2012 was a fun year. I added 50+ blog posts, built Pluralsight courses about Force.com and Amazon Web Services, kept writing regularly for InfoQ.com, and got 2/3 of the way done my graduate degree in Engineering. It was a blast visiting Australia to talk about integration technologies, going to Microsoft Convergence to talk about CRM best practices, speaking about security at the Dreamforce conference, and attending the inaugural AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Besides all that, I changed employers, got married, sold my home and adopted some dogs.
Below are some highlights of what I’ve written and books that I’ve read this past year.
These are a handful of the blog posts that I enjoyed writing the most.
- Using SignalR To Push StreamInsight Events to Client Browsers. StreamInsight is a really great platform for doing fast data stream analysis, and SignalR is an awesome framework for pushing content from servers to clients. This post showed how you could create a business event stream widget that got real-time updates from the StreamInsight engine.
- Doing a Multi-Cloud Deployment of an ASP.NET Web Application. Everyone loves talking about portability in this cloudy world, so in this post, I tried pushing the same app to multiple different clouds.
- ETL in the Cloud with Informatica. I felt like trying out some different integration tools, so in this four part series (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV), I looked at how the Informatica Cloud let you integrate cloud (Dynamics CRM Online, Salesforce.com) and on-premises systems.
- Adding Voice To Event Processing Applications Using Microsoft StreamInsight and Twilio. Who DOESN’T want their IT systems to talk back? I built a demo that used Twilio to call a person if a particular StreamInsight condition was met.
- Three Months at a Cloud Startup: A Quick Assessment. It started out as an internal memo that I was encouraged to share. Much different culture than what I was used to. Either way, it was fun to reflect on what I had learned at Tier 3 during my first three months.
- Combining Clouds: Accessing Azure Storage from Node.js Application in Cloud Foundry. I’ve been playing with Node more and more, and this was one of a few writeups about my experiences connecting different platforms.
- Versioning ASP.NET Web API Services Using HTTP Headers. This was inexplicably my most popular post of the year. I was working on a new API and dug into the ASP.NET Web API a bit. I expect to spend much more time with this in 2013.
- Exploring REST Capabilities of BizTalk Server 2013 (Part 1: Exposing REST Endpoints). This was clearly not a big BizTalk year for me, but I was glad to see BizTalk Server 2013 get announced with a useful set of new capabilities. One of those is the REST support that I investigated in a pair of blog posts.
- Blog interviews. I wasn’t able to keep up the once-a-month pace of years past, but I still had a great time chatting with Paul Somers, Nick Heppleston, Dean Robertson, Martijn Linssen, Paolo Salvatori, Shan McArthur, Hammad Rajjoub, and Jürgen Willis.
I read a number of interesting books this year, and these were some of my favorites.
- Release It!: Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software. Possibly the best book I read this year. If you are a software architect or developer, you simply need to purchase this book. While some of its material on infrastructure planning or software testing may be known to you, I’d bet that you’ll find a lot of useful information here.
- The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. It’s a classic book, and one that I admittedly hadn’t read until this year. The basic thesis is that many of the characteristics that define a well-managed company also result in that company’s failure to recognize or adopt disruptive changes in the industry.
- Better Under Pressure. Very good read on leadership and the huge role that emotional intelligence plays in a person’s ability to successfully lead teams of any size.
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. An absolutely amazing story of an individual who made it through an incomprehensible series of events in WW II. Made me really question my own resolve!
- Tesla. There’s been a lot of public Tesla love this year and I realized that I didn’t know a whole lot about the man. This was a solid story about a fascinating fellow.
- The REST API Design Handbook. Really enjoyed this book and found it very helpful in my own design thinking.
- On Writing. This book by Stephen King is part autobiography and part instruction on how writers should approach their craft. It was a fun read that provided me some useful tips for my own writing.
- Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II. Wild story of plane that crashed in a remote part of a South Pacific island during WW II, and how the survivors discovered a tribe of natives who were unfamiliar with the outside world.
- Are We Winning?: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball. I’m still a sucker for a great baseball book, and this was a thoughtful story about one man’s relationship with his father.
- Hiking Through History: Hannibal, Highlanders & Joan of Arc. This chap takes these epic hikes through historically-significant areas and I enjoyed reading his tales of travelling throughout Europe.
- Over the Edge of the World. This was NOT the Ferdinand Magellan that I learned about in school. What a fun, exciting, and wild story!
A sincere thanks to all of you for continuing to read what I write, and I hope to keep throwing out posts that you find useful (or at least mildly amusing).