2023 was an incredible year, and I'm excited to share all about it in this article. I would also love to hear about your highlights from 2023. What were some memorable moments for you?
- VMware / Broadcom
- Conferences & Events
- Spring Office Hours
- Java & Spring
- Personal Website
I am about to begin my third year at VMware, which has now become Broadcom as a result of an acquisition that was announced shortly after I joined the company. This acquisition process has been ongoing for the past 18 months. Despite the news, I made a conscious decision not to let it affect me. I had found my dream job, and I was determined to stick with it. Recently, the acquisition was finalized, and we are now officially a part of Broadcom.
The journey hasn't been easy. We lost many talented individuals, and not being able to work with them has been the most challenging aspect. However, I am grateful to still hold my position as a Spring Developer Advocate, and I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead at Broadcom.
It was an amazing year of traveling to conferences and events. I think the obvious highlight for me was SpringOne in Las Vegas. This was the return of in-person SpringOne conference and it was amazing. The keynote was electric and I had 3 talks, a live Spring Office Hours and booth duty. It was a long exhausting week but was so great to be in the same spot as so many coworkers. I met so many people for the first time that I have looked up to.
I also made the trip across the pond to Barcelona Spain for VMware Explore. What an amazing trip that was to be in such an amazing place. I’m hoping I can make it back there soon. Here are some of the conferences and events I traveled to this year. I feel very grateful that I get to travel to these events and talk to developers about all the things I am passionate about.
- VMware Explore - Barcelona, Spain
- Connect Tech - Atlanta, GA
- SpringOne at VMware Explore - Las Vegas, NV
- KCDC - Kansas City, MO
- DevNexus - Atlanta, GA
- SpringOne Essentials - San Francisco, CA
- CodeMash - Sandusky, OH
We just wrapped up Season 2 of Spring Office Hours and it was a really big year for us. If you don’t know my friend and coworker DaShaun and I started a live stream last year. Our goal for this show was to keep the community informed on what’s happening in the Spring Ecosystem and answer any questions you might have.
This year we got better at preparing for shows, scheduling guests and we even turned our show into a podcast. We kept going back and forth on when the right time might be to turn it into a podcast and finally I said I need to take the advice that I always give to others. It’s never going to be a perfect time to start something new, just do it and iterate on it to improve it. That’s what we did and I am really happy we did that.
We have some plans for the new year which include a new website, improving the podcast and improving our shows on the road. I will share more of that with you when I have something to share but until then we have our Season 3 Premier on Tuesday January 2nd at 3:30 EDT.
It was an amazing year for both Java and Spring. DaShaun and I say it almost weekly on Spring Office Hours but it truly is an amazing time to be a Java and Spring Developer.
It was another big year for Java with 2 new releases. Java 20 was released in March and Java 21 was released in September. The highlight for me was Virtual Threads going final in Java 21 and for me this is one of the biggest releases in Java, ever. I don’t say that lately because I know there have been some pretty important releases in the history of this language. As we begin to deploy different types of workloads into production some of them have different requirements. With the release of Virtual Threads, Project CRaC and GraalVM Java has an answer for any type of application. If you want to learn more about Java 21 I shared my thoughts on Episode 52 of Spring Office Hours.
Spring Boot 3 was released at the end of 2022 so that was all the buzz heading into the new year. There were four major themes which were Java 17 Baseline, Jakarta EE, AOT, and Observability. I spent the majority talking about Spring Boot 3 and Beyond 🚀
Spring Boot 3.1 was released in May and for a point release it had a few really great features. I wrote a blog post about the one feature that really got my attention, the Docker Compose module. This feature will create a Docker Compose file for you based on the dependencies you select, start the container and inject the properties into a property source at runtime.
Spring Boot 3.2 was released in November and it was packed full of features. In terms of Runtime Efficiency we shipped official support for Virtual Threads through a single property. This is such an important feature for anyone building imperative blocking applications and I wrote up a nice long blog post on it here.
I’m also a big fan of the new client abstractions in Spring Boot 3.2 in the REST Client and JDBC Client. These go in that developer productivity bucket for me and I really can’t wait for developers to get their hands on both of these. I wrote a blog post on What’s new in Spring Boot 3.2 if you want to learn more.
I wrote about this in my 2022 Year in Review but I had just crossed the 20,000 Subscriber mark towards the end of the year. I uploaded my first video in October of 2013 and it took me 9 years to get to 20,000. Now I didn’t actually start taking YouTube serious until 5 years ago but none the less it took me a long time to get there.
As I’m writing this I’m closing in on 45,000 Subscribers. So in 1 year I did what it took me 9 years to do. Just goes to show you that YouTube is a long game and once you get that ball rolling down the hill it starts going pretty fast. If I can somehow double again next year I will be closing in on that ever so illusive 100k mark which has been the goal since I started.
This past year I created 52 long form videos and 37 shorts. The 52 is a big number for me because my goal was to create at least 1 per week. I didn’t do that this year but I did end up averaging that which is impressive to me. Here are some stats and my top videos from the year.
- Views - 1,620,206 - 142% over last year
- Watch Time - 160,000 - 252% over last year
- Subscribers - 21,473 - 135% over last year
Top Videos (Views)
- Spring Boot Tutorial for Beginners - 230,000
- OAuth2 Login Made Easy in Java - 65,000
- Spring Security JWT - 60,000
I felt a great sense of pride when I finally accomplished something I had been talking about for a while: migrating my website to Nuxt 3. Since I was already familiar with Vue and Nuxt, that wasn't the obstacle. Initially, I wanted a fresh look and feel for my website, but I didn't want to start designing it from scratch. That's when I discovered the Spotlight template from Tailwind UI, and I knew it was perfect. The only issue was that the template was written in React and designed for a different framework, so I had to adapt it. Fortunately, the process wasn't too challenging. This was the spark I needed, and once ignited, there was no stopping me. I transferred all of my previous content to the new blog, which inspired me to clean up various aspects, including old posts. Overall, I am pleased with how it turned out, and I am excited to create more content for my website in 2024. If you're interested in obtaining the source code for my website, you can find it here.
I wrote about where to focus my writing in my Happy New Year 2023 blog post and I’m right back where I started at the beginning of the year. I wrote 42 newsletters this year which isn’t every single week but it’s almost weekly. I wrote 28 blog posts this year and some of them I am really proud of.
My problem with the newsletter is that it eats up a bunch of my time and I have nothing to tell me if its actually helping anyone. I tell people about what I was up to last week and most of it is content around Java / Spring which I could probably just mention on Spring Office Hours. Yes it might be pushing people to my blog posts and YouTube videos but my newsletter subscriber base isn’t growing. Instead of losing people like I did last year I think I gained 300ish to bring me to around 4300.
I’m not saying that everything has to fall down to vanity metrics but If I’m doing something that isn’t moving the needle I could easily be spending time working on something that will. I think I am going to