I sit here on the last day of 2023, reflecting on the year that was. I have been blogging on ajaydsouza.com for over 20 years and have consistently written a year-in-review post for most of these years.
I signed off my year-in-review post last year feeling pensive. 2022 was a rough year from a health perspective. Thanks to grace of God, I did not require any medical attention in 2023, except for my annual flu attack. And I survived that without seeing a doctor.
I cannot say that 2023 was massively upbeat. However, it has been eventful, with some great moments. In the spirit of positivity, I’ll limit this blog post to those.
Our daughter has continued to grow at an astonishing and enjoyable pace over the past year. She’s gone from crawling at the start of the year to running all around the house. And I’ve still maintained my sensitivity to smells! Parenting has taught us the value of patience. We have learned to slow down, teach her patiently, and wake up early every morning.
In March this year, we made a trip to India after over 3 years. This was our first holiday as a family, and it presented several teachable moments. We ventured out significantly this year over the summer, visiting several National Trust properties, castles and gardens. In September, we returned to Suffolk on holiday after over a decade.
In awesome news, my beloved Ashwina passed her driving test and will now share the driving with me. I’m still undecided if the sharing is a good thing, given how much I enjoy driving. At least, I can drink and not drive!
I did say I’ll keep it positive, but it would be remiss of me to not mention that my grandma passed away earlier this year. I was very fortunate to have met her in March when I was in India. Her health had severely deteriorated over the past year and we had prepared ourselves for the inevitable. I spent the first few years of my life growing up with her before my parents had their own house and several of the memories still remain. I particularly recall the songs she sang to me to put me to sleep. I started singing these to my daughter soon after she was born last year – Edelweiss from the Sound of Music and The Woodpecker Song.
WordPress and Development
In January this year, I decided to log into my Twitter account. I don’t recall what made me log into Twitter – probably curiosity after Musk’s acquisition or a desire to connect with more folks in the WordPress world. I started by cleaning up a tonne of dead accounts reducing my follower and following counts significantly.
Over the past year, I’ve focused a significant bit of time on rebuilding connections, and I can happily say that I end the year having done so successfully.
How is this relevant to WordPress or development, you ask? Most people I’ve connected with over the past year have inspired me on my WordPress journey over 2023.
I pushed through only 8 major plugin releases this year. However, I did spend significant amounts of time improving the quality of my code. In particular, I’ve learned classes and autoloading, and also improved the security and accuracy using phpstan. There’s a tutorial coming soon on WebberZone.
I finished the year on WebberZone with a redesign of the site. The last redesign was in 2020 and it was time for a refresh.
A New Business Venture
I’m very pleased to announce that after a decade of debating, I finally registered my company here in the UK. Beyond Develop will serve as the parent company for WebberZone and also directly offer WordPress design and development solutions.
I continue to build out the website for Beyond Develop. My key focus for 2024 will be to release premium versions of Contextual Related Posts and Top 10 in Q1 and Q2 respectively. If this is something that interests you, may I suggest signing up for the WebberZone newsletter.
At the start of this year, I set an ambitious target to read 45 books. I had read more in 2021 and 2022. Midway through the year, I realized that I was not going to be able to complete 45 books, so I revised my goal down to 40. With my 36th book completed today, I have come short of that target. However, can I argue that the book set featuring Peyton Brooks by M. L. Hamilton (aff.) made up for the shortfall? If you haven’t read them yet, I posted updates in January and June. I’ll post another one later in January.
No surprises here, but work has remained busy. Probably busier this year than ever. I started the year with heavy rounds of marketing and ended it with a busy set of executions. I have travelled quite a bit in the past year and have managed to keep bugs away (at least during my travels).
What’s in store for 2024
I don’t make any New Year resolutions because I know I won’t keep them. However, I do aim to achieve a few things every year.
This year, my key focus is to build up Beyond Develop. This will involve building pro versions for my two most used plugins, and more frequent and smaller updates for the others. I’m also hoping to land one or two small projects where I can use my WordPress expertise. This should hopefully turn a profit in the first year. I still have a long way to go in learning how to manage a company. Baby steps.
We’ve also got a few holidays planned for the year, albeit I expect them to be disturbed by work and complemented by WordPress.