2020 reflections

2020 reflections

What a year it has been. Let's rewind, shall we?

Header image by 1AmFcS on Unsplash.

And just like that, 2020 is almost over. Did you all remember everything that happened when this year started? Chances are nobody did. I certainly couldn't remember off the top of my head. But it's almost over now, and I have nothing to say. Well, other than a big, socially-distanced pat on the back for everyone reading this (and me) on making it this far.

In this post, I attempted to make peace with this incredibly tumultuous year. It's been a tough year. We all felt this. But it wouldn't hurt if we could all come together, celebrating each other's little wins, and reflecting on what can be done better. Which is what I'm going to do for the next few hundred words.

Writer's block

Yeah... this is something that I don't know how to fix. I was on a roll over the first half of 2020, but after that... everything just slowed down.

That said, I don't want to let my writer's block bring me down. Throughout 2020 I've written some pieces that I'm really proud of, like this, this, or even this. It's amazing looking back at the posts I've made this year, or even the previous years, and see how much I've grown better over time. I can now outline my thoughts in words better than I've ever been.

I'll at least try to fix my own writer's block by publishing more stuff on this website. I already have some article ideas on the pipeline, and I'll be as excited as I were to show it to you when I finally have it done.

Actually finishing projects

You know how us programmers always joke about not finishing our side projects? Well, over the past year I've finally finished one! I've shipped TMViz, a web-based streaming overlay for people playing Trackmania (and other racing games) using a controller.

It's the first side project I've released in a while that has actually been used by actual people, and not just me. From the data I've gathered, I've seen this used on 3 Trackmania streamers with a decent following. It gave me enough motivation to keep maintaining this project for the foreseeable future.

Another amazing thing that have happened in 2020 is how I've been churning out projects outside of work. I'm glad to have been trusted by Ainun Najib and Zain Fathoni to head the website team of Kawal COVID-19. It has since become one of the trusted information resources on the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia, with more than 50,000 monthly active users. It's amazing when you know something you built has helped the community at large.

I guess I'm a livestreamer now?

In case you didn't know already, I started streaming on Twitch lately. I started doing this after being inspired by watching my friends do art streams. I've always wanted to bring the feeling of watching art streams into programming, and that's what I've been doing with my live coding streams.

Over time, I started balancing it out by streaming video games. And from that, I started growing a small, but dedicated community of viewers. My Discord community is now full of really nice people, and I'm really humbled to have them along for my own, weird ride.

All this — with the convenience of fully working from home during the pandemic — has allowed me to set a consistent schedule. Then again, I'm not seeing myself as a full-time streamer any time soon. I still have a day-job that pays out well, so I can safely classify streaming as my "side gig".

The friendly people that I've met during my livestreaming journey has also fully transformed my view of Twitch as a platform. It's funny how three years ago, I was really iffy on the idea of Twitch just from the amount of "horror stories" coming from it. But that's not what I see when I go into the smaller, more niche group of streamers/viewers.

It really helped me break out of my shell, and it also indirectly helped improve my public speaking skills. I've started joining local streaming communities, to the point of representing Twitch Indonesia in their stream team. The Indonesian niche of Twitch are far more chill compared to those in Facebook Gaming or YouTube. As they're still a fairly small niche, they're still more willing to help each other grow. That's an atmosphere that I really like.

In unexpected ways, I also took part in spreading the "streaming fever" into other members of the programming community. This was also helped by people flocking into livesteams as a form of entertainment during the lockdown period. People like Sandhika Galih, and Zain Fathoni have started doing their own livestreams, and developer communities are starting to move their events online. More on that later.

Livestreaming has really broken into the mainstream scene in Indonesia this year. Based on my current experiences, and the current growth trajectory, it will only grow bigger in 2021.

Frontend Indonesia

Back in August, I launched Frontend Indonesia out to the public. It has been yet another personal project that's been on the backburner for quite some time. I'm grateful to have people like Angelo, Griko, and Zain help make this project a reality.

My main aim for Frontend Indonesia to be the "melting pot" of the many frontend communities in Indonesia. An elevator pitch for it that I like to use is "Reactiflux, but for Indonesian-speaking communities". From frameworks like React, Vue, and Angular, to languages and technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and TypeScript, everyone has a shared space to discuss all things frontend development, ask for help, post their job openings, and much more.

We're happy people took it with open arms. Within a month, over 1000 people signed up to our Discord community, and our Hacktoberfest event was a success. We also have big plans for 2021, including hosting our first meetup event. Stay tuned!

The rise of virtual events + developer meetups

The COVID-19 pandemic has also sparked the trend of developer communities in Indonesia moving their meetups online. My good friend @mathdroid has also started hosting mini-talkshows with prominent members of the Indonesian developer community on his Discord server. Other communities, like SurabayaJS, have also started moving their meetups online.

This rise of virtual events has also made me speak on more events than last year. I was invited to speak at SurabayaJS. Then I also had the privilege to host a panel discussion at Deep Tech Club alongside some really amazing people. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to be on the same stage with such amazing people I never even thought I'd be on the same stage with last year.

Closing thoughts

Things have certainly slowed down throughout the year due to the... changes that I have to adapt for. And for that, I certainly won't have high hopes for 2021. I truly hope that 2021 will become the year that things will slowly kick back to normalcy. But again, I won't have high hopes on that, or even any promises. But as I said in the beginning. It's worth celebrating all the little wins.

There, I've said my piece.

Now get lost, 2020.

Resi Respati

Web developer based in Jakarta, Indonesia.