Now that the first two weeks of 2015 have passed it’s time to look back at what wonderful things happened in 2014 and take a look ahead to see what 2015 will bring.

Professionally

The year started well with a trip to the wonderful city of Paris in January, to which I was invited by OCTO Technologies to explain why Hippo CMS is different from other Java based CMS’s and under which scenarios it’s a good fit when you are looking for a new Content Management System. I really enjoyed meeting new people and the great talks and discussions I had afterwards.

The first few months of 2014 were mainly focussed on getting the Hippo CMS Feature and Component library (a.k.a code name Hippo Essentials) ready for it’s first BETA release. We’ve been working quite hard on this with the Hippo Professional Services team. We were really happy to announce the first beta around the same period of the Hippo GetTogether. I’ve you haven’t heard about the setup and feature library I would strongly advise you to watch this video. It will help you kickstart your project.


In February I shifted my focus a bit from Hippo Essentials, which was already in good hands, towards the field of e-Commerce. At that time we had a couple of projects running Hippo CMS in combination with Konakart for which a Hippo Konakart connector had been build in the past. Together with a colleague we refactored some parts of the connector with regards to improving the maintainability and the overall stability and performance of the connector. During the month I was also having some preliminary talks about architectural solutions with some interesting new customers like Condé Nast and Gulp.de, which have gone live since!

March was a month which was mainly focussed on helping out a customer with their mobile strategy. The ever returning question was: “Should we go responsive, create a new channel / mobile website or should we build an app?” This is an interesting question and perhaps requires a separate post, so I won’t go into much detail for now, but I was happy they got a better insight in what they wanted and how they could use Hippo CMS to help them. One other interesting project I did in March was a PoC which required quite some interesting technologies. I had worked on a prototype integration of the Hippo CMS Relevance module in combination with a social media based Sentiment analysis system based on Spring XD, Hadoop and a simple web based service. This was a very interesting PoC, where the sentiment on social media actually decided what particular content was shown on the customers website. This was quite easy to do and a we had quite some fun doing it.

Probably my busiest month of 2014 was May. This was mainly due to three things. We started with a new internal project (code name: Hippo Agile) which you should see a result of when Hippo CMS 7.10 gets released. Next to that I got involved with the ElasticPath + Hippo CMS connector developed by our partner Hinttech and of course the yearly Hippo event: the Hippo GetTogether 2014. The GetTogether this year was another great success. It was bigger, better and more professional then ever. I also gave a presentation on Hippo CMS integration patterns. You can find my talk on the Hippo blog and all other videos can be found on the Hippo CMS community site.

After some steady summer months I had a really nice assignment in August where I was helping out a customer that wanted increase the performance of their implementation. I was able to spend some time with my new profiling and performance load test friends: Yourkit, Gatling, Siege and JMeter. I also spend an interesting day visiting a potential new customer. The potential customer had prepared a PoC day for me and one of my coworkers. During the day we had to implement a set of real life user stories within a couple of hours, while at the same time being asked as a whole bunch of questions about a variety of topics. In my 11 years at Hippo I had never experienced this before. Usually these type of PoC of knowledge days are split into multiple days where business and technical people have either side by side tracks. It was quite the experience, which I hope non of you have to experience. I’m not sure how efficient the day was and how much valuable information they got out of the meeting, but I hope we hear something soon.

October was mainly focussed on E-commerce, but this time Hybris and CommerceTools. Both being implemented by one of our partners for their customer. e-Commerce and experience driven commerce seems to be a hot topic at the moment!

November was a conference month in which I visited Jfall. JFall is the largest Java developer conference in the Netherlands attended by about 1.200 developers. I think Jfall was interesting, but the most interesting talk this year was definitly “Kill the mutants and test your tests” by Roy van Rijn. It was the first time I heard about mutation testing and I’ve tried it within some projects since then and really like it.

Personal

As you might have read in last years review I had quite some health issues, which turned out to be stomach related. Since than I have quit caffeine, stopped drinking soda and all is back to normal again. Not sure why my body reacted like that. I’m not really a heavy coffee drinker or soda drinker, but cutting it down to zero seems to have helped. Other then that Soraya and I bought a new house, which we hope to move into somewhere around April 2015, so we’ve some busy times ahead. Blogging wise it was a little bit quiet on my personal blog, but I’ve started to write the more Hippo CMS specific blogs on www.onehippo.com. You can find the blogs written by me here.

Looking ahead

2015 will be an exciting year because we’re expecting our second child mid January. In March we’re also planning on moving, so we’ll be quite busy. I also hope I can keep my new years resolution by posting at least once a month on this blog. Programming wise I’m looking forward to learning a new language. I’ve been thinking about Scala or Go, but have not made up my mind yet. Any suggestions? Further I’ve decided to follow some online courses on functional and reactive programming. 2014 was a little bit slow with regards to learning new things, so I hope to catch up in 2015.