2015 In Review

Happy new year! 🌟
OK, I felt awkward starting a blog post that way—I confess. ☺️ But this is also an unusual post—not an article about CSS or SVG, and not a lengthy tutorial about web development. It is also the quickest post I ever wrote.

This is my first time writing a year in review kind of post. A lot of great stuff has happened in 2015 that I thought are worth documenting and have a look back at a few years from now. I’m grateful and thank God for every one of these things and everything else that has happened. And since a photo is worth a thousand words, I’ll start with a preview of the highlights in a few pictures, followed by sort of an alt text for each one, and then a little more:

Some of my favourite work-related highlights of 2015. From the top left:
  1. Delivering the opening keynote at CSSDevConf 2015. Photo by Chris Casciano.
  2. My 2015 speaker badges for the conferences: CSSConf AU, Smashing Conf LA, btconf Duesseldorf, Microsoft Edge Summit, Generate London, Velocity NY, CSSDevConf, View Source conf, ffconf.
  3. Me accepting the Developer of the Year award at the net awards ceremony. Photo by and copyright of net magazine. (I think I look sleep deprived in that photo, but it was already two hours past my bed time, so, there’s that.)
  4. Photo of the net award. (These things are very difficult to take proper photos of! ☝)
  5. Photo of the O’Reilly Web Platform Award I received in April. (I took like ten photos till I finally got a decent one. 😅)
  6. Photo of the first page of the “Mastering SVG for Responsive Web Design” chapter in the Smashing Book 5.
  7. Me giving a workshop at Smashing conf LA. Photo by Marc Thiele.
  1. In 2014, Manoela Ilic asked me to write a CSS Reference for Codrops. In February 2015, we finally released the 8–months worth of work & writing to the world.
  2. This year, I also got published for the first time in a real bookthe Smashing Book 5, which I contributed to with a very extensive article about using SVG in a RWD workflow.
  3. Back in April, I won an O’Reilly Web Platform award. I had never heard of the award before I was informed about winning it, and so I had no clue that I was even nominated. That came as such a beautiful surprise!
  4. Back in June, I was nominated and shortlisted for two net awards: Developer of the Year and Outstanding Contribution.
  5. In September, I won the Developer of the Year net award. This was one of the most awesome things that have happened since I started doing what I do on the web, so thank you so much for each and every one of you who nominated me and voted for me. I am humbled and extremely proud! You are awesome! 💜
  6. I published 23 articles. That’s an average of 2 articles per month, which I think is good. I like to take my time with the articles I write, as opposed to try to publish as much as possible during a specific period of time.
  7. I spoke at 9 conferences worldwide—in the US, UK, EU and AU, including the first Microsoft Edge Summit, and gave my first workshop about SVG at Smashing Conf in LA. (A lot of people ask me for videos of these talks sometimes. You can find a list of them—in chronological order— on my speaking page.)
  8. I gave two conference keynotes, one of which was the first day opening keynote—at CSSDevConf on board the Queen Mary (a boat!!) in California.

These points pretty much sum up the biggest highlights of the year, and the ones like to remember it with.

Of course, many things happened on a personal life level, but those don’t belong here, so I will spare you the list of them.

This one is on the weirder kind of highlights side, but definitely one of the things I remember 2015 with: I finally got a British visa! Those of you who have been following me in the last couple of years are already familiar with my visa stories. I apply for visas a lot, given the passport I hold (Lebanese) and then the places I speak in. I need to apply for a visa for most conferences I want to speak at, which sucks but is unfortunately necessary.

But one visa application that was particularly painful for me was the British visa, given how unfair the result was, simply because the person responsible for granting the visas was “not satisfied with my intentions in the UK”. 😒🙄 I decided to give it another shot last year for Generate London and ffconf, as well as to attend the net awards ceremony. After having showed evidence of my 10 previous speaking appearances at that time, the UK Visa & Immigration was finally convinced, and they granted me the visa. Woo.

Of course, 2015 wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. I failed to do some of the things I was hoping to do, too.

Possibly the number one thing I regret to say that I didn’t do was to keep maintaining and updating the Codrops CSS Reference with new entries as I intended to.

With client development projects taking priority over all other work, and then the many speaking and writing commitments I had, it was very hard to find enough time to do this. Maintaining the reference requires way more time than I could possibly devote for it.

As such, I think it’s an appropriate time to officially announce that I am no longer the maintainer of the reference. (More news and updates about this will be shared on and by Codrops some time in the near future, so no elaboration is necessary at this point.) The reference is one those things I’m most proud of, and I know it will be well taken care of.

In 2015, I also managed to strain my wrist which is still not healed today. I can’t exercise like I used to, I don’t have enough strength in my left hand to do things that I would normally do with ease, and, well, it’s just frustrating. The pain comes and goes but it’s just not healed yet, which means I still have to see a doctor (again) and keep away from any form of physical activity that adds to the strain of it.

On the bright side: this means that I take longer breaks from work, which is something to add to the list of things I failed to do. I overworked and pushed myself to the limits, and reached the boundaries of a burnout mutliple times last year. This is one of those things I am currently working on and making sure it doesn’t happen again. Saying ‘No’ to stuff helps a lot, by the way. #protip

To keep this post short, I will skip the 2016 resolutions list. Partly because it’s not finalized yet, mainly because my goals aren’t really year-specific, so I’m not sure they count as “2016 resolutions”, and additionally because I’ve got a couple more announcements and updates coming that deserve their own blog posts. So, stay tuned!

I want my web site to be home for most (not all) of my articles and tutorials in the future, so make sure to subscribe to the RSS feed to stay updated with what comes next.

So, that was my look back at 2015. I’m really excited to see what 2016 will bring. I don’t expect it to be all good, because I’m a realistic person, but I do always keep a positive eye on the future… or at least I try to.

What was your 2015 like? What have you accomplished and what are you most proud of? And what have you got planned for 2016?

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