My Recap of 2018

Table of Contents

I have never done a yearly recap or review before but thought it will be beneficial to see what I accomplished during 2018, where I have progressed and where I can improve.

Last year was a busy and productive year for me, especially towards the end.

Everything in my recap is listed as it happened during the course of 2018.

Let’s get started.

Change Of Direction

Previously my personal website was focused on offering services for small business.

Trying to succeed in that market was challenging because it is difficult to try and market yourself when you are competing with companies that are able to offer more than you.

Because of this, I decided to change the focus and direction of my personal website to more of a freelance developer portfolio and blog.

With this change, I felt I had more freedom in terms of what I could do with my site especially when it came to portfolio and blog posts.

Because I was changing the focus of my website, I felt I needed to update my website as well because the previous design was related to the small business services I was offering.

I have to say I am much happier with the current direction of my site as well as the design.

Previous Bronson Dunbar Design

Swift Invites App

During 2017, I started creating a SaaS app that helped people send electronic invitations for social events as well as give them an overview of who was and was not attending their event.

The app was called Swift Invites and I was able to finish it by the end of 2017.

The plan was to promote and enhance it during the course of 2018.

Unfortunately, due to the costs of running the app and no activity, I decided to cancel it.

It might’ve not been a success in terms of attracting users but I learned a lot during the process from a technical and product side of things.

I also enjoyed creating Swift Invites, probably because it was something different to what I usually do.

Below are a few images of what it looked like.

Swift Invites Dashboard

Swift Invites Import Guest List

Swift Invites Event Reporting

Become A WordPress Pro Blog

With Swift Invites canceled, it was time to move onto something else but I wasn’t sure what.

To help me come up with something, I did an exercise by listing what knowledge and skills I had and filtering these according to what I enjoyed and my level of experience.

When I had finished the exercise, WordPress came up as the best option to go with.

Now I needed to decide what I was going to do with it.

After exploring different channels I decided to start a blog and call it Become A WordPress Pro, with the goal of helping others start their own blogs using WordPress.

Become A WordPress Pro blog

Before going live with the blog, I decided it was best to plan what content I wanted to create at least for the first few months.

Once I had a clear picture of what content I was going to create, I began writing the posts. I wanted to have at least three posts ready before going live.

Become A WordPress Pro went live in March and up until now, I have written seven epic posts.

The blog has its own Slack community and a few WordPress themes that I have created.

If you want to see the blog, you can have a look here

ReactJS, serverless and Amazon Web Services

In 2017, I started learning ReactJS and in 2018 I decided to explore it further.

Due to the popularity of ReactJS, it made sense for me to learn as much as I can so that I can be up-to-date with what is being used in front-end development.

It is also a great asset to have in my skill set in terms of career options and possibilities moving forward.

In 2018, I carried on with a course I enrolled in the previous year by Stephen Grider, Modern React with Redux.

By the end of last year, I was able to create own my app using ReactJS, which was a big achievement for me personally.

While I was learning and using ReactJS I discovered a few other things such as serverless and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

serverless is also a framework that allows you to create server-side functionality using JavaScript.

AWS is an amazing collection of services you can use when creating an online application.

Another benefit is that it integrates with ReactJS really well.

Below are some of the services I’ve been able to use in my ReactJS projects:

Learning and using ReactJS, serverless and AWS was fun and exciting, and I’m sure I will be learning, even more, this year.

I up-skilled a lot in 2018 and now feel more comfortable in what I am able to do.

React Component Library

After I had a better understanding of ReactJS it was time for me to create my first ReactJS project.

This was an opportunity for me to apply what I had learned without using a course as a reference.

I had already created a few ReactJS components while I was learning, so I decided to create a library where I could showcase them.

Even though I had been learning and using ReactJS for 2 years, there were still a few things I had to figure out.

Besides using ReactJS, this project was also a chance to use what I learned about serverless and AWS.

There were a few pulling hair moments while creating the React Component Library but in the end, I was successful and proud to create something of my own using ReactJS, serverless as well as AWS.

React Component Library CMS

With the library finished, I wanted to create another project using ReactJS.

Because I was planning on adding more components to the library, I wanted an easier way to manage the content so I decided my next project will be a content management system (CMS) for the library.

There was a lot more development involved for the CMS and it turned out to be another learning experience as it involved more integration with serverless and AWS.

Development for the CMS took much longer than the library but it proved to be valuable for a future project.

ActionBuddy for Writers Project

By now I had already created two projects using ReactJS and felt comfortable using it and along came my current project.

ActionBuddy for Writers was not something I thought of, it was my father’s vision and I had skills to help him bring that vision to life.

Even though I am extremely excited about it, I cannot share too much as it is still in development but what I can say for now is, ActionBuddy for Writers will be web app writers can use to stay motivated and help them finish their writing projects with automated reminders.

For the last 5 to 6 months of 2018, I worked on ActionBuddy for Writers.

ActionBuddy for Writers launched in March of 2019 and is now available for anyone to use.

ActionBuddy Dashboard

ActionBuddy Create Task

ActionBuddy Action Task

ActionBuddy Completed Tasks

ActionBuddy Project Content

Reading List

So far my recap has been about what I’ve been creating and learning, but I also wanted to share what I read during the course of the year.

Chance by Kem Nunn

I’m not a big reader of fiction, but I really enjoyed the TV series (probably because Hugh Laurie from House played the lead role).

The TV series was an adaptation of the book and so I decided to give it a try.

It is about a forensic neuropsychiatrist that falls for one of his patients and gets involved in her life.

It is full of suspense, action and twists and turns.

Overall it was a great read and can I recommend it.

How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

I have known about Dale Carnegie and this book for as long as I can remember but haven’t gotten around to reading it.

Last year I decided to finally read it and I am so glad that I did.

I now understand why it has been referenced and recommended by so many people.

Even if you are not a people person, you should still give it a read.

It offers an incredible insight into how people think and behave. It has a lot of value in how to deal with people and offers real examples of how it can be applied.

It had such an effect on me that I decided to do a dedication for it that highlight’s all the principles mentioned in the book.

It is definitely a book that I want to read again in the near future.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

I heard about this book from my father and the title immediately grabbed my attention.

What an eye-opening read this was! Out of all the books I’ve read, I don’t think anything has had such an impact on me like this one.

While reading it, I could relate to so many things and it felt unreal.

I enjoyed how straight forward Mark Manson was and the humor in the book just made it even more enjoyable.

It was a refreshing, easy read and also a wake-up call for me.

If you feel like you need a slap in the face that is funny and enjoyable definitely give this book a read.

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

As the title suggests this book deals with using problems or obstacles to your advantage instead of being defeated and paralyzed by them.

There are a lot of books about how to try and achieve success but I have never come across a book that helps you deal with the problems along the way and that is what makes this book stand out.

The principles, methods and examples are influenced by the Stoic philosophy which is a school of thought that originated in Greece and then later was developed in Rome.

Ryan Holiday magically translates Stoicism in a way that anyone can understand and apply.

When I am in need of inspiration, encouragement or enlightenment, I read a few pages and almost instantly feel better or have more clarity.

If you want to overcome and use the problems you encounter in your life while also learning and understanding one of the most practical ancient philosophies definitely get yourself this book.

2019 Plans

One of my priorities for 2019 is to only focus on three ongoing projects.

I need to finish the development of ActionBuddy For Writers and then we will be going live.

During the course of the year I will be adding features.

For my Become A WordPress Pro blog, I need to finish the remaining posts that are planned.

Once that is done, I will need to update the existing posts to be in line with the recent WordPress updates.

On my personal website, I will be creating blog posts as and when I have time available as well as adding new things to my portfolio.

I hope you enjoyed reading my 2018 recap and if you have any comments or questions please post them below.

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