2014 – My Year in Review

It’s that time of the year when it can be nice to take a quick breather, look back and reflect on the achievements of the last 12 months.

So I wanted to take a look over some of the things I’ve been focussing on this last year and documenting their progress. That way when 2015 comes to a close, I can look back and see how things have moved on.

This post is primarily for future me to look back on and remember what 2014 was all about, but hopefully others may find it an interesting read as well :)


Professionally, 2014 has been pretty good. I finally redesigned this site into something I’m not ashamed of, the front-end team at TMW has continued to move forward and I’ve had the chance to learn a whole host of new skills as front-end development continues to explode into exciting and unforeseen areas.


This last year, I made a concious effort to try to give back as much as I can to the community through open source and writing. I love how active our community is, giving back by writing and speaking about our work so that others can learn from our experiences. Having mostly self-taught myself front-end development, I know how important this is for those starting out in the industry and to push the whole of our community forward.

Personally, it’s been great to see a couple of the projects I help maintain grow throughout the year.

Kickoff, the lightweight front-end framework I help maintain with Zander Martineau, was originally created to create consistency across front-end projects at TMW. Amazingly, it’s now reached 201 stars on Github having launched Version 4 back in October, as well as massively improving the documentation. We have more plans to grow the framework in the future – if you’re looking for something a little more lightweight than Bootstrap or Foundation, check it out and let us know what you think.

Late in 2014, I finished revising the front-end guidelines I first put together back when I joined TMW, in early 2012. Somehow, they now sit atop Google when searching for 'front-end guidelines' and have been viewed over 11 thousand times since the start of November when I started tracking the analytics.

The other project I developed this year was Statix. Statix helps make creating HTML templates much easier. I find it incredibly useful when creating front-end templates or very simple sites which share markup across pages, but don’t require a full-blown CMS. Hopefully in 2015 I’ll get the time to more thoroughly document it like we have done with Kickoff and it can grow into a useful tool for other developers as well.


If I could use any word to describe this year at TMW it would be 'consolidation'.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve grown the front-end team into something that I’m incredibly proud to be a part of. We’re very lucky that every member has a unique skillset that helps add to the whole of our team.

Project wise, it was a little quieter than in 2013, but we still did some great work. Personally, I led the work on the Skylanders launch event and the Lynx Peace campaign website, which has since gone on to win a DMA award.

Writing and speaking

My main goal for 2014 was to write more on my own site; it’s something I really enjoy doing and I like how tangible the response can be when receiving feedback on the pieces I write.

During 2014, I have written 13 posts on this site, as well as a few times on the TMW Tech blog. I think it should be an achievable goal to beat that number in 2015.

In terms of growth, this site has gone from 1,973 page views in 2013, to 38,561 in 2014, with the most popular post being Writing CSS that doesn’t suck, with 11,440 views.

In terms of speaking, 2014 was a quieter year than 2013. I gave talks up in Shrewsbury, at ShropGeek, and then at Front End London in June.

Writing a talk takes up a mammoth amount of time when compared to writing articles or code demos and front-end speaking is a hugely competitive area right now. As much as I love speaking, it can be hard to justify spending weeks on a talk to only give it at one or two events.

However, I do have a couple of things I would love to speak about, mostly around the work in Node.js that I’ve been playing around with. I’ll be firing off some talk proposals for a few events, but should people be interested in hearing what I have to talk about, do get in touch!

Code demos

Making code demos is really great fun – I absolutely love CodePen and I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of my demos do fairly well this year. In fact, two of them have recently been included in the Top 100 Pens of 2014, which was really cool to see.

Media Query Mario has been viewed over 55,000 times as of this writing, and the 3D button effect demo I knocked together has had 17,000+ views, just under 500 hearts and was #14 in the top 100 Pens of the Year. Pretty incredible.

I also tried my hand at deploying my own Node.JS site in time for Christmas, ChristmasTracker, with the site getting decent feedback and the related CodePen demo being viewed over 11,000 times and receiving 239 hearts.

I’ve got a whole host of ideas to put up in 2015, so if you like that kind of thing, keep your eyes peeled for more code demos in the coming months.

My Goals for 2015

If I can continue the great feedback I’ve had during 2014 through the next 12 months, I’d be a very happy guy.

I have a number of projects that I’ve been meaning to write about for quite a while, so writing them down will be my first task of 2015. I’ve also become quite obsessed with using Node.JS for realtime data, and so working on more projects in that kind of realm would be awesome.

I do want to focus more on writing and code demos through 2015 though. I find that I learn the most when working on those things, as well as also getting the most pleasure out of working on them.

Your turn…

So that’s my year in review – how about yourself? What have you achieved in 2014?

If you haven’t done so already, take a few moments and think about the work you’ve done throughout 2014, setting yourself some rough goals for the year ahead.

…and Happy New Year!