SwiftLee 2020 In Review: Most read blog posts

Every year I’m looking back at what I achieved with SwiftLee as well as what I want to achieve in the upcoming year. I did this in 2018, 2019, and I’m doing the same in this blog post for 2020.

2020 is definitely not comparable to the years before due to COVID and all its consequences. However, I do realise it’s been a year in which many of us had more time at home to progress further and reach goals. So did I, with some great achievements as a result when looking back at the numbers.

The statistics of 2020

If there’s anything that helps me measure my progression it’s definitely statistics. I try to be conscious with tracking implementations but the bare minimum allows me to validate the following statistics, compared to last year:

201820192020
Twitter Followers1,1006,100 (+554%)12,742 (+208%)
Newsletter Subscribers0973 (+973%)2,763 (+284%)
Website Users41K371K (+905%)753K (+203%)
Website Sessions49K462K (+943%)1,011K (+219%)

Obviously, the growth in percentage isn’t as big as in 2019 as I started writing weekly in 2018 only. However, being able to double my numbers in a year in which I also released RocketSim and build my own house I can only be super happy with these results. On top of that, the absolute numbers doubled which is an amazing step forward.

SwiftLee Weekly

In Q4 of 2020, I put a lot of energy into improving my weekly newsletter. I moved away from Mailchimp and started making use of Sendy in combination with Goodbits.

Both Sendy and Goodbits made it possible to improve my workflow of adding links. Since the migration, I’ve been able to level up the quality of the curated content while spending less time writing it all down. I’ve built my own application using SwiftUI which speeds up the adding of links by a lot.

Benefits for you as a subscriber

I wanted to have something to thank new subscribers for joining my mailing list which is why I teamed up with a few friends of mine. This results in several discounts for Swift books and courses. You can check it out today by subscribing.

RocketSim

It’s hard to believe I wrote this down last year:

I want to start with my hobby project RocketSim. Although I had hoped to release it this year, it did not happen. I’m planning to pick this up early next year to have at least a first version released.

To me, it feels like RocketSim has been around for more than a year now but it turns out that’s not true. It feels like this partly due to the fact that I already released three major updates from which RocketSim 3.0 really stood out. It was released together with a beautiful website and became available for free with in-app purchases. MP4 & GIF quality improved by a lot and you could finally drag recordings directly into App Store Connect for App Store Previews.

Open-source projects, conferences, and podcasts

This year, I didn’t speak at a lot of conferences. The ones I did came with a great open-sourced project for you to check out:

Apart from open-sourcing these presentation projects I also released a few other open-source projects:

All with their own successes but most of all, projects that help me be a more productive developer. Because of that, I’m pretty sure they can be valuable to you as well, so go check them out if you didn’t yet.

I also did quite a few podcasts which I won’t cover one-by-one in this post. You can check them out and listen to them here.

Sponsors, GitHub Sponsors, and SwiftLee Supporters

This year has also been the first year in which I got a lot of support for my work. I’ve had several great companies sponsoring my blog and newsletter for which I’m incredibly thankful.

2020 is also the first year in which I introduced SwiftLee Supporters. You can become a SwiftLee Supporter by sponsoring me on GitHub after which I’ll do a shoutout both on Twitter and in my newsletter. Supporters are also listed on SwiftLee but I want to thank them one more time:

Super Supporters

Supporters

Thanks a lot for your support!

Last but not least it’s time to list the most popular blog posts of 2020. Every week, I either wrote a new blog post or updated an older one resulting in a total of 141 blog posts as of today. These were the most popular ones of 2020:

1. SF Symbols: The benefits and how to use them guide

A deep dive into SF Symbols for both designers and developers. You’ll learn how to use them in Swift, how the SF Symbols app works, and how you can create your own custom symbols.

2. Dark Mode: Adding support to your app in Swift

Recently updated with useful custom operator. This blog post helps you to improve your workflow of adding dark mode support to your apps. All the things you need are listed from SwiftUI previews to switching colours for light and dark mode.

3. JSON Parsing in Swift explained with code examples

One of those blog posts I often revisited and revamped myself. It’s a library of JSON explanations I reference whenever I work with JSON and find myself having questions. In other words, if you’re in the need of parsing JSON and you need a little help, check out this article.

4. Auto Layout in Swift: Writing constraints programmatically

While SwiftUI is being used more and more, we’re still often working in an older project which is using Auto Layout. Some might use storyboards and the interface builder but you might also run into cases where you need to write constraints in code. This blog post helps you speed up when this is the case.

5. Weak self and unowned self explained in Swift

I’m developing apps for over 10 years but I can honestly say I’m still struggling with weak and unowned references in Swift. I wrote this blog post to create an extra reason for myself to dive into the hows of using weak and unowned references in Swift.

Looking forward to 2021

While going over the stats like in this blog post I always get motivated for my next achievements. Hopefully, 2021 will be more open, allowing us to visit in-person conferences and meet many of you there.

I’ll continue writing new or updating old posts every week this year. Although not a lot is going to change there, I’m thinking about ways of improving my overall blog design. Feel free to reach out if you have any feedback or ideas regarding this.

My main focus will be on improving my newsletter and growing it further. I want to raise the bar and improve its quality, reducing the unsubscribes, and allowing more people to subscribe. Hopefully, I’ll be able to double the number of subscribers this year as well.

Lastly, I want to focus on improving RocketSim. There are many great features requested from which I hope to implement a few greater ones at least. It’s a super interesting hobby project that motivates me a lot.

I’m obviously going to speak at a few conferences too if possible, either in-person or online. I’ve got ideas about giving workshops too but those are not set in stone. Long story short: keep an eye on my Twitter to stay up to date.

Conclusion

2020 has been a special year with both ups and downs. Overall, I’m super happy with the amount of content I’ve been able to deliver to the community. There’s a ton of motivation to continue my journey this year and deliver you even more quality content.

Thanks a lot for joining my journey, reading my content, and following my newsletter. I wish you all the best for 2021 and hope to see you soon at any of the meetups or conferences.

Thanks!