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Company website launch, Dime series wrap-up and other news

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Yellow Raincoat Logo

My company's logo (and name, by the way)

As August is a quiet month for pretty much everybody and I am spending some time away myself, here is a light post about what I've been up to recently.

Company website launch

I got my first contracting gig in 2015 and, even though I have been an independent contractor since then, I never took the time to get a proper visual identity and website for my company.

I decided it was time to do something about it and released yellowraincoat.co.uk a few days ago:

This is only the first step though – my goal is to migrate this blog to the new domain and design at some point down the line, too.

I've been using Statamic for the first time to build the website, and will most definitely use it again in the future. I feel like the CMS hasn't reached full maturity yet though – I've shared some details in this Twitter thread if you're interested (give me a follow while you're at it):

Dime series wrap-up

If you've been following this blog for more than a month, you probably already know that I recently launched Dime publicly and concluded the accompanying blog series.

If this is news to you though, Dime is a CLI tool written in PHP that I built to help people calculate their crypto-related taxes in the UK.

While my main goals were personal use and technical exploration (both achieved), I admittedly also expected that building Dime in public and documenting my progress as I went would generate more interest than it did.

While some of the articles got some attention (e.g. the one about EventSauce), the overall response has been timid at best and activity on GitHub and Packagist suggests that nobody else is using it.

I'm considering sharing it on Product Hunt and Hacker News at some point, although with the recent release of NativePHP (which also brought to light the library it uses under the hood) I'm also keen on making Dime a standalone program, and might do that first.

In any case, this is another reminder that public reception doesn't necessarily reflect the amount of work you put into something!

Learning Go

I've also started learning Go, a programming language built with concurrency in mind.

I tried to learn Rust a few years ago – I went through two-thirds of the book, then life got in the way and I failed to pick it up again after that.

The issue is I was looking for a companion language for PHP – something I could reach out to when it felt like it was falling short. While Rust certainly is an interesting language with use cases different to that of PHP, it's also fairly hard to learn and requires proper dedication to reach proficiency.

On the other hand, Go seems much more accessible and a better fit as a PHP complement, and something it would be easier to suggest using in a professional context without scaring away other developers who may not be familiar with it.

I've only just watched the first couple of videos of Mohamed Said's new course though, so I'm yet to see if these assumptions turn out to be true.

Available for a new contract

Although it wasn't the original plan, I've been enjoying a break from regular paid word since March.

What happened is I felt tired after my last contract, which was technically demanding and in a domain that is fairly complex (insurance). I had planned to take a couple of months' break anyway, but due to another contract opportunity that didn't pan out, along with a remarkably quiet market, I decided to prolong it throughout summer.

I took this opportunity to tackle a few things that were on the back burner, including the aforementioned company website, wrapping up of Dime and exploration of Go. I also gave my OpenAPI HttpFoundation Testing package some love and brushed up some older blog posts.

I am lucky enough that I could afford such a long break and that I was able to enjoy it without feeling the pressure of finding the next gig. This, by the way, is one of the tradeoffs of contracting – work can be scant at times, but higher rates usually make up for slow periods or extended breaks. Working this way is not for everybody, but it gives me a sense of agency that I've been enjoying for almost a decade.

And I can tell you that those six months spent working on whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased, have been absolutely great. It also gave me space to join a new gym and get into a better routine, read more and spend more quality time with loved ones, and also dedicate more energy to other projects like PHP Sussex.

Being able to do all of this without any sense of urgency nor financial pressure is truly invaluable.

Now my batteries are fully recharged though and I am ready to take on my next challenge. If you or the company you work for need some help with some PHP/Laravel project, if you would like to migrate a development environment to Docker or have someone look at your development workflow or Laravel code base, do get in touch at hello@yellowraincoat.co.uk.

There is now also a beautiful website you can refer to if you need more information about me and what I do 😉

That's all I've got for you in this issue. This is only the second time I post this kind of update (the first one can be found here) – don't hesitate to tell me what you think in the comments below, or by email at hello@yellowraincoat.co.uk.

These behind-the-scenes as a blogger and contractor in particular are something I'm considering doing more in the future, so let me know if you found them interesting.

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