So how did 2020 affect a home-office operating hermit?

The short answer is - not much.

The long answer is more convoluted and boring for anybody who doesn't know me. But I want to write down some thoughts, just for the sake of documenting it.

On a personal level, the Covid-19 outbreak kept me from seeing the love of my life for over a year now. There is nothing we can do about it. Neither of us can board a plane right now and fly over the Atlantic. This hit many long-distant relationships. It's hard, but we are committed. We see each other every day via video chat and I'm grateful for that.

On a professional level, I felt comfortable working from home, because that's what I do for over 15 years. It helps to live alone, though - I have no idea what people with kids had to go through.

I guess the only advice I can give is, dress up in casual work clothes - no sweatpants or bathrobe! Again I say this easily because I don't own any sweatpants and it's my Modus Operandi to show up at my desk with nice clothes. (Jeans and hoodies are nice clothes for a programmer!)

Another advice I can give without anybody asking for it: Do some exercises every day. There is an app called "Seven" it guides me through 12 exercises á 30 seconds, ranging from push-ups over jumping jacks to burpees. It's the bare minimum one can do to maintain some kind of fitness and keep self-control. I try to go running every day at around noon. Again a privilege living in the country-side and be in the woods within minutes.

Professionally this year has been a blast. I'm so thankful for the clients I work with and the trust they put in me - especially one client who is working with me for years and who got me involved in one of the most advanced and brain-melting projects ever. The small team (app developer) are some of the nicest people and even if I had to learn a lot for myself, I kind of felt validated in the knowledge I accumulated over the years - general project management knowledge and specific programming knowledge.

  • I learned to love and hate modern javascript
  • I learned so much more about PHP and OOP
  • I learned a lot about data modeling

One of the greatest satisfaction is turning a raw JSON data structure into a nice representation of that data. It's almost like in my days as a painter to apply the first, opaque coat of fresh paint onto a wall that was cleaned from layers of old paint, smoothened out, and primed before.

Also, I finally dipped my toes into Laravel but didn't go in completely yet. There were more interesting things to pursue.

At the end of 2020 the web community also starts to embrace server-rendered HTML, a thing that old-school devs like me just roll our eyes at, secretly relieved that React isn't the only thing that powers the web1

  1. It's WordPress :D.