Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a yearly tradition: the Year in Review edition of The Catch Block!

A handpainted sign reads "Happy New Year" and is surrounded by pine tree branches.
Can we just get to 2021? Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

In this edition, let's look back at (really not great) year that was 2020 to find the top events, reads, and people in the world of programming this year.

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The Pandemic

We can't really acknowledge 2020 without talking about the single biggest event this year: the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masked medical workers conduct COVID testing outside a testing center.
Photo by Jakayla Toney / Unsplash

Health issues aside (as I am certainly not qualified to discuss those), living in a COVID world has changed how we work. The vast majority of us are now working from home, at least temporarily, and have had to get used to the issues that come along with that.

On the one hand, being able to wake up later and not have to commute is fantastic! On the other, many of us are missing that person-to-person interaction and collaboration that comes with working in an office, and the connections it can lead to. Remember: this is not a normal situation, and it's OK to not be OK right now.

But there is hope: a couple vaccines have been approved and are being distributed to first responders and medical workers as you are reading this. At some point in the future, we will have reached herd immunity, and much of our pre-COVID life will be able to come back. We just need to hold out until then.

As I told my kids: this will almost certainly be the only time we have to deal with this kind of situation in our lifetimes.

With the elephant in the room sufficiently acknowledged, let's turn our attention to some major events that happened in the programming world this year.

Events in the Programming World

My Favorite Things I Wrote

In February, I published a series of posts about how to improve your technical speaking skills. Though it didn't get as much traction as I would have liked, I'm still proud of it, and I use many of the tips in this series in my own talks.

Back in July I switched the design of Exception Not Found to a new, paid Ghost theme called maido. I am still extremely happy with this design, primarily because it lets me get some color up in my blog. You, dear subscribers, are the reason I was able to get a theme that costs real money in the first place.

A screenshot of the front page on December 18th. Apparently I like yellows and pinks?

A while later, in September, I started my longest mega-series yet: C# in Simple Terms. The goal of this series was to introduce concepts in C# readers who might be familiar with another programming language, but needed a way to more easily understand how C# functions and what kinds of features it has. You, dear readers, should stay tuned, because a special announcement will be happening concerning this series after the first of the year.

The Best Reads of 2020

Libary of Stuttgart
I wish I could include all of them. Photo by Gabriel Sollmann / Unsplash

In keeping with the spirit of this issue being the year in review, here are the best articles and blog posts I read this year. Each of these were featured in at least one issue of The Catch Block.

Dyeeerroooam BOOM!

Blogger of the Year: Khalid Abuhakmeh

I did a study of all the issues of The Catch Block that I published this year, and in my Quality Reads section, one name appears more than all the others: Khalid Abuhakmeh.

His personal blog (khalidabuhakmeh.com) is chock-full of tips for C#, .NET, and Microsoft-realm programmers, most of which are at least interesting, if not straight-up fantastic. One of his articles was featured all the way back in issue #1, and it seems like he gets an article into the newsletter every third or fourth issue. And this is without even mentioning that he also writes for the JetBrains (makers of Resharper) blog.

Seriously, check his stuff out. If you're anything like me, you'll love both the C# content and the retro-future design for his post headers.

Thank You Subscribers!

I can't do any of this (Exception Not Found, Blazor Games, The Catch Block) without you and your support. Your subscriptions enable me to do more projects, write more posts, send more emails, and generally be as good as writer as possible without having to rely on ads. I am in your debt.

A very sincere thanks goes to Michael, Paul, Kerry, Mahery, Joseph, Robert E., Olivier, Nicolas, Mark, John, Vishal, William, Christian, Mike, Peter, Robert C., Danilo, Dhanuja, Loren, Malcolm, Alexandra, Franz, Frederick, Sandor, Panduranga, Emily, Neyt, Timothy, and Felipe, plus those whose names I do not have because Stripe did not require it at the beginning :). Your continued support means I can keep doing what I love: writing the best technical articles on the web.

The words "thank you" light up the night on a darkened city street.
Seriously. Photo by Pete Pedroza / Unsplash

Previews and Announcements

  • No cookie for you (Nat Friedman) - Apparently GitHub hates cookie banners as much as everyone else, so they decided to get rid of them by getting rid of all non-essential cookies.

Quality Reads

Catch Up with the Previous Issue!

The Catch Block #38 - Bug Hunt #1 - Routing Parameter Mismatch
Insanity and the MVC routing order of precendence.

Thanks for reading! The Catch Block will be off for the next two weeks so I can enjoy the holidays with my family. Regular issues will resume Wednesday, 6 January 2021.

We'll see you next year!