3 years at Gfinity and first year as a Tech Lead
I’ve officially spent 3 years working at Gfinity PLC now. I also finished my first full year as the technical lead for my team. This year was definitely a mixed-bag as we had lots of changes in the company and had to say goodbye to a lot of talented developers. But, We also had new team-members who have absolutely killed it since joining. Being able to have a big say in the hiring process has allowed me to be more selective when picking new hires. We also managed to accomplish a lot this year, with the following achievements being the highlights for me:
- Migrated to a new ad-tech partner to increase our revenue per session and better per page revenue breakdowns.
- Rolled out a lot of performance improvements which led to all the sites passing the Core Web Vitals assessment. Our sites also load in less than 2 seconds on average now.
- Migrated from Nuxt 2 to Nuxt 3 and from Vue 2 to Vue 3.
- Launched Starfield Portal which ended the year with 1.5 million page views in just 5 months after launch.
- Launched game databases for Starfield and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- Deployed our custom content analytics dashboard with Nuxt 3 and a site health monitoring dashboard with Grafana.
- Improved our deployment process by adding support for feature flags and A/B testing.
- CMS workflow improvements including a mass link replacement tool, customizable automatic internal linking, built-in integration for freelancer payments and a draft and review workflow.
- Redesigned the navigation experience and added support for easier homepage content curation.
The recent developments with AI and the changes in the ad tech market are definitely big challenges for publishers like us. But, we’re confident that our plans for growing our community, increasing engagement and augmenting our content production with custom AI tools will help us grow bigger than ever.
Learning new tech, two new projects and a home server
It has also been a busy year for my personal projects as well. I launched two new side projects this year:
- Remote Dev Jobs: A job site focused on helping developers get remote tech jobs.
- Smart Spend: An android app to help you plan your expenses and be more mindful of your spending habits.
I didn’t get to add all the features that I wanted to for these projects, but I’m glad that I actually shipped them. I definitely want to push out improvements to them in the next year and market them better.
It was surprising to learn that I published 6 blog posts this year (I know it’s not that much but I only published 3 last year). I also started to use an old laptop as a home server. I mostly use it to manage my media library, run a self-hosted alternative to google photos, run self-hosted versions of LLM chatbots and run automated backups. Sometimes it can be frustrating to maintain and fix issues but self-hosting different services locally has helped me improve my knowledge of docker and it’s also just fun to try out new things on your own local server.
I spent a lot of time learning new technologies as well in 2023. These are the main things that I learn this year:
- Finished a masterclass in Nuxt 3.
- Learnt Golang for backend development.
- Learnt a little bit of Elixir and the Phoenix framework. Elixir might be my favorite new technology that I discovered in 2023.
- Did a few courses on Langchain.js and Prompt Engineering. Looking forward to integrating this more into the projects that I built in 2024.
- Took a look at quasar again for building mobile apps
- Discovered n8n and wrote a few automated workflows using it.
- Learnt more about how docker containers work.
- Used Supabase as the backend for a few projects.
- Started using Prisma and Drizzle for my typescript projects. Prisma has the better docs and a bigger community but I prefer the drizzle syntax a lot more.
Plans for 2024 and the perfect tech stack
I spent a lot of time exploring new tech in 2023 but for 2024 I want to focus on getting better with those technologies and launching more projects. So, without further ado, I want to share the perfect tech stack (for most developers) in 2024.
And the best tech stack is…
It’s Laravel. I know a lot of people who hate PHP might disagree but I don’t think there is a better option than Laravel for building web-apps as a solo developer.
I spent a lot of time comparing different frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Nuxt.js, Next.js, Sveltekit, ASP Dontnet, Golang and HTMX, Phoenix, etc but nothing came close to Laravel.
When you’re building something quick and you don’t have the luxury of having millions of users, nothing beats Laravel with it’s simplicity, extensive documentation and fantastic ecosystem.
I would love to use something like Typescript, Go or Elixir for my main language but they just don’t have a framework as mature as Laravel right now. I will still be using Vue and Nuxt for the UI layer because I don’t believe livewire can support building the highly interactive and responsive UIs that I want in my projects. I would also love to build some smaller services with Golang and explore data science and machine learning with Elixir. So for 2024, I'm planning to use this tech stack for my projects
- Backend APIs with Laravel
- BFF API with Nuxt
- Vue.js for the frontend
- Golang for performance critical APIs and tooling
- Elixir for data science and machine learning
- Tailwind and PrimeVue for styling and UI components
- Postgres as my database
- Vercel for frontend hosting
- Fly for backend hosting
- Capacitor for mobile apps (with ionic or quasar)
- Electron for desktop apps (tauri does look interesting too but no sure about rust)
I still have some doubts about my tech choices, mainly how context switching between multiple languages will affect my productivity but I think the trade-offs are worth it.
I also want to mention how being more reflective about my goals has helped me this year. I’ve started to track my time with toggl and do a weekly, monthly and quarterly review in notion. This has helped me track my progress more consistently while being flexible enough to change my goals when needed so I will definitely continue using this practice and would recommend it for anyone struggling to track their goals.
To sum up, I will be focusing on on the following things in 2024:
- Launch more projects
- Get proficient with my tech stack
- Connect with more developers
- Get better at marketing
- Publish more blog post
- Contribute regularly to open source
- Redesigning my personal site