Year in Review 2018: Key Learnings and Personal Achievements

Today is the last day of 2018, this year, lots of amazing things happened in my personal and professional life in 2018. I can’t thank enough for 2018 for such a wonderful year in my life. Last year, I wrote similar kind of post 10 Things I Rocked in 2017 to self-review my work and achievements in 2017. If you are a reader or follower of my blog a.ka. XCBlog, either on my personal blog or Medium or DZone then you must be passionate about iOS Engineering activities beyond writing feature development code(Swift/Objective-C) in Xcode. There are already so many Swift and iOS blogs exist on the internet but XCBlog covers geeky things in iOS engineering activities in the Apple ecosystem like infrastructure automation, scripting CI/CD pipelines, dealing with code signing, managing complex iOS infrastructures, dependency management etc. XCBlog has been always ahead of time to cover the new things in the iOS automation and DevOps space. In this post, I will cover key learning, achievements, success, failures and well-being that was part of 2018.

1. Thought Leadership 

It really feels great when the tech industry appreciate the work and hard work really pays off. It’s obviously not an overnight process, it’s like an SEO, the real value of the content/work comes in picture gradually.

It’s a very proud moment for me when I got a place in the DevOps 100 list published by TechBeacon. The TechBeacon has published DevOps 100, the list of top 100 DevOps leaders, practitioners and experts to follow on Social Media. TechBeacon hand-picked list of 100 exceptional writers, speakers, and leaders who can teach you a great deal about DevOps. The topics include General DevOpscloudcontainersserverlessmonitoring, systems engineering etc. I have been classified under the General DevOps section for my contribution in DevOps and CI/CD for iOS apps. You can read my entire DevOps journey in detail here.

Another proud moment for me when got featured as Top Technology Influencers of 2018 list by FitSmallBusiness. It’s pleasure to be there in the list of the top technology influencers. FitSmallBusiness scouted the web for technology influencers with a robust social media presence and put together the list below of the top Technology Influencers of 2018. They found that the influencers listed have outstanding credentials, expertise, and skills pertaining to the technology industry, as well as an impressive quantity of social media followers.

2. The launch of  XCTEQ Limited

The biggest ever achievement of 2018, is the launch of my own London based company XCTEQ Limited. The mission of the company to enable the Mobile DevOps & Intelligent Test Automation practices within organisations and produce rich marketing content for the clients. I work for XCTEQ limited hours usually over the weekend as I still want to work full-time for the long term. Currently, XCTEQ produces content in terms of blogs or white papers for its clients but the plan is to hire and train other authors. The key benefit of working with XCTEQ clients like Bitbar and Nevercode is I get exposed to the shiny new tools and technologies well ahead of time. e.g Working with Nevercode got me an opportunity to with Flutter and Codemagic CI/CD for Flutter apps. Similarly working with Bitbar gives me chance to try the world’s largest AI driven app testing solution also known as AI Testbot to test mobile apps using Artificial Intelligence. You can find more about the XCTEQ here

3. Tech Blogging(75+ Posts)

Being the Tech blogger, I have written around 75 posts this year. Some of them are written on my personal blog and others are written for clients or employer.

Tech Blogs

  • 60 Posts on XCBlog (Personal Blog)

This year I managed to write to 60 posts(including this) on my personal blog these posts are also reposted on Medium and DZone tit means, I managed to write 5 posts per month just on my personal blog. You can read all these posts on the

  • 11 Posts for Bitbar (XCTEQ Client)

There are 11 posts written on the Bitbar blog the posts including XCUITest 101 series and some other AI-based testing techniques for mobile apps. You can read all my posts here

Nevercode provides CI/CD solutions to mobile apps. Currently, Nevercode is going full on withFluter.They partnered with Google and announced the Codemagic CI/CD for Flutter apps. I wrote following blogs on Flutter

  1. CI/CD of Flutter Apps with Nevercode (Before the launch of Codemagic)
  2. CI for Mobile SDK with Nevercode
  3. Painless Testing of Flutter apps
  4. Flutter Vs React Native: A Developer’s Perspective ( The most popular post)
  5. Why iOS developers pay attention to Flutter in 2019 (Getting Popular)
  • 2 Posts for Yoox Net-A-Porter (Employer)

This year, Yoox Net-A-Porter launched the blogging platform for the technology blogs on Medium. There are various other posts re-posted on the YNAP-Tech publication but two posts on CI/CD and iOS Code reviews are specific to what we have done for improving CI/CD workflow of Mobile frameworks. These posts are

  1. Enterprise CI/CD of Mobile Frameworks 
  2. Automating Code Reviews with SwiftLint and Danger

Blog Series

Never done blog/tutorial in series before but I got a suggestion from a friend that I should do the series of the posts so I have published 3 blog series this year

  1. iOS Code Signing Tutorials 
  2. XCUITest 101 Tutorial on Bitbar Blogs (Detailed ebook will be published soon)
  3. WWDC 2018 Coverage

Analytics: Average 75K Views/Month on Medium

XCBlog also gets re-posted on Medium to reach to the more audience. I post articles that have been distributed to the several to various publication but there is dedicated publication for XCBlog on Medium. I was really surprised to see that stats of my Medium publication, there is average 75K views and 30K reads per month without any marketing. Here is a tweet posted with a screenshot of the stats.

4. Announced iOS DevOps Book

Another adventurous announcement I have made in 2018 was to write a book on iOS DevOps. The goal of this book is to share the knowledge of iOS CI/CD, native apple developer tools and bringing other DevOps practices to the iOS world. The book has half finished at the moment, the tentative table of content of this book can be found here. I am hoping to release this book mid-2019 as there is still a 50% of work to be done.

5. Public Speaking Tech Conferences 

In  2018, I have spoken in the 5 different conferences and meetups in the UK. The

  • Automation Guild

Automation Guild is an online conference where I have given a talk on “Getting Started with XCUITest for iOS Apps”. The preview of my talk is available here 

  • Vapor London

At the Vapor London meetup at the BBC, London office, I have spoken on stubbing XCUITest with Vapor. The slide of my talk is available here.

  • iOS Dev UK 2018

This is one of the great conferences I have attended this year. Luckily I got a chance to speak at the conference on the topic of iOS DevOps. You can read the detailed conference report here. Also, slides of my talk are published here.

  • Test.bash() Manchester UK

At the test.bash(); conference, I have given a talk on Scalable XCUITests within iOS Pipelines. The video of this talk available on the Ministry Of Testing dojo site.

  • QA Financial Forum, London

At the QA-Financial event on The QA E-Commerce Forum in London, I got an opportunity to join the panel discussion on DevOps for Mobile apps and AI-ML based testing tools. You can find the details of the event here.

6. Organised 8 London Tech Meetup  

Being an organiser of the two biggest tech meetups i.e London Jenkins Area Meetup and London Test Automaton in DevOps, I managed to organise some great events on the trending topics of 2018 like Jenkins X, mabl, New Selenium IDE etc. Please check out  London Jenkins Area Meetup and London Test Automaton in DevOps for details.

7. 2018 Open Source Projects 

Continuing from the past year, the popular open source project has been moved to the XCTEQ GitHub organisation. This year, I have added two more tools the existing tools as Apple announced App Store Connect API.

  • XCToken

XCToken is a Ruby library to generate on-demand tokens for the AppStore Connect API so that we can create tokens using this library without the need to write custom scripts on Continuous Integration Servers. Checkout XCToken on Github Here

  • altool: Fastlane Plugin

This Fastlane plugin can be used to upload IPA to iTunes Connect using altool. You can read more about this plugin on Github here

8. UK Permanent Residency

That was the biggest relief of all my time in the UK. In 2018, I got a permanent residency in the United Kingdom which lifts all the bans of changing the employment, writing a book, being an entrepreneur and many more things.  From December 2018 onwards, I got all this freedom. In 2019, I will be looking for new challenges, exciting roles so contact me if you can challenge me with your tech infrastructure problems.

9. Lessons Learned

Along with the successes in 2018, there are some lessons I have learned. Some of the lessons are

During Feb to June 2018, my personal website got hacked with SEO spam. It means when my website appears in the search result then the users are taken to the Canadian pharmacy website. I have suffered this pain for a few months and try to debug the WordPress issues myself as hosting provider can’t help me enough. After lots of attempts, I managed to remove all the hack from the database and got back with the clean website.

Lesson Learned: Always have a secure website with a proper SSL certificate. Now I have all my websites with SSL certificates and security mechanism in place.

  • The rebranding of  Saffron Apple to XCTEQ

When I announced the company it was called ‘Saffron Apple” but after detecting potential conflicts with Apple Inc. I have to rebrand the Saffron Apple to XCTEQ limited. I have covered all my pain in this blog post.

Lesson: Take professional advice before launching your own company to avoid trademark issues.

  • Doing all these things with Kid and Family is not straightforward

I got a 4-year-old son, he demands to play with him all the time when I am on holidays or at home. I couldn’t resist to play with him or spent time with family. I have to be strong on myself, I can only work on my things when my son is happily going to bed. I don’t want to ruin his happiness, childhood because of the things things I am doing for the tech. I have prepared myself to work extra hours when my son went to bed.

Lesson Learned: My family and Kid is always my first priority. No doubt, I am passionate about tech but that’s my secondary thing after my family.

10. Looking for 2019

I am looking forward to 2019 with lots of exciting things, I have already lined up with some exciting things in 2019 but I want 2019 to challenge myself technically and professionally. Before I end this post, I wish all of you and your families  Happy New Year 2019. Take good care of yourself and your family.