With 2012 behind us and a fresh 2013 ahead, it is time again for a short look at this website’s achievements so far, and plans for the future.
I started this blog nearly four years ago, thinking it would be nice to post about a few dozen undocumented features. I had no idea whether this material would be of any use to Matlab users, and I expected the website to be a niche blog at best. In fact, I was not sure that at a rate of one article per week I would have enough content for more than a year or two.
200 posts, 2000 reader comments, and 300K unique visitors later, an admission should now be made that I hugely underestimated the impact that this blog would make. In fact, my pipeline of future articles is now longer than ever (a full year long), and the readership growth appears to quickly approach the physical limit of total Matlab community size.
2012 in review
In 2012, I published 50 articles, including:
- a few posts about integrating 3rd-party Java libraries in Matlab (Waterloo, Groovy, JFreeChart, Java Collections)
- a mini-series about customizations to figure window menus (part1, part2, part3)
- a mini-series about customizations to the built-in Matlab profiler
- a few articles about customizing the Matlab desktop (editor, mlint failures, trapping warnings, Command Window bold text)
- many articles about Matlab’s built-in Java and its usages
- several articles on Matlab’s internal memory (leaks #1, leaks #2, profiling, in-place editing, internal format, preallocation, resizing, optimizations)
- a few articles on compiled (deployed Matlab applications (speed-up, splash window, privacy, disabling menu-items)
- quite a few articles about miscellaneous undocumented Matlab topics:
- last but not least, a few posts dealing with performance, which is one of my favorite topics. In fact you will be reading quite a bit more on this in 2013. This is perhaps the place to announce that I am currently writing my second book on the subject of Matlab Performance Tuning. I hope and expect it to be published later this year, and I will of course inform when it is finally published.
2012 continued the trend in previous years of hosting articles by guest bloggers:
- Malcolm Lidierth wrote about integrating Waterloo and Groovy. Malcolm’s Waterloo mini-series quickly became a super-star in terms of readership, facebook likes, and user comments.
- Donn Shull wrote about extending Java classes using UDD. Donn’s series of UDD articles is one of the website’s most highly searched-for terms.
- Alexander Mering wrote about disabling menu items in deployed applications.
- Jim Hokanson wrote about extending the built-in urlread function.
- Peter Li wrote about the internals of Matlab’s memory and mex in-place editing.
Stats for nerds (and potential advertisers…)
Hopefully there was enough material and diversity in there to satisfy different audiences. Judging by the traffic on the site, this appears to be the case indeed. Interest in this website still grows steadily, continuing the trend from the past years. To date, 305,500 unique readers have read at least one article here (two on average), in over 560,000 different visits, reaching a new peak of over 7000 unique visits (plus over a thousand subscribers) per week just before the December holidays. These figures are nearly double those from last year. RSS and email subscription has also continued their steady growth pace. In the following graph, the traffic dips are due to the annual December holidays and the site-overhaul in 2011. The growth trend is quite evident:
How significant are the absolute numbers?
Well, Matlab reportedly has “more than 1 million” users worldwide. So 305K readers represents about 30% of the total, as an upper bound. Granted, some of those visitors are innocent googlers who happened to stumble across the website and are not Matlab users. But I think we can safely assume that at least half of the visitors, who have visited the website multiple times, are actual Matlab users. Whichever way you look at it, this represents a significant portion of the total Matlab community. Somehow, despite having no investment in marketing, and (naturally) no active support from MathWorks, this website has reached wide-spread community attention. I can’t fully express how happy I am about this. I take it as a resounding community approval, so I intend to continue expanding the site with additional interesting content.
In the past 2 annual perspectives (2011, 2010) I have shown the readership breakup by country and by city. The relative trends that were presented then are still valid. So this time I will display the breakup of the top reader languages, as reported by their browsers. It seems that over two-thirds of you readers speak English (or at least, your browsers do), with German, French and Spanish coming far behind:
Plans for 2013
In 2013 I plan to continue posting about undocumented aspects of Matlab. Specific plans include the much-overdue articles on uiinspect and its close relative checkClass (this is a promise from last year that I failed to deliver, sorry…). I also hope to cross out additional items in my TODO list. Two mini-series that I hope to get around to, are about Matlab-database connectivity and Matlab’s new toolstrip/ribbon.
There will also be more articles by guest bloggers. I am extremely pleased at the growing list of guest bloggers. If you have an idea for an article, please email me (altmany at gmail).
Finally, last year I started presenting Matlab training courses/seminars, a niche that I hope to expand in 2013. I expect that you will hear more about public events, and I will also continue custom training.
Happy 2013 everybody!
– Yair Altman