The Road Ahead

While I gather the focus to write this piece. I am paying attetion for the first time to the lyrics on Noel Gallaghers’ Chasing Yesterday album.

I keep running but I can get to the mountain.
Behind me lie the years that I’ve misspent!

That particular piece is from a song called The Dying of the Light. Here’s a youtube video in case you are more visually inclined.

Listening to a middle age man, singing songs about life struggles, well is not very encouraging. But the music is great. Also I prefer to think that the hero in the song is resolute –very determined–. He is gonna get there no matter what.

2017 in review

It is hard really. To remember things that are worth mentioning of a year. So I’ll try to be breve and purposeful. Also because I want to relate this part to the actual purpose of the article, the road that lies before me.

In 2017 I accomplished this 5 things

  1. Devoted myself to improve code quality
  2. I became more involved in the WordPress community
  3. I lost over 40 pounds
  4. I started training
  5. I join the Crypto currency revolution
  6. I decied to let go of sorrow

1. On mastering my craft

This deserves a post on its own. I’ll try to put my ideas together here for the sake of argument and make it short.

Serious Engineering

2 years ago I decided to get serious about being a PHP Engineer. And I did. I know the language, the frameworks, it’s ins and outs. I follow the news and the prominent people on the community.

These days I read more code than I do books. This helped me to master PHP under 1 year. You can throw anything at me and I probably have seen it –or broke it– before. I learned one interesting thing. There is no substitute for experience with a platform and a stack.

Common errors are that because people who are new to the platform and the stack have absolutely no idea how to fix common issues. If I had a bitcoin for everytime someone forgot to run the command “composer dump-autoload -o” or any other composer command for that matter. Man –or woman–, I’ll be a freaking billionaire right now.

Follow Best Practices

As a Software Engineer I will never truly call myself a master. I am a perpertual student of the mastery of my craft.

I am thankful to Fabien Potencier (Symfony ) and Taylor Otwell (Laravel), whom I have never met but I have a deep respect and admiration for their work. It was Laravel and Symfony what inspired me to start writting my own open source WordPress Framework –Which I have not improved in a very long while–.

I am also thankful for PHP FIG, PHP The Right Way, Semantic Versioning, and all of you people out there who have helped me achieve a greater level of mastery. I hope I can further help others achieve their goals too.

Beware, once you start this journey it will make you more exacting on your expectations of code and conventions. Because wasting time, is one of the most stupid things in the world.

This year I accomplished these while working for TruNorth Management

  • Helped migrate a platform from WooCommerce to Shopify
  • Implemented a basic PHP Framework using a couple of Symfony components
  • Built an Restful API on Laravel
  • Pushed for the adoption of single code base projects

DRY is perhaps one of the most important principles in Software Engineering. After you factor in the amount of money a company may waste when they find themselves maintaining the same code –or similar code– accross multiple projects.

It is hell, and it turns bitter the soul of those engineers who get trapped doing the same thing over and over with no end.

Another of the great things that you learn as you better yourself on your craft, is that you want to focus on the significat part of the code. To do this, sometimes you have to give up on developing your own flavor of a library or component.

This year I found Trucker as a PHP alternative to Ruby’s Active Resource. An elemental truth I have found on this day and age of Software Engineering is to be modest and accept that I am not as smart as I think I am. So whenever I have a great idea I search for other who had it first. If no-one has, may be the idea is not so great.

Follow proper process

This are the 4 things I take away from this year. I like standardizing and creating proper processes for software engineering inside a firm. Because it has an impact on the ability and factibility to build solutions

  1. It lowers the learning curve for new developers
  2. It ensures there is consistency across codebases
  3. It saves man-hour money which is great
  4. Allows for sustainable growth

One more thing

And this is simple really. Remeber Yoda’s ABC approach to Software Engineering

Always Branches Create!

2. On working with the WordPress community

First of all I want to say thank you. I have never before had the opportunity to add value to a cause in a non-profit way. Working with the WordPress community has gotten me across the world –Must of the time I pay for my own travel expenses. Sometimes, I get sponsored–.

I keep working hard on developing the local community at home, and supporting the Latin American communities as best I can. However I have not been able to devote more time to coding and contributing to the core and meta due to lack of time.

I am really greatful to everyone on the community for their hard work. Everyone has an opinion and a voice. All concerns are expressed and heard. All decisions are take to better the platform for the bennefit of the community as a whole. This is a lesson I will always treasure.

This year, when someone asked Matt about how Guttenberg could possibly impact third party page-builder developers, his answer was great and honest. I admire him in part because what he has accomplished with WordPress as a project. But my outmost admiration is on how he handles the decision making process.

I have no idea what his –Matt’s– process is. I can see 3 things. The end result, how it was and the possibilities. It is from observing those 3 things is that I arrive to my own conclussions.

A lot of developers –My peers, mostly those who do not write PHP, and a good chunk of those who do– look at me with disdain when I say I love WordPress. That I love working with the core of WordPress and building tools and websites on top of it. Like it is nothing. An yet it runs 30% –Almost– of the web.

If you had such a responsibility, and a community that measures in the hundreds of thousands. How would you manage the criticism on the “shortcomings” of the platform?

One of which I love is when people say “it is not MVC”. It is true. But MVC is so 2009. Last year on The State of the Word I noticed the heavy investment on the WordPress platform to develop a robust API.

If you have eyes to see, you’ll quickly notice how Callypso and the API are a killer-combo. WordPress is quickly improving to become an amazing platform for the development of the future.

Where no matter what you preference on a programming language is, you can communicate with the API and extend its functionality. This is awesome. But what is great, is how they are doing this without breaking the Internet. Food for tought.

Disclosure: I do not work for Automattic, and I have no authority to represent WordPress or any of the Automattic products or brands. I collaborate with the community as a local-meetup organizer and voluntary speaker at community-held events.

3. On losing weight

Back in 2016 I was the happy owner of a dadbod. I mean I still have a dadbod don’t get me wrong. But my former self had a glorious dadbod. Have never being never married or had children, having a dadbod as glorious as mine was an accomplishment.

I ate carbs, drank beer, vodka and tequila and loved to party.  But on January of 2017 I decided to stop eating crap. I started an atkins-like diet on my own while I found a nutrionist I could trust and felt comfortable with.

Once I did, I had only one condition. I drink 1 bottle of wine a week and that is not negotiable. She agreed and we started our journey.

The first month was eye-openning. I learned that vegetables were not part of my meal plan. In fact I could not remember the last time I had eaten veggies. So we started with Green Juices without fruit, and some 3-day detox here and there.

Learning to cook without carbs takes time. But probably the most annoying thing of them all is that you need to learn to hack your nutrition. And by this I mean. Make it easy for you to east healthy.

You have to be prepared to eat healthy at every step of the way. Cause if you deviate for a day, you might deviate for a week or two. I have. In this 11 month journey I have gone astray at least 3 times.

It is hard to come back but if you are resolute, your body will thank you. You’ll notice really fast how leaving bad habits behind is in your best interest and how when you go astray, your own body will ask you to come back to the proper nutrition.

Remember this. At least 70% of your ability to lose weight is based on two simple factors.

  1. Having–And actually following– an appropriate nutrition plan
  2. Caloric deficiency: Eating less calories that you burn

Now caloric deficiency sounds awful. But in fact it just means that you are forcing your body to burn fat from your love-handles. And that feels great.

4. On training and lifting weight

My nutritionist helped me learn how to eat healthy. It is pretty intresting but eating natural things and eating healthy are not the same thing. If you keep eating bread, pastas and carbs as the base of your nutrition it matter really little wether they are “organic” or not. If you have a metabolism like mine, you’ll keep storing fat.

When I finally did lose a little over 30 pounds, it became obvious that it was time to start activating myself to be able to lose more weight.

I do not run. I’ll rant about that another time. I need excercise that demands from my body and keeps me engaged. I know for some people running is that. Well, guess what, it is not for everyone.

So, what to do? Well let’s think like a millenial. Hit youtube and search for things. Go to the App Store because there’s an app for that too. I found several, but I stuck with 8fit –Here’s a link to the body transformations with 8fit page–, needless to say that this became one of my favorite apps on 2017 in a matter of days.

8fit helped took me from nothing to chubby-fit –A chubby person who can do stuff other chubby people can not do, like pushups–. I still use it daily. However after 10 weeks I needed more. I neede to start weight training.

Now thanks again to the millenial-school-of-thought, I searched and found on youtube these channels, which are what I use to develop my routines on the Gym and also when I am on the road.

  • Buff dudes: Hudson and Brandon will make you laugh and get you ripped
  • Athlean-X: Jeff is a certified Physical Therapist and his insights are great
  • Last but not least Peter Carvell from Six Pack Factory

There you have it 3 great sources for videos and routines on how to get ripped. Pay attention to what this guys say. Improve your nutrition cause you will see no results otherwise. Eating-right is 70% of the battle.

This is the first video I watched because I learned I could not do a single pushup.

One more thing. Start slow. Do not try to hit the gym if you have bot worked-out and you are out of shape. Download 8fit, follow the program. Look at Athlean X and Six Pack Factory Channels. When and if you can do what they do, then jump to Buff Dudes routines for the gym. You’ll be better prepared and least likely to hurt yourself.

5. On Cryptocurrencies and the future

From pariah to preacher in under 2 months. That is the way I explain my approach to Cryptocurrencies. And yes because of the loads of capital being poured into the damn things, but I do not have large amounts of money and I am not here to become another Crypto Billionaire.

What got me is the revolution in tech that is happening as I write this article. I have longed searched to find a group of smart-individuals working together to build something larger that themselves –That’s why I contribute to the WordPress community–. And now I have. Smart Contracts, decentralized infrastructure and serverless technology is what’s ahead.

Blockchain and Serverless Technology in a nutshell: What good is to have your information on an app that cannot be accessed because the server is down?

Well none. It is like having no information whatsoever. Solutions are in place to prevent scenarios like this from costing millions of dollars to companies that relly on availability of data. Load balancing, autoscaling, virtualization. And yes, they have shiftted the course we take for the best.

Nevertheless. You still relly on a ISP to host your data. Enter Blockchain.

Do you remember illegal downloads from Torrents? Well torrents are simple enough. A computer dowloads a piece of software that stores a file and share is with the network. When you join the network and request a file. You connect to several “Peers” which start sending you small pieces of the file you requested until you have it on your machine to do with it as you please.

Think that, for your applications. Trully serverless, decentralized data and apps. I felt like the slow-brother of Sir Issac Newton*, being hit in the head with the second-smartest apple in the tree.

There is no way I am not jumping in the ship now and preaching to the world the bennefits of it all. Again, from the technology stand point.

6. On the personal side

It took me 2 years to overcome the passing of a beloved person in my life. As I write this article I still get flooded with emotions just thinking about it. I am not great at being human like that, nor I consider myself to be one of those who wants to be “in-touch” with his emotions.

Emotional intelligence is besides the point here. I just decided to stay true to myself. Let go of sorrow is the best way for me to experience life as it should be. I do not forget the love, I just have decided to stop beating whatever is left of my sould with a stick out of anger, desperation and regret.

I am ready for what’s next.

The unraveling road before me

I have not been this excited about anything in little over 2 years. And the best part of it all is that this year I face greater challenges than the year before, and when everything goes according to plan I will only be facing more and more challening stuff.

This year, my plans concrete goals are as follows

  1. Loose 40 more pounds of fat
  2. Become the proud owner of my own male-killer-bod
  3. Become a master on C#
  4. Develop software on top of Blockchain technollogy
  5. Become a Data Scientist
  6. Attend the WordCamp Europe and learn German in Germany

This are the things I will most definetly make happen unless there are extenuating circumstances that prevent me from it. And by that I do not mean not being able to afford the bus-ride, like the song before. I mean real reasons like getting abducted by Aliens.

Unraveling road?

Yes. I meant it, and here’s why. I have no certainty on where I will be by the end of 2018. I can tell you I will accomplish my previous set of goals because all my energy is on that. But what will happen when I achieve them. I have absolutely no way to say right now.

If I have to guess, is that I will be pursuing a change in carreer where I am able to use my knowledge on Software Engineering, Crypto Currencies and Data Science. Your guess may be better than mine at this point.

Thank you for reading this. I really hope you have a great year in 2018.



* Sir Issac Newton didn’t have a slow brother, and there was no second-smartest apple in that tree.

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