Matt Makai - Python web dev & Twilio Developer Evangelist.

@mattmakai on Twitter & GitHub

My 2013 Software Development Year in Review

2013 was an incredible and fortunate year for me. The quick highlights:

  • traveled the US for 5 months talking to tech startups and software developers
  • developed numerous client and open source software projects while traveling
  • wrote dozens of blog posts on Coding Across America and this blog
  • gave technical talks in D.C., Memphis, San Diego, San Francisco, Omaha, Chicago, and Boston
  • built out Full Stack Python which I originally started in December 2012
  • accepted an offer to join Twilio as their D.C.-based Developer Evangelist

Coding Across America

As I anticipated in my Coding Across America blog post, much of 2013 was dominated by my road trip. I'm now a firm believer in the power of self-defined projects that motivate yourself to learn and grow. I am happy with how my Coding Across America website is coming along and I look forward to adding even more great content in 2014.


Here's what I wrote last year about which languages I worked with:

I spent most of the year programming in Python and JavaScript, with a touch of Objective-C, Java, and Clojure. An approximate breakdown would be something like 90% Python & JavaScript (hard to separate them since I work with both on the same projects), 5% Objective-C, 5% Java & Clojure. If anything, my time with Python and JavaScript might be higher.

Ditto for this year, minus the Objective-C and Java. My focus was on Python with emphasis on learning Ansible, (railsless) Capistrano, and d3.js. I also handled a lot of server and application operations. New Relic along with decent Django application logging was a lifesaver on several production projects I worked on.

Technical Talks

I wouldn't have believed someone if they told me at the end of 2012 that in 2013 I'd have the opportunity to give technical talks all over the US. Fortunately all that came to fruition. My first talk outside of Washington, D.C. was at MemPy in March.

My favorite talks this year were Making Django Play Nice with Third Party Services at DjangoCon 2013 in Chicago, Staying Sane While Taking Over An Existing Django Codebase at Django Boston, and Everything I Wish I Knew as JMU Computer Science Undergrad to JMU's Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) group (where I studied computer science for undergrad). I really enjoyed giving all my talks, those were just the ones that stick out in my mind the most.

Open Source

Most of my open source contributions were just additions to this blog, Coding Across America, and Full Stack Python (all of which are open repositories on GitHub). Each site is powered by Pelican, a Python-based static website generator. I wrote a Pelican quickstart post in November due to the number of questions I received this year about how to get started with Pelican.

My 2013 GitHub contributions through Dec 13, 2013

My GitHub contributions through December 13 of 2013.

I'm working on open sourcing my Ansible scripts for deploying Django websites. The repository is called deploy-django-with-ansible and it will use the MIT open source license.


I am starting a new gig on Jan 6 as Twilio's new Developer Evangelist. I'll be based in D.C. and will travel quite a bit to tech events around the US. It's an exciting opportunity and I'm sure I'll have more to say once I get started in a few weeks.

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