In just a few hours 2008 will come to a close and I'll ring in 2009 with my wife, son, and inlaws. This past year has brought some real challenges into my life many of which were unexpected. Fortunately, most of those challenges were met head on, were turned into opportunities, and then accomplishments. I played a major role in a very large datacenter migration project, one that involved months of planning and careful execution. That project, which migrated several thousand Web sites we host at Dealerskins was one of the most detailed, scary, and involved projects I've ever worked on. In the end it went very smooth. As they say, spend 80% of your time planning and 20% executing. Well, something like that anyhow.

There were several other major projects at work, some that took a matter of weeks and some that took over four months. During one part of the year I was managing over seven simultaneous projects involving four full-time Web developers, one DBA, two SQL Programmers, and one designer. It was super hard and I'm still learning while making a ton of mistakes. Many many thanks to the great folks that work with me at Dealerskins! It's been a pleasure working through the obstacles and challenges (and easy stuff).

Outside the office I was able to work on a few small consulting projects and create two new Web sites. The Nashville ColdFusion User Group site was a reincarnation of our previous site, and my wife and I launched a family blog at I continued to function as the user group manager for the NCFUG for the third full year.

During the last half of the year I had the pleasure of speaking at the BFlex conference in Bloomington Indiana, I wrote one article for the Fusion Authority Quarterly, and one article for the new magazine Flex Authority. Lastly, I served as an Adobe Community Expert for ColdFusion (Team Macromedia back in the day) for the sixth straight year.

I traveled to nine different cities spanning the east and west coasts of the United States including San Francisco, Cancun Mexico, and Norfolk VA. The year seemed incredibly busy to me but not when I compare it to other friends and developers (some who are both).

When I peer into my crystal ball I see 2009 being much the same as 2008. My travel kick starts again in a few weeks when I head to New Orleans for the NADA conference. Projects at work are more numerous than I've seen in a long time and we have plans to do some really great things for our customers (some of which have launched in the last two weeks).

On a personal front I plan to blog more, continue writing for magazines, and I hope to speak at more conferences next year. I also want to launch a new personal Web site, one that will replace and It's shaping up to be a fun and busy year.

To everyone who reads this I wish you and your family all the happiness and success you can stand. Happy New Year!!!


Yearly Blogging Stats

Posted by Aaron West at 11:08 AM in ColdFusion, Personal, Site News, Blogging

I took Ray Camden's lead and created a new BlogCFC stats page that allows me to display stats for the current year (year-to-date) or any previous years. You can pass a URL parameter called statsYear in order to filter by a specific year, or exclude the parameter to see the current year.

Looking through my blog stats over the past few years I was a bit suprised to see my blogging has tapered off since 2006. From 2002 through 2005 I posted 34 entries or less each year. In 2006 I ramped up quite a bit with 119 entries. 2007 saw a drop to 105 and this year I dropped even further to 89. My excuse? For one, having a child (late 2006) really threw off my evenings. It wasn't uncommon for me to come home and code for hours or write a few blog posts a week. Now, I spend most nights hanging out with my son. I also attribute my lack of blogging to the insane work hours I've kept. I took on a management role in 2006 that I thought was going to make my life less stressful. I was totally wrong. I find myself working 15-20 hours more a week and the type of work I'm doing is definitely more stressful. I've been twittering lately about my vacations encompassing hours and hours of work (examples here, here, here, and here). All of these things taken together mean I'm pooped at the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is sit down and code or blog for hours.

In 2009 I need to find a way to cut the stress. This will not only allow me to blog more but also provide a better overall quality of life. To that end, my goal for 2009 is to increase my post percentage by 224% by posting 200 entries. This is an insane goal but I thrive on really difficult challenges.