Suddenly it’s December, another year done. I’m not really sure what kind of header a post like this needs, so my “year in github” seems appropriate, at least for now. But life doesn’t get any easier, so maybe a bit of context to start. I have never really got into regular blogging, annual reviews, or any of this self-review time, as it were. We have had two kids in recent years and the years have flown by. The eldest is autistic and the youngest has been reaching milestones for double his age, so supporting them develop is great fun, interesting and a challenge, at times.
2023 started with a significant change for me, a new job. The last time I changed jobs was back in 2014 when it felt like a “getting started” change. Back then I was contracting after graduating and had found myself learning python on the job, where we built an off-line django application. The move to Realbuzz in 2014 took my work with django online, gathering lots of experience with AWS over the years providing services for some of the biggest running events in the world. The time there is part of what made the change this year significant, but also it was a move to GCP and a different application architecture alongside a much bigger userbase than I’d worked with before.
Another thing that 2023 started with was a release candidate for django-cms version 4. This next version came about through a project undertaken by one of the members of the django CMS Association (dCA) to provide a version of django-cms that was better suited to an enterprise scale business. The plan for the year was to design and build a new version of django-cms.org using version 4, but that’s proven to be a slow process so that’ll now take place in 2024. But that should now happen using a final/public/whatever we call it build of django-cms 4.1 which has developed a lot from the initial dCA decision to bring version 4 to pypi. One of the complications in developing for a specific business is that usecases and processes are specific to how they function. So as more and more people have started to test the new project out, issues have been resolved and packages have been improved based on a broader set of contributors. Another aspect of this release that’s slowed us down is documentation. When the dCA started to look at bringing 4.0 to a releasable state there wasn’t very much documentation and almost all of the developers weren’t contributing to the project, so there was a knowledge gap and a need to write documentation that would be able to support the release.
A year trying to bring that package to release reminds me that open source is hard, and alongside the work to create a new website for django-cms, I’m reminded of the lack of frontend/design talent that I see in open source contributors. Not to say that there isn’t anybody who can do it, but there’s far more of us that are backend orientated. django-sql-explorer that I’ve been maintainer of for years is ending the year on a positive. The author of the app, after a few years away from the project has come back with enthusiasm to get involved again. So I’m sure we will soon have a new release out with support for django 5.0 amongst other changes, and perhaps some new features coming from some old issues that have been waiting for Chris.
And a final note on something from the tail end of the year that came as a very pleasant surprise was being invited to join the Django Software Foundation (DSF). I was rather shocked that people seemed to know who I am, a very similar feeling to my first conference in Porto recently.