A Year In Review 2016

Time for the annual year in review blog post! This year has just about everything in it, everything apart from peace and quiet. A huge diversity of work and skill-sets, from Salesforce to Sametime, from AngularJS to admin work on SAML, so much so that my tiny mind is bulging at the seams.

My Salesforce skills have come on leaps and bounds: it is an interesting platform, with a lot of opportunity for the clever hacking I enjoy so much. I must give Bluewave a huge thank you for letting me work with it (Salesforce is very partner-oriented, with little place for true freelancers) and most particularly Barry Hughes, the most patient guru who also lets me sit in on internal training sessions despite having finished my full-time work (with Bluewave’s permission I might add).[1]I was there as a contractor to help take deal with a sudden heavy load, they have now hired permanent staff, but still treat me as part of the team and I’m there if they hit another peak.

For the first time ever, I have a proper office rather than simply relying on client sites or my home workspace: my rented office is at Purple Patch, and it has proved to be just perfect. I can get tons done, and it’s also somewhere to meet, and work, with clients.

LDC Via has had a busy year with booths at multiple conferences and loads of changes and new features based on client feedback and installations. We even launched a whole new offering: KEEP.WORKS.

What skills have I used this year?

Salesforce –> The full range of Salesforce app building, from standard declarative coding to involved, large chunks of Apex and Javascript programming. I also spent loads of time training people on Pardot, working with this very “defined” marketing framework to flex it in a way clients actually want it to function.

JavaScript –> The continuing growth of JavaScript as a primary language for projects showed up a lot this year, in everything from AngularJS to Salesforce Lightning.

Proper Programming –> Java is still my core “serious” language. I’m using it enough to keep things sharp, but it’s not a growth area.

Supplementary stuff –> full on iCal work[2]Including requests to Google and other web email vendors for native buttons and drag-and-drop meetings, etc., etc., search integration with Solr and Nintex for Sharepoint stuck out this year.

IBM –> Sametime, Domino, WebSphere, ISeries and the other staples of the IBM family continue to test my imagination with integration and upgrade work, ensuring everything stays up-to-date and relevant.

Guesses for 2017

Two big items to guess about here:


JavaScript – this will continue to grow for me, driven by multiple things:

  1. LDC Via and its extensive use of node.js.
  2. Salesforce Lightning – the direction in which Salesforce are clearly steering.
  3. For Domino-based web work, a JavaScript framework talking to Domino services turns out to beat XPages hands down every time.
  4. Lots of clients want to “glue” existing systems to third-party APIs.

Salesforce – I’m less sure about this. The model favours a race to the bottom, which is already starting to show. The company is also incredibly partner-oriented which means it’s hard for smaller companies and individuals to find work. I will just have to keep the skills sharp and see what happens.

Work Load

Bugger knows, this year has been busy, but it’s been in fits and starts[3]or even ‘Stits and Farts’, such is the joy of freelancing. I had a couple of quiet spots and a couple of periods of full-on mayhem. For 2017, I’m hoping to avoid the two things that make we want to scream: (1) the sudden cessation of all work, followed by a couple of stunned weeks looking around, and (2) the conversation with someone later on that year who says “I would have asked you, but you always seem so busy…”

OK, that is enough of the fluffy blog posts for a while. Next up: proper tech stuff!


1 I was there as a contractor to help take deal with a sudden heavy load, they have now hired permanent staff, but still treat me as part of the team and I’m there if they hit another peak.
2 Including requests to Google and other web email vendors for native buttons and drag-and-drop meetings, etc., etc.
3 or even ‘Stits and Farts’

New Anime Series Youjo Senki

First Episode(s) Review for: Youjo Senki

I only do these reviews for new anime I like now so take this as a recommendation


Set in an alternative world war I that includes magic and told from the German point of view, a young very Arian blond girl is the commander of an airborne mage platoon, it soon turns out she is a cut above the rest in both ability and viciousness, a cruel calculating horror in the body of a little girl.


Nicely detailed, with a lot of research on what WWI battlefields looked like based on my somewhat limited knowledge ( the reading of Good-Bye to all That and such ) looks a bit like Fullmetal Alchemist

Plot Potential:

This will be the kicker, they could be boring with this or they could go anywhere, to have such an obviously evil hero character is a fairly unique starting point, but as they have already included political bits, the war being at a tipping point and a young soldier who does not know what to make of her Commander which has shades of Platoon in it we might be going somewhere interesting.


Grim powerful music and great war noises

Reminds me of:

If the hero of Strike Witches had been an evil military minded psycho…..


It’s been 2 seasons since I have been surprised at a new anime, they have been very manufactured recently, but this one took me back, its quite obvious that the hero is an utter ba****d and a nut job and should be the bad guy, but I like her, want to see what she is up to and what her ultimate goal is.

Disclaimer: These are mini reviews of anime’s that are fresh out in Japan and are not licensed in the UK, buy them once they have been licensed or at the very least buy the merchandise, remember if the anime makers make a loss, THEY WILL STOP MAKING ANIME!!