Learning to code from live streamers ? livecoding.tv

You’ve probably heard about Live Streaming before, it’s like facebook live, but you’re watching for entertainement, this is very popular in the gaming industry, specifically twitch.tv, which was sold to Amazon for 970 million dollars, that’s a pretty good number.

I was really happy when I’ve first seen livecoding.tv a year ago, but I think that the streamers around livecoding are mostly beginners themselves, and very few of them are actually decent developers, I’ve looked at everyone for a few minutes, just to see how they interact and actually work with the audience.

LiveCoding proved to be an enjoyable experience within the first 5 minutes, of watching content.

I also checked twitch.tv on the programming section, just out of curiosity, there are a few decent streams, but only the first 2 or 3 most watched are actually quality ones, I feel like there’s no variety on twitch, and I’m happy that someone stood up and tries to make streaming popular for developers also.

What’s Live Coding ?

Watch developers work on their projects, doing trainings, or even answering questions, in an learning friendly environment, which is all great, except the quality of the videos and streams in general, the first thing you’ll notice when you get to http://livecoding.tv is an accessible library of programming languages, and javascript seems to be the most popular one, followed by PHP & Objective C / Swift.

It seems to focus on Upcoming Livestreams, rather than currently live.

And also the ordering seems very strange, when you read, you take the content Left to Right, and you can notice the first event is on 22 october, and the second one on 21 october. I suppose it’s better to watch a stream right when it starts, rather than joining it while it’s happening, and most likely that’s their ultimate goal, watch streams from the beggining.

Live Streams are great, especially if you have a decent sized audience, because it’s the FAQ, questions asked by student at the end, that make a course great, simply because a great course is one that leaves you without any questions.

I really like the idea of scheduling streams, which is done around titles, and they’re even featuring some, I’m not sure why there’s only 1 guy featured, at least from what I notice right now.

Edit : After refreshing the page, it seemed to show me 2 live streams active, but none about javascript, rather PHP.

Currently most popular javascript stream, while writing this.

At 10:50 GMT +0, I’ve taken the most popular javascript developer, let’s analyze him a bit.

  • He has 22 years of experience
  • He seems pretty old
  • Has 15 active users watching him, possibly including me.
  • Has an github account, that doesn’t have a single star, with multiple repositories, a least not right now.
  • He’s making a game, similar to Hearthstone

Taking all details into account, and after checking all the other streams, this seems to be the most attractive one, simply because he’s making a game, and the audience around live streams watch games already. Why not watch someone making a game also, it’s a much more relaxing enviorement usually, and you can get a few ideas from here, ideally this is a pretty complicated one for beginners, I’m not sure how many people that are watching actually understand what he’s been doing there, but I’ve noticed he answers questions and he’s pretty interactive, if you’re an expert developer, you’ll notice a couple of old habbits in his code, specifically classes for firstcol, and lastcol, which I personally never use anymore, and also would name them different.

I also checked the PHP popular streams

I’ve also wanted to include a laravel stream, there was one that I liked, but I felt like either the developer was really tired, or one that doesn’t have a solid experience, and as much I admire people that stream their work, I hate it when people teach others things that are not up to the standards, but even if they’re getting the wrong idea on some parts, they’re maybe getting a taste of it and starting.

The biggest problem regarding live streaming.

It’s not well paid, that means experts or really talented people will avoid streaming their work, and it’s usually a bad idea to stream your corporate work, or work that you’re doing on your job, I’ve tried to stream as a hobby for a few minutes, I’ll most likely try it again later, and I encourage anyone working on an Open Source project to consider streaming, I find it annoying from many parts, but it can be a very good way to teach others, mostly at the cost of being intrerupted by comments if you’re looking to interact with your viewers.

Live streaming is great, but not productive.

However you take it, live streams will never surpass well written compact material, except in the case that people will actually put much effort into it, and plan every detail ahead, they certaintly are enjoyable and have an audience, but I doubt it that it will grow as a very large community in the future, as much as I would like it.

Live Streaming properly your work will also dramatically slow you down, ideally it can work if you’re streaming for experts on your level, and discuss ideas rather than explaining code.

Live coding is working because of the interaction with the developers, if they ever lose that, they’ll lose everything, I’d like them to focus more on that, because what’s the point in watching a live stream, where mistakes happen often, if you cannot interact with the developer easily ?

Why not watch a youtube video of 20 minutes, instead of 1 hour of content where you’ll see a struggling developer in many cases ( 3 out of 5 developers had code errors or logic errors for more than 2 minutes when I was checking all active streams ). It’s good to see someone struggling with a problem, because most likely you’ll know the answer to it, when you’ll face it, but it’s the same thing if you learn the trick in 1 minute or 40 minutes, because you won’t understand the real struggle until you face it yourself.

Bottom line ? Live Coding is great for entertainement for beginners, or really bored experts, I tried to interact with a few people via the comments, some replied, some didn’t, but people didn’t really want to listen to my advice, it’s fine I suppose, I can assume many people try to give advice and they can’t differenciate experts from beginners.