year to you all, let’s hope it’s a good one again.