Today is codestore.net's tenth birthday. The domain itself was first registered in February 2000 and it existed on an intranet for a few years before that, but, for reasons I forget, I've always taken 9/9/2000 as the actual birth date. Something I used to celebrate in the past.
Ten years! Did I ever think I'd say that? Nope!! That said, ten years is a long time and I can't even remember what on earth I was thinking back then. It was a different me who started this, that's how long it's been going!
Running this site has been truly amazing and it's something I've come to be very proud of and will never regret. It's an integral part of my life that I can't imagine life without it.
So long have I been doing this that I've since bought and renovated a house, setup my own business, got married and had three kids - happily blogging along through all of it.
Highlights of the last ten years that spring to mind include: Blogathon winner, Best Lotus Blogger award, trips to LotusSphere, Bermuda & Paris.
In terms of regrets my only one is in not being confident enough a public speaker to have got about some more and done more of the conference/networking circuit. Perhaps I could have capitalized on the site's success a little more.
Although I shouldn't knock what I have achieved off the back of this site. I wouldn't be where I am now if it weren't for it. I've got a nice house that I've been able to spend enough money on to make it in to a comfortable place to raise my growing family. There's a brand new car on the drive. All this off the back of this site, which allows me to run my own business and provides a steady stream of interesting work. Without codestore I wouldn't have any of the customers I do.
You can see the various incarnations of this site in the archive. Anybody remember the first? How it looks now is probably how it will always look. I like it and it works well. Tried and tested.
One of the things that has always amazed me over the years is how generous you have been with my Wishlist. The surprises have slowed somewhat of late, but there was a delivery earlier this week, which was nice. I have a folder somewhere with all the packing slips of everything I've received over the years. There must be 100 or more of them. Thank you all!
I should also thank Prominic.NET for continually hosting this site for free. Ten years of undisturbed and faultless service. All that in return for a measly link at the bottom of each page. Thanks guys!
I have to admit I'd thought for some time about making this post's title "I quit". Quit while you're ahead and all that. I can't though. This site and you, my readers, are too close to my heart. While it sometimes feels like I'm flogging a dead horse I do still enjoy it, so why stop.
The thought of giving up on codestore makes me quite emotional. As does thinking about how the site is no longer what it once was. What upsets is when I think of the steady loss of long-term readers and those acquaintances built that have long gone. Perhaps I'm too sentimental, but I just don't like to see good things come to an end.
There was once a time when I'd get dozens of emails each week to simply say "love the site" or ask about Domino-related stuff. Now I get none. Well, maybe one a fortnight. This is probably a good thing though, as my family life doesn't leave the time I once had for that sort of stuff. It's still upsetting though, nonetheless.
To a degree the fall in popularity must be because the site is no longer as Domino-focused as it once was. Probably because I've failed on the up-take of XPages. What I do do with Domino is no longer cutting edge nor worth writing home about.
It just so happens that the 10th birthday is happening at a bad time for me and my company. I'm desperately trying to keep afloat in a world where the Domino work on which I once relied just isn't there any more (or at least it's not coming my way). It's a difficult time. Not just for me, but for the family of 6 mouths I need to feed, let alone keep a roof over.
Whereas once I'd do small websites for friends as "pocket money" jobs at night I've recently found myself doing them as "proper" jobs during the day. After all this time as a Domino developer I'm back to creating brochure sites to scrape a living between "real" jobs I manage to get!
Having put all my eggs in one basket I now find myself struggling to transition in a world where being a Domino-only developer doesn't have the job-getting abilities it once did.
The site will continue to live on indefinitely though. I just don't know what I'll be talking about on it. Domino? Possibly, but, to be honest, unlikely. Unless of course I get some wonderful projects coming my way to design some fancy system in Domino and on XPages. I can't see that happening at this rate though. Domino has left me. I didn't leave Domino. Not knowingly, anyway.
I don't know who I am any more. I'm feeling just a little bit lost, scared and lonely. My hope is that I can continue to keep afloat as an independent developer and continue to report back here on the interesting things this has me doing. My fear is having to try and find a proper 9-to-5, which would almost definitely mean working away from home and probably an end to this site.
Hopefully this post is as positive as it's negative. Had I written this a year ago the negative slant might not have been there. What matters, I guess, is that the site is still here and that in the time it's had it has done some good and helped people out. After all, that's what it's here for. I just hope it can continue to help in the future. Whether that's helping with Domino or not remains to be seen.