Thomas Ardal

Freelance software consultant and entrepreneur building SaaS applications like elmah.io

2012 Retrospect

Another year of great experiences has come to pass. Just like last year, so much has happened during the last twelve months. Indeed, this year I had some events in my life which definitely dampened my personal projects. In January I was no-moted to Tech Lead at eBay. During the summer my father in law was diagnosed with intestinal disease, and at the end of the year, my wife and I had our second child, a beautiful daughter. Just like 2011, having less time forced me to focus on important and meaningful projects.

Chrome extensions
I spent a lot of time in 2011 playing with extensions for Google Chrome. In 2012 I came to the conclusion that even though coding JavaScript is fun, developing Chrome extensions isn’t monetizable. I spent a little time developing a DMI weather extension with a former colleague and also found time to combine all of my existing extensions into a single extension simply named gInfinity.

thomasardal.com
17 blog posts were published on thomasardal.com compared to 27 posts last year. I still love blogging, but I just don’t have a lot of time to spare. I’m still pretty happy with my effort in this area, though.

Hackernight
Together with my former colleague Troels, I founded the group named Hackernight. The idea behind Hackernight is simply about a bunch of guys getting together to code in their spare time, with projects one night a month. The group is still very active even though I haven’t participated in the last 4 meetings. It’s amazing what you can get done during 6 hours of free coding.

HippoValidator.com
My key focus from last year was HippoValidator.com, and I worked a whole lot on this site during my participation in Hackernight. The site is live with a killer design and some nice new features. The next step is to build a monetizable part of the project.

Mobile development
Mobile development always interested me, but I never really had a job which required me to write mobile applications, and the few attempts I had tried something on my own didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. 2012 has seen sort of a breakthrough for me in this area. My co-worker Casper and I decided to start implementing apps for Windows Phone under the name Limited Apps. During H2 we implemented 9 Windows Phone rating apps all based on the same backend, a fruit and vegetables app, a video poker app and an app helping car buyers to spot scammers (together with the website kmtjek.dk). In addition Casper did a Windows 8 version of one of our rating apps and I did one for Android. Implementing all these apps have probably been the biggest learning experience for me this year.

MSBuildShellExtension
My open source MSBuild shell extension from back in the days got a major update, primarily driven by Rami, the talented developer on the project.

NuGet Package Visualizer
One of my last projects of 2012 has been the NuGet Package Visualizer. NuGet comes with its own visual representation of a packages.config file, but I need one able to show me when new packages are available. The project resulted in a small console application able to generate a DGML file showing your NuGet references across a project or solution.

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