This year has seen some significant changes in my day-to-day life. Not only am I now a dad, but I also have a new job.
Other than those small changes, this year has seen some stagnation, which is fair considering I now have less free time on my hands, but it’s also part of why I changed roles. As a result, I’ve found it a little harder to write my review this year.
What happened in 2021
The positives that really stand out this year:
- William: I now have a son (we share a birthday), and it’s absolutely amazing being a dad. He’s a very happy little baby, who’s currently learning how to crawl. He’s just a bit fussy when it comes to food and sleep. While I’m not as exhausted as some parents, I certainly have a lot less energy and spare time than I used to!
- New job: I decided it was time to take the next step in my career by moving into a more leadership-focused role. I’m still working in the identity space, but in this role, I’m looking to broaden my horizons a bit and concentrate on my personal development.
- Umbraco MVP: My old colleagues at RSK nominated me for an MVP award from Umbraco, the ASP.NET CMS. This award was in recognition of my contributions porting some of the identity parts of Umbraco across to ASP.NET Core.
The state of scottbrady91.com
This year has been a strange year for traffic. Some traffic loss coincides with some Google updates, others with articles naturally aging out. I’ve recovered some traffic by updating and refreshing content, but as you can see, traffic still dipped again over the summer.
Despite a few sleepless nights, I did manage to release 15 articles, 4 of which contain MF DOOM references. Topics included more cryptography in .NET, Umbraco OpenID Connect tutorials, and standards & attacks.
I once again played with this site’s design, removing most of Bootstrap in favor of a customized version of Tailwind’s typography plugin. I’m happy with how the site looks on mobile, but I’m still not convinced with the desktop version. I’ve also slightly tweaked the colors I use to make things a bit more readable. I also switched all URLs to lowercase to make things more consistent across the site. I may have annoyed RSS users with that last one.
I migrated my comments from Disqus to Hyvor around mid-year. Unfortunately, Disqus has made some poor privacy decisions over the years, and after reading an article from the creator of Hyvor, I decided to move. While this meant that I lost some referral traffic coming from Disqus, I don’t imagine this was particularly qualified traffic. Migrating was relatively simple, and the team at Hyvor quickly addressed any issues I experienced.
I also migrated my newsletter from Mailchimp to Revue, which has allowed me to improve my newsletters from a monthly digest to a personalized roundup of new articles and changes on the website. Moving to this approach has also seen a 50% increase in subscribers.
Top 5 articles released in 2021
You really liked my content around general identity and security topics this year. This is great news for me, as these articles are much simpler to maintain than coding tutorials that can quickly become outdated! However, as you would expect, they do typically take longer to get right, and I often sit on these for months before publishing them. Motivation, I feel, is the biggest issue as I’m drawn to quick wins. That is unless someone’s upset me enough to get a full write-up about why they are wrong.
- Understanding identity tokens
- Client Authentication vs. PKCE: Do you need both?
- Authenticated Encryption in .NET with AES-GCM
- Beware of Password Shucking
- Perfecting the password field with the HTML passwordrules attribute
2021 in pictures
Plans from 2021
Last year I set some relatively conservative plans, most of which I got sorted before my son was born. So, I didn’t do too badly.
- Keep on losing weight - yep, right now, I have a nice big Christmas belly, but throughout the year, I’ve become much happier with how my face looks
- Another Pluralsight course - no. I released SAML at the beginning of the year, but when I found the time and was in the mood to update one of my Pluralsight courses, Pluralsight went into a production freeze
- Update old articles - yep, lots of updates across the board, giving old articles a boost in popularity. Notable improvements have gone into my token exchange article and IdentityServer article
- A little more crypto - yes, and as expected, I kept it to C#. I even wrote about XML signing 🤢
Plans for 2022
- Write about some other OpenID Providers - I’ve ignored most identity vendors since working with and advocating IdentityServer in my day job. Now I want to take the opportunity to look at other providers and how they are doing things
- Keep on losing weight - I made some good progress in the latter half of the year and started to become happy with how I look in pictures, so I’m going to keep it up
- Pursue external sources of income - I’ve debated introducing Carbon ads, but I don’t feel they would bring in enough to warrant any performance or privacy issues. Creating a Pluralsight course is a hard slog where I have to put everything else on hold for three months and then take another three months to recover. Maybe there’s something else out there
- Grow my leadership skills - For a medium-term goal, I want to learn how to manage more team members and more teams. My long term goal is to manage managers
- Keep exploring languages and frameworks outside of ASP.NET Core - I’ve probably learnt all I want to from C# and ASP.NET Core. I’ll still blog about it, but now I want to subject myself to the awful tooling of other platforms and expand my general software development skillset. We’ll see how that goes…
Happy New Year!