Nick Charlton


2017 was a tough one.

This year was the start of the implementation of the bad things which came about in 2016. Brexit, Trump and a further, significant, continuation of the expansion of social, racial and economic inequality. Many of these things go back a very long time and so if you’re surprised by them, you’ve not been paying enough attention.

For me, 2017 was exhausting and stressful. But also a time where I got to the stage where I started finding myself and doing the sorts of things I’ve been wanting to do.

At the end of 2016, I took over being the maintainer of administrate, a popular open source project for building admin dashboards with Rails. It’d been abandoned for much of 2016 and seeing a shitty issue irritated me enough to take over maintaining it.

I started with a big issue and pull request backlog and since this has been a relentless stream of work. With the help of my some of my amazing colleagues, Tyson Gach , Pablo Brasero (to highlight two) and a wonderful collection of external contributors (Joel, Carlos, Ben, Rich and many more) we’ve been able to remove a large number of dependencies (including by implementing our own design/grid system), add a much-wanted feature in namespace support, kept track of Rails releases and have worked hard on our handling of internationalisation.

I was able to help get // TODO London started by providing their initial event space (something we’ll be doing in 2018, too). This is possibly the best London meetup and I’m very happy that this worked out so well.

At thoughtbot, we’ve run three events of our own. One about how developers grow, one about design sprints, and finally about our company playbook. I helped with some of the filming of those events, and along with Bruno Antunes and Luke Mitchell put together a significantly updated version of our playbook …and got it printed into a real book!

I started co-hosting Build Phase, a podcast about iOS development (a thing I once did a lot of, and now sadly do a lot less) …but then successfully allowed that to tail off completely. I also joined Chad Pytel for an episode of Giant Robots as a reflection of WWDC 2017.

I was able to expand my interest in Kubernetes, Go, Docker and virtualisation, all of which I’m planning to write about in 2018.

Somewhere in here, I also managed to:

As I began writing this, I was unsure of what 2017 had been (apart from seeing it as a struggle). But as is often the case with reflecting on a year, it turns out to have a lot more in there than you’d realised.

Sadly, I end 2017 only-mildly avoiding a serious burnout. If it’s not the burden of maintaining open-source projects (both those through work and those of my own), trying to assist with sales and marketing efforts with work, or just work in general, it’s been a tough one.

For 2018, I’m focusing on documenting and self-management. For the former: a combination of writing and at least one meetup talk. For the latter, aiming to manage my time and well-being better to try and avoid burning out.

I want 2018 to be a year where I communicate better and mentor more.