Today’s header image was created by Alejandro Escamilla at Unsplash

A Lofty Goal

This time last year, I was talking to some folks over on the {CodingBlocks}.NET Slack channel about blogging, how I would like to get better at it, pick a topic that I’d like to write about, and do it on a more regular schedule.

We’re all developers there, so the topic of developers who have blogs came up. Then there was a mention of a guy called John Sonmez – he’s a published author who started out as a software developer and blogger.

It turns out that he runs a bunch of free courses from his blog, including one on getting started in blogging.

here’s a link to it, if you’re interested

It’s a free course and is email based, too. It’s worth taking a look at, if you’re at all interested in blogging and are a developer.

it’s worth taking a look at even if you’re not a developer, too. He presents quite a lot of good advice.

What’s This About A Goal?

Part of the course, in fact part two of the course, is all about choosing a topic to write about and coming up with ideas. The point is to come up with as many ideas as possible – enough for a few months. Then to pick a schedule and stick to it.

So on October 4th 2016, I set myself a goal of 52 blog posts on .NET Core in 52 weeks.

And Away We Go

That night, I spun up a subdomain on my hosting provider and installed a blogging platform. I picked out a (visual) theme, installed the .NET Core SDK on my laptop, and wrote and published my first post on .NET Core.

you can read it, here, if you wish

Since then I’ve bought a new theme

because building one would take a little too long; but I’m looking into building one of my own

and added a couple of bits and pieces to the layout; the constant being a blog post each week.

Sometimes the blog posts were discussions on how things are built, some best practises, and maybe application types.

console apps, class libraries, websites, etc.

Sometimes the blog posts were about new things in .NET Core or in the .NET ecosystem. One of my most popular posts is on something called .NET Standard;

In fact, I’ve written about .NET Standard three times now: twice for my own blog, and one for an external blog

that is until ASP.NET Core 2.0 was released.

Sometimes the blog posts required that I write a fair amount of code first – ending up with full applications – and dissecting the code bases, and providing postmortems or building tutorials from them. I’d mention things like why I did certain things that way that I did, or how that linked to best practises or external libraries.

There are many more to come, but I’ve written and released two web applications (dwCheckApi and Discworld Disorganiser) during this time, both of which are hosted on Microsoft’ts Azure platform

they’re hosted on a free tier, so those links may take a few seconds to load.

Here is a video preview of the Discworld Disorganiser (if you don’t want to click the above link):

And I’ve even released two Middleware components

kind of like plugins

to the ASP.NET community at large (Clacks Middleware and OwaspHeaders.Core), both of which have been downloaded and installed a combined 706 times.

482 times for Clacks Middleware and 224 for OwaspHeaders.Core

52 Posts in Total?

Hang on a moment. I’ve counted the posts that you’ve published at dotnetcore.gaprogman.com, and there are only 47! You’re lying about having published 52 blog posts!

Good eye.

Actually, I didn’t lie about the count. I also never said that they were all on “A Journey in .NET Core

which it what I prefer to call the .NET Core blog, by the way

Some of them where external blog posts. But where?

A Journey in .NET Core

This is the name of my .NET Core blog. It’s where I have posted something, each week, for the past 52 weeks.

It’s where I’ve announced all of the above open source projects, and where I’ve used those projects for tutorial posts. At the time of writing this blog post, I’ve published 47 posts there.

running total: 47

Audacia.co.uk

My day job is all about writing full stack applications and solutions using .NET Framework, ASP.NET MVC, C# and TypeScript

as well as an assortment of other technologies

I work with some extremely talented and intelligent people – they really know their stuff.

I’ve written three blog posts for Audacia, so far:

running total: 50

codeshare.co.uk

Paul Seal runs the blog over at codeshare.co.uk. He is an amazing developer, but his blog isn’t just about software development. He has a lot of useful advice (including the ever important subject of soft skills) for anyone wanting to get into the software development business.

I’ve written two blog posts for codeshare.co.uk, so far:

running total: 52

Cynical Developer

James runs the Cynical Developer podcast. His weekly episodes are either interviews with framework or technology champions where he asks them to talk about their framework or technology of choice, or developer advice episodes covering topics such as how to get a raise, or how to fit in better with your team.

I’ve written one blog post for Cynical Developer, so far:

running total: 53


As a side note, I was interviewed for episode eight of the Cynical Developer. If podcasts are your thing, and you want to hear me waffling on about .NET Core, then you can listen to it here.


The Reactionary

Back in November of 2016, Zac “The Reactionary” Braddy and I teamed up to create an app which used an ASP.NET Core server and a React front end. We ended up creating “Bro-As-A-Service“.

that last link is to the code, btw.

We then wrote about the app, he wrote about the front end and I about the server, but published on each others blogs – he published on my blog, and I on his.

The Reactionary has closed its doors recently (as Zac is working on bigger and better things), but I’ve gotten permission from him to re-publish my article on “A Journey in .NET Core”

and it’s scheduled for publishing in a few weeks

For the time being, I’ll add a link to the version of my article stored on the Way Back Machine:

running total: 54

But How Many Words

Here are the word totals for those 54 blog posts, broken down by site:

  • Audacia: 2557
  • codeshare.co.uk: 1369
  • Cynical Developer: 2280
  • The Reactionary: 2190
  • A Journey In .NET Core: 93, 349

That’s a grand total of 101, 745 words.

According to one source

which I found after a really short Google search

that comes out at around 260 pages of an 5.5″ x 8.5″ book.

I’ve, effectively, written a book in the past year

And that doesn’t count any of the code I’ve written for those articles.

Stats, Show Me The Numbers

With the increase of (good quality) content, comes the increase of consumers – or so popular Consumerism states. As such, I thought that I’d show you some stats for “A Journey in .NET Core”

because I write real goodly – M*A*S*H references, gotta love ’em

Up first, the number of visitors to the site in the past twelve months:

Monthly page views since creation

This shows the number of visitors, in months, since the site started
(click to enlarge)

And now the list of places which link to the site (i.e. pages which I don’t run, but have links to articles I’ve written):

Interesting External links

This shows the websites which link to “A Journey in .NET Core”
(click to enlarge)

Ignore the top item in the table. Since “A Journey in .NET Core” is at subdomain of gaprogman.com

as is this blog

Google classes all links within gaprogman.com as links to “A Journey in .NET Core”.

But the most interesting thing here are those three entries I’ve drawn arrows to

kind of leads the eye, somewhat

Those are:

  • Google
  • Telerik
  • Microsoft

If you’re not a developer, I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of Telerik. But I can guarantee that you know who Google and Microsoft are.

psst. This means that Google and Microsoft have linked to “A Journey in .NET Core” a combined 53 times

Did I mention that I’ve been published on medium, too. That’s pretty cool, right? Ok, so they’ve been reposts of some of the stuff I’ve written (which is why I didn’t include them in the above counts), but that’s still quite a bit of exposure.

ooh er

Other Things I’ve Done

Another blog?

Did I forget to mention that at the beginning of 2017, my brother and I started a blog about video games?

I didn’t mention it?

I’ve written around 20 articles and pages for that blog in that time – we don’t have such a tight schedule for posts as I have had for “A Journey in .NET Core”.

Some of my favourite articles to write so far where:

This article is all about the Sega Saturn mascot Segata Sanshiro, and even has a mini Japanese lesson in it.

This post, and the earlier part in the series, was a blast to write because I love Terry Pratchett’s discworld and I love point and click adventure games.

What’s better than playing a bunch of older video games that you still love? Creating challenges, which add to the fun of the game, for yourselves and others to take on.

obviously

Video?

I’ve also been playing with live coding, using Twitch and YouTube. This has meant setting up a Twitch account (you can find it here) and a YouTube account (you can find that here).

If you have two and three quarter hours to spare, you can check out my first live coding video here:

If you’re not a developer though, it might make for dry viewing.

Thanks and Shout-outs

This next bit might seem a little corny, but I’m about to do it anyway.

It might seem like a small goal to some, but 101 thousand words, 54 blog posts, and all the learning which came with it

so far. There’s a lot more to come

didn’t come easy or without any kind of price.

So I thought I’d take a moment to thank the folks who helped me along the way, and maybe single out a few folks who I think really helped.

  • The {CodingBlocks}.NET folks

The guys who created the podcast (Allen, Michael and Joe) have also created a super helpful community to go with it.

seriously, if you’re a dev then you should listen to their podcast

and join their slack channel

  • The folks on the slack channel

They’re an amazingly supportive bunch of folks, and always willing to help a fool like me out.

  • Family

Imposing a set goal on yourself and not telling anyone

NO-ONE knew that I had the goal of 52 published posts in 52 weeks.

that you’ve decided that you need to hit it can cause a few issues with family

especially when you’re up late at night trying to figure out the tiniest of details

so they all deserve a special thanks for putting up with me.

  • The folks who’ve put up with me talking at them

I did a lot of talking about .NET Core – at work, at home, at the pub – and almost no-one I’ve spoken to about it has died of boredom.

that’s GOT to be a good sign, right?

Even folks who aren’t programmers or vaguely technical have listened to what I’ve had to say.

even if it’s been with a rush of excitement

And the non-development folks I’ve shown my applications to have seemed interested to see what I’ve been slaving away at, working all the hours on.

And finally

  • The 43,405 people who stopped by

That’s a ridiculous number. I mean, it’s not Microsoft numbers, but still. For a niche programming blog, on a framework which is still evolving

version 2.0 of any framework is where people sit up and start to take notice

43,405 people is astronomical. No wonder I’ve had to start using CloudFlare to cache the site.


Side note: I checked before letting this post go live, and in September, Cloudflare saved me 4.8Gb of data. There was still 24Gb of un-cached data, though. That’s enough cached data to fit on a DVD and enough un-cached data to half fill a Blu-Ray disc.

it’s a good thing that I get a pretty large data transfer allowance from my hosting provider.


Talk about a busy beaver. I wonder what I’ll get up to in the next 52 weeks. It’ll be fun finding out, right?

Thoughts and Ideas?

Have you got any lofty goals like this? Are they super secret ones (like mine were), or have you shared them with someone?

How did I do it, you ask? I planned each post out in full – you can read how I did that here.

Related Post

Jamie is a .NET developer specialising in ASP.NET MVC websites and services, with a background in WinForms and Games Development. When not programming using .NET, he is either learning about .NET Core (and usually building something cross platform with it), speaking Japanese to anyone who'll listen, learning about languages, writing for this blog, or writing for a blog about Retro Gaming (which he runs with his brother)