March 2022 Retrospective

Wed, Apr 6, 2022 7-minute read

Summary

After taking some time off to have fun and experiment, I got back into the swing of Mudmap development.

Highlights

  • Released several updates to Mudmap
  • Got Covid (not really a highlight but noteworthy)

Goal Performance

A review of last months three goals. See Feb’s Retrospective

I did not set any goals for this month. My partner has been quite unwell, and I decided to take some pressure off and be more available for her.

Month overview

I discovered the project Alpine.js this month and was really intrigued by how user-friendly it is. I am pretty comfortable using React these days but the added complexity of running a separate frontend can get a little annoying, especially for simple app’s. Setting up Alpine is a cinch and can easily be integrated into any web application by either dropping in a link to the CDN, or by creating a bundle for it and linking it directly.

Where Alpine shines is when coupled with traditional web applications such as Django, or Go templates. To get more familiar with it, I refactored an existing app of mine - tars.run. It was originally built with a Next.js frontend but was overkill for what it does. Now, instead of needing two applications, the entire thing including database runs inside a single binary. It is refreshingly easy building app’s this way.

Mudmap updates

I have received a number of requests from customers asking Mudmap to support devices which do not have static IP addresses. I finally added this feature and it was so simple that I regret not doing it sooner.

Mudmap now shows each device’s DHCP lease table too. This feature is not fully finished as you cannot update any of the leases, only view them. I chose to release it in stages so that customers can start using it straight away, rather than having to wait for all aspects of that feature to be completed first. This is probably a theme I will continue with, and it allows for a faster capture of feedback too.

The application user interface also received a bit of love. Most of the tables now support pagination by default, have smaller margins and where appropriate have tool-tips to reduce ambiguity. Many of the table buttons are now smaller, or represented by a more familiar icon - the play button for example. These small fixes do a lot to make the user interface feel more polished.

Recommendations

Re-watch Seinfeld. It’s been such a brilliant way to decompress before bed and even after 30 years it is still hilariously relevant. I am about half-way through the entire show after nearly a month of watching an episode or four each evening. So good.

I have completely moved from Arch (actually, Manjaro) to Ubuntu and couldn’t be happier. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m missing anything from the move - any package that I had on Arch I probably have on Ubuntu. And, I actually like snap packages - I said it! I’ve had a couple of little issues, but they’ve all been super easy fixes.

fighting words: Ubuntu is the closest thing we have to linux desktop, and I’m now a recommender of the distro.

Wrap up

I expected this month to unproductive but even after getting Covid, it still ended up being quite good. I was able to use my time to experiment with things and just have some fun which gave me the break I needed to get back into Mudmap development. It was also good just coming home and relaxing some nights, without the guilt I’ve put on myself to keep working on things like Mudmap. This has been especially important as my day job’s workload has increased. In all, March was a far better month than February.

What can I do better?

  • Write in my journal every day, even if only a couple of words
  • Read more often before bed

What have I done well?

  • I Wrote two short blog posts this month
  • Didn’t take myself too seriously!

Next month’s goals

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