“Watching live coding is strangely intriguing…”
I cannot locate the exact resource and therefore I cannot reference it or make sure that the quote is correct, but the thing that caught my attention was something along the lines of the above quote, which I read somewhere online. I had heard about live coding streams in different fora, it sparked my curiosity and decided to check it out.
I decided to watch Suz Hinton (@noopkat) after reading Lessons from my first year of live coding on Twitch and hearing an interview with her on the podcast Hansel Minutes.
@noopkat does her live coding stream on Twitch, which I know from my two sons, both are avid gamers and Youtube watchers. There are other outlets for live coding streams, but I have no experience with any of these. I personally find Twitch very accessible and useful, you can watch on the web, they offer a native client or you can watch on your smart phone. I once tried watching on my phone on the train, but the signal was not entirely stable and in the end I have to give up.
Unfortunately @noopkat is always streaming Sundays when I am making dinner, so it is not always I can pay close attention or I pay attention have to pick an easier dish not requiring my complete attention – anyway I am hooked.
The best recommendation I can give is watching in the comfort of your sofa or similar, like old school flow-TV. I once had the stream running on a PS4, were a Twitch client also is available, freeing up my laptop to do something else – actually I find watching live coding inspirational and doing coding myself is parallel or looking up related resources is useful. The chat interface was however open on my computer to I could participate in the live coding stream, since the PS4 keyboard interface is not optimal, more on this later.
For a long time the Internet and the streaming medium has gone towards convenience consumption. You watch what you want, when you want. If you want to binge, you binge and if you want a break, you take a break. So it is sort of weird that live streaming consumption is attractive, since you now have to hurry home to catch the stream, or postpone dinner, much like when all we had was flow-TV with static schedules.
Twitch is primarily focused on gaming and gamers, but a few live coders can be found using the platform. I have watched: @yom_na and @thelarkinn whos stream I caught my first show of today before work. If you want the episode from today, you can hear a shout out to me, since I had to leave for work. And this is where live coding streams differ from regular flow-TV. The social aspect of the live streaming is important and it helps to build up a social relation and sense of community and even the spectators participate in the stream. @yom_na streamed a live coding session fixing issues and PRs in an open source project I am also contributing to, so that was quite educational.
I think I will continue to watch live coding streams, it is fun and stimulating. Next question is whether I should try to do a session myself. The software used by @noopkat: OBS is free and it would be fun to try out. The only issue is that all of the people I mentioned are incredibly talented and I am not sure I would be able to deliver the same high level.