Three Years of Passion for Coding

In November 2011, I decided to try blogging and created the Passion for Coding blog. Three years and 186 published posts later, my blog has grown into a resource for programmers from all over the world. I would like to thank you all for reading, commenting and sharing my posts. Without readers, blogging would be extremely boring.

When I first started the blog three years ago I had to be careful to filter out my own page views from the web server analytics, to not get confusing numbers. In fact, I could see from the web server statistics on what days I had written new posts, solely on the extra hits using the admin interface produced on the web server. That is no longer the case. I’ve so far had visits from 210 countries/territories, which is basically the entire world except a few countries in central Africa and the one exception in Asia: North Korea.

During this year I’ve gradually narrowed the focus on the blog to become more technical and less about the soft sides of software development. I’ve reduced the number of articles on methodology and focused on programming instead. At first I was a bit worried that I might loose quite a few of my readers. I probably did, but I’ve gained even more so I think it was the right decision. It is also in line with a general career decision I made, to focus more on the technical expertise and less on the soft sides. I want to focus more on coding and architecture and that means that I have to focus less on project management.

Highlights of the Year

In January I left C# for a while and tried PHP. The result was a new theme for the blog, based on bootstrap. I made the theme to give the blog needed a better responsive design and I took it the opportunity to try some WordPress development, to broaden my perspective.

In May I started writing on a small series on Owin. The first article didn’t get much attention. I was actually a bit disappointed because I thought it was pretty good. Then when I added the second article, I received a comment by Rick Anderson at Microsoft that he would add it to his identity resource map. The post ended up being linked from http://asp.net as an additional resource for ASP.Net Identity and Owin. With that, the search rank got a boost and traffic from search engines started to increase. Currently, I get a 3.9 average ranking for the search term “Owin” on Google which is currently the single search term generating most traffic. I would like to thank Rick, not only for promoting my Owin posts, but also for the great work on the ASP.NET documentation.

Open Source Work

During the year I’ve also been really hooked by open source work. Mostly the Kentor.AuthServices SAML2 Service Provider, which has also been the subject of (too?) many of this year’s blog posts. But I’ve also made a try with a smaller open source project for handling disappearing cookies when hosting Owin middleware on IIS. Previously I would just have dumped the code in a blog post and let people copy the code. Now I took the step and created a ready-to-use Nuget package with the solution. I think that it has made the solution much more accessible to users and provides better options to push bug fixes, so I will try to continue working that way in the future.

Next Year

With this, the fourth year has started for Passion for Coding. I’ll continue writing and continue to try to write one post a week. I’ve been lagging behind a bit the last few months, but I’ll try to get back on track again. I know that I’ll start the new year with working on bringing Kentor.AuthServices to Sharepoint in parallel with some work on a legacy application. There will probably be blog posts about the experiences from both projects.

Statistics

Finally I would like to share some statistics, as I’ve done before. As you can see there were not many visitors in the early days, but it has been growing. So if you want to start your own blog – do so, but be patient in that gaining traffic will take some time. If you start writing, please drop me a mail or ping me on Twitter to let me see what you’ve created!

Server Logs Google Analytics
Month Visits Page Views Visits Page Views
2011 November 116 771 N/A N/A
2011 December 1190 3005 N/A N/A
2012 January 1245 3002 N/A N/A
2012 February 2336 4899 189 400
2012 March 3934 8518 693 1273
2012 April 7768 16547 1977 3075
2012 May 9964 22316 2877 3889
2012 June 34447 73808 20970 25630
2012 July 15713 31857 4971 6578
2012 August 23482 44868 6330 8455
2012 September 22459 39933 6466 9226
2012 October 121348 206896 78906 89065
2012 November 30773 63411 8688 11421
2012 December 35276 76630 7608 9930
2013 January 51761 104657 17687 22702
2013 February 38717 86175 11342 14422
2013 March 43445 92767 10567 12966
2013 April 52305 102840 10950 13252
2013 May 54622 105624 12097 14197
2013 June 54199 110379 11076 13114
2013 July 61121 115568 11958 14131
2013 August 65348 155728 10618 12662
2013 September 68092 150398 10087 11985
2013 October 58469 121929 10769 12930
2013 November 61365 143645 9814 11737
2013 December 68642 166359 8751 10460
2014 January 79111 252573 10380 12803
2014 February 67806 251910 10442 12480
2014 March 75412 254130 12296 14423
2014 April 70993 174399 13397 15542
2014 May 70572 179106 15885 18465
2014 June 70656 186266 17589 20374
2014 July 83439 235230 20620 24629
2014 August 95770 266827 21856 26481
2014 September 101407 255583 24999 30244
2014 October 100803 306697 26479 32104
2014 November 79294 258058 27150 33356
Totals 1883400 4673309 476484 574401
Dzone Page Views 591099 591099
Totals, including Dzone 5264408 1165500

Looking at the numbers it is a steady growth over time. Google Analytics consistently shows a lower number of visitors than the web server logs. I assume that part of the difference is due to people running blocking plugins in their browsers that prevent Google Analytics from registering them. But most of the difference is probably made up of spam and search bots. The dip in the web server logs numbers for November 2014 strengthens that theory. During November, I had disabled the comment functionality by mistake so I assume that the spam bots gave up on me, while human visitors still increased as shown in Google Analytics.

Software Development is a Job – Coding is a Passion

I'm Anders Abel, an independent systems architect and developer in Stockholm, Sweden.

profile for Anders Abel at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

Code for most posts is available on my GitHub account.

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