In 2017-2018, Taylor Otwell and I built and released Laravel Nova. Being part of an official Laravel product release is incredibly high-energy, but once the initial fanfare and sales spike dies down, there's still a ton of work to do.
To be frank, it got to be a bit much.
For the first half of the year I was handling all the GitHub issues, Pro support tickets, product development and releases. I was starting to get buried under it all.
In the second half of the year, Taylor brought on James Brooks to the Laravel team. We were able to have him spend a large chunk of time working on Nova, and I just have to say...he's been a massive help. He has absolutely smashed through GitHub issues, documentation updates, PR reviews, and everything else.
Together, we managed to put out 30 releases in 2019. Towards the middle of the year we switched to a biweekly release schedule. That has been a good balance between small weekly releases and large random releases. With his help, Nova is now being updated constantly with new features and fixes to make creating admin dashboards in Laravel applications super easy.
As a bonus, every update has been included in the current release series, Orion. This means every customer from day 1 has gotten all the new features and fixes for their sites. That feels good.
I imagined at some point the support effort for Nova would die down, but it doesn't seem to be the case. That's a good sign for sure, even though it can be challenging to manage it all. But that's the hidden part of owning your own business and running a successful product.
Looking forward, I think we'll start imagining what a new Nova series looks like, with all the stuff we've learned building the Orion series.
This year, While at MicroConf Growth Edition, Chris Fidao and I commiserated over how cumbersome it was to set up continous integration for Laravel projects. We talked over dinner and Telegram chats about building one targeted specifically at Laravel applications.
We started exploring the concept on our own for a few weeks. I began to play with a queue-driven frontend pipeline interface, and Fideloper started exploring the initial backend concepts. We eventually decided to give it a go and make a real product out of it.
We wound up calling it Chipper CI. Why did we call it that? That's for us to know. ;-)
Thankfully, with the success of Laravel Nova, and bringing on James, I was able to carve out dedicated time to work on Chipper during the week.
In 2020, Chris and I look forward to putting more focus on making Chipper even better and more accessible to everyone building Laravel applications.
Sadly, Dads in Development episodes took a further dive in frequency this year. Andrew Del Prete and I only recorded 4 episodes in 2019, and that feels pretty bad! Andrew and I share a large timezone difference, are busy with work, family, etc... so it's hard to say the future holds for the podcast. I really enjoyed doing it in it's heyday so we'll see what happens there.
While working on Chipper CI, Chris and I thought it'd be helpful to podcast our thinking on the product strategy and feature development behind Chipper. So we launched Building Chipper in June 2019 and were able to put out 5 episodes before the year ended.
We fell off a bit after August as Chris was busy welcoming a new family member and I had my head down on cranking out Nova updates. But we've learned a lot about what it takes to make a continous integration service great, and have made a lot of progress on accomplishing our initial goal for Chipper. I imagine we'll be recording more in 2020 as we have some big updates to the product coming...
I mentioned in 2018's end of year recap, that I was looking to start another podcast, but didn't get around to actually doing it. I would really like to find time to podcast more, whether that means being a guest, or recording my own. I enjoy casually talking about coding, product development, life lessons, and stuff like that. Maybe 2020 will be the year for launching it?
I've been toying around with screencasting development on Laravel Nova, Chipper CI, and my other products as that sounds pretty fun and could be entertaining/helpful. I also want to post at least 6 articles in 2020. I would also consider doing a couple of speaking events this year if the opportunity arises.
In general, in addition to continuing work on Laravel Nova and Chipper CI, I would like to put more focus on creating useful and enjoyable content for the development community.