Blog 2024 05 08 Quo vadis this blog?

Quo vadis this blog?

I’ve been writing this blog since the end of 2016. After about half a year, I found my ideal schedule. At least one article per week. That means that I’ve been publishing a post for about 350 weeks.

You can imagine that this requires a significant investment of personal time. As a consequence, I have to revisit the idea of writing here every once in a while.

The progress of this blog

There was a short period when I even wrote 2 articles a week but that was not sustainable. I decided that I wanted fewer but higher-quality articles. At the same time, I did and still believe that perfect is the enemy of done, so I don’t overthink articles and keep them in the pipe for too long.

Even if I write certain things that are incorrect - which I try to avoid - there are some usually very kind people pointing them out either in the comments section or in an e-mail. But that wasn’t always the case! There were not always people around to call out for mistakes.

I remember that when I started, I had 2-3 page views a week. One from my uncle, one from myself and sometimes one from a former colleague. I was never really obsessed with these numbers, but I do check them every few months, just to see trends. Nowadays, I have somewhere between 16-20k page views a month

Interestingly, the Pareto principle applies, the vast majority of my pageviews come from a handful of articles and any new article organically will have around 1000-1200 views.

What does this blog give to me?

I asked myself the above question recently.

Why would I ask such a question? After all, I’ve been working on this blog more days than not for the last 7 years. The reason is that I’ve been down for a bit of time recently. It doesn’t have one single reason, there are both personal and work-related parts of it. Long story short, I’ve been very tired lately both physically and mentally.

Then a quick viral infection swept through my whole family which made me take my first sick leave in my professional career of 14 years. That gave me 2 days of rest. Not the good type, but a very much needed one. It was like pushing a reset button in terms of some lifestyle choices, in terms of evening activities and sleep deprivation.

But the question remained and I had to answer it.

Financially, directly, the blog hasn’t brought me a lot. I don’t have sponsorship deals, occasionally I agree to add a link here and there for a little amount of money if I also think that it’s a good match. A bit more frequently, I get the opportunity to review some books. But I only publish reviews if they are positive. That rule doesn’t come from those who send me books, it’s an older personal rule about book reviews. Writing a book is an immense task and whoever publishes a book, deserves respect. From my end, it means that I don’t criticise anyone’s book. Maybe it’s just not a good match for me, but the author worked a lot on it for sure. So if that’s a book I bought, I just don’t write about it. If it’s a book that I got offered, I ask if they want my opinion privately or not.

I also made a few hundred dollars as Amazon referral links over the course of these 7 years. Again, that’s insignificant for people being fortunate enough to work in IT.

Seeing how some fellow bloggers turned their writing activities into paid newsletters on Substack, I started to play with the idea. But I decided not to do that.

Why I started the blog is the reason why I keep it

The roots of this blog originate from my first year in Amadeus in 2013. I had difficult times when I moved from Hungary to France and changed from a database admin job to a developer role. I had a great team and they taught me so much. I kept asking questions and they kept answering without making me feel bad.

I was hoping that one day I could give this help and kindness back - if not to them, then to the next generations of developers.

In 2018, I moved to a team where I wanted to work with Java as I got fed up with C++. Promises were not really held and I ended up doing C++. It was clearly not what I was looking for. I quickly realized that either I learned it well or I’d suffer. I decided to learn it well - enough - and to write about what I learned. I thought that if I had to write about something, I’d learn it better.

After all, this blog is the living documentation - mostly - of my programming interests and learning path.

I might start into some substack ventures, but not about C++ or other languages I learn. This blog has to remain what it started to be. A tool to help me grow professionally and as an inevitable consequence a tool that might help others too.

The best example of this is Parameterized testing with GTest . That’s the single most-read article on this blog. The reason I wrote it? Once, we spent a lot of time deciphering the old documentation of GTest to implement a parameterized test suite at a coding dojo. Then a few months later we didn’t remember how it worked, so we did it again. And then I wrote it down so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time and we started to use the technique in our real code bases as well.

Keeping the blog alive doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t consider sponsorships or some paid articles like in the past so that the blog is completely self-sustainable. But it does mean that I’ll not add general ads, I’ll not turn it into a substack, I’ll not chase views and more importantly, I won’t abandon it.

You might think that this post is useless. It might well be. But it’s also a reminder that behind every blog, there is a human being. There is a life or several lives with all their joy, pain and struggles. Something I hadn’t thought about until recently when I read the lines of a fellow C++ blogger.

Thanks for reading this and for reading my blog.

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