The Reason

Scripting has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. I love automating annoying, repetitive jobs, so I don't have to do them anymore. So I'd always been interested in the dev side of things and wondered if I could make a go of it.

I didn't plan on joining the #100Days movement (and don't have one of those "Tweeter" account things, to tell other people about it), I really just wanted to set this goal of improving my software development skills. However, I'm terminally lazy slash quite busy outside of work, so I set of goal of trying to practice coding every day.

This wasn't because I'm super good at goal setting, precisely the opposite. It's because I knew if I set a goal "Try code 4 hours a week" or something similar, I'd always be "too busy" to do any work on it each day. The only way, I thought, was to allow myself no excuses, no wiggle room, just every day, pick up the damn keyboard and start typing. And hey, it worked!

I managed to "work on my coding" every day, for at least 30 minutes, for 180 days straight!

By "work on coding", I defined as either a) coding b) reading coding documentation or occassionally c) watching a tutorial video etc.

Tool Recommendations!

For the persistent procrastinator, there's nothing like "optimizing your workflow" with some great tools, to make you feel like you're making progress... without actually doing anything ;)

Here are some of the cool tools that I used!

Visual Studio Code

Because it's awesome!


There are loads of time tracking apps out there, but I liked this one because it has...

  • Simple interface for starting/stopping time tracking
  • Various ways to categorize time entries (narrative, project, client, tags)
  • Heaps of integration options! Their browser extension integrates with loads of different web apps like Trello, Salesforce, Basecamp, Zendesk etc. so you can click a little button and start time tracking right from the other app!
  • An API. Super handy, so I can extract the data or start/stop timers just from a terminal.

iDot Habit

I got onto this app after reading about the bullet journal method of tracking habits, and I liked the mind-hacking nature of compelling yourself to do something simply because you didn't want to "break the streak".

I tried a couple of other apps, but found this was a great combo of a simple UI, but with enough customization possible hidden behind a few menus etc.

So, What Did I Do?

I really didn't want to spend 100+ days on "coding" and come out having just watched a bunch of tutorials. So, watched a few Getting Started type vids, then tried to dive right into a project.

I really recommend this way of learning, but with a healthy dose of RTFM in there. There's bits of the VueJS Docs (like Reactivity In Depth) that I've read 3-4 times over, and each time I'll pick up another "gotcha".

Learning by doing is great, but its much easier for something to stick if you understand the why.

I attempted 4 different projects during this time (in this order):

  • A website for a makeup artist, using Boostrap, HTML & CSS, and hosting from Azure Storage
  • Vue ToDo - a ToDo app, just to get me familiar with VueJS
  • Vue Racks - a datacentre rack management web app, using VueJS
  • This blog - built using Nuxt, VueJS and Azure Static Web Apps

The Vue Racks project was definitely the largest - almost 80h in total However, I'm still amazed at how much I created in 80h, versus the utter lack of amazing-ness of Vue ToDo, which took me 25h!

It just shows you the learning curve that you go through, when first coming to grips with a new thing. The makeup website took hours for quite a little amount of progress, but refreshed me on some basics of HTML, CSS & JavaScript.

Then, the Vue ToDo app introduced me to "modern JavaScript apps", with all the cool kid problems like routing and state management.

I went back to Vue ToDo quite a few times when first building Vue Racks, trying to remember how I'd done something, but managed to build the initial prototype within a few hours.

Then, this blog is a bit of a blend of all the previous projects - Static Web App hosting, but using Nuxt/Vue for the static site generation, and learning how to get some of those basic HTML things like script tags into Nuxt, and then some CI/CD by way of Github Actions, to actually get the site to build & deploy!


All Done?

All up, I did just over 150h, and coincidentally, ended on New Years Eve - 180 days later.

It was a great challenge, and I don't think I would have done it if I didn't genuinely enjoy the coding.

My plan is to keep going in 2021, but now I know I can stick to a goal, I'll be allowing myself a few more breaks.

Hopefully I can post a follow up to this in 2022 detailing how much more I've learned in the next 12 months!