Now you can watch people write code live

Watch People Code is a new site that lets you, well, watch people code

A live coding stream on YouTube
Credit: Adam Wulf

These days, there are plenty of people out there who like to code, either for money or for fun or for both. But, apparently, there’s also a growing interest in watching other people code. How else to explain the new site Watch People Code, which lets you, well, watch people code, live?

The site is actually based on the subreddit WatchPeopleCode, which launched last month. The subreddit tells you about upcoming coding sessions you can watch, live sessions currently underway and past sessions which are archived and available for viewing. For example, there have been sessions on building a custom Pandora client, writing command line tools in Rust, and building a search engine.

The Watch People Code site simply makes it a little easier to watch streams from the WatchPeopleCode subreddit that are currently live or coming up. It’s generated some chatter among developers, and the feedback has generally been positive, with most people feeling that it’s a good way to learn and improve your own coding. For example, here are a few comments written by developers on discussion forums such as Hacker News.

“I like this idea. It isn't the most common thing to shadow someone while they code, you can learn a lot from how people ‘flow’.” nirkalimi

“I am probably going to actually use this a lot. I find there's no better way to pick up new things than from pair coding.” Itamar Kestenbaum

“Watching someone code teaches many subtle techniques that people don't even realize they do. Especially the holistic set of techniques an individual uses and how they interact.” endergen

Live streams of people coding isn’t a totally new thing. Twitch.TV offers live streams of game development, as does Ludum Dare. Plus, you can also go directly to YouTube’s collection of live streams and find people programming.  

It’s not only coders who may enjoy watching people program. A non-programmer friend of mine, for example, after I brought Watch People Code to her attention, found herself oddly mesmerized by watching someone code. “This is oddly interesting,” she said.

Yes, indeed it is!

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