Watching people write software code, or streaming yourself coding, is quickly becoming a thing. While the whole notion of watching people program may sound as exciting as watching paint dry to some, sites like Twitch.TV, Watch People Code, Ludum Dare, and YouTube, which feature live or archived streams of lots of people writing lots of code for lots of different things, prove that not everyone agrees. This week a new site devoted to live streams of people programming arrived on the scene and should take this whole movement up a notch or two.
Livecoding.tv officially launched officially on Tuesday. Co-founder Jamie Green told me via email that, since the beta version went live in February, 40,000 users have already signed up and hundreds of new streams are being added daily. It's the most polished of the live coding sites I’ve seen yet. The site is free for anyone to use and while you don’t need to sign up to watch live (or archived) streams of people coding, you do need to create a login to stream yourself or take advantage of functionality like participating in chats with coders during their sessions.
The site allows you to browse upcoming or archived streams by date, by programming language, or by the location of streamer. If you’re looking for a stream of something in particular, like a coding tutorial, you can post a request for it. The sites also publishes a roadmap for future functionality where users can also add their own suggestions or enhancement requests.
Unlike some other sites that stream people coding, Livecoding.tv doesn’t have advertisements. Green told TechCrunch that the site has no plans to ever have ads. Instead, he said that, in the future, they may charge a fee for some of the site content. When I asked Green for further details he told me, "We have some different ideas around monetisation in the pipeline, but for now we are just focussed on building a community around live education."
If you’re still scratching your head as to why someone would watch someone else write code, developers can often learn a lot by watching others program. In addition to tutorials, watching someone work in a language or tool you want to learn, and also getting to ask them questions as they work, can be quite beneficial.
As for what those who choose to stream themselves coding get out of it, as I’ve written before, some developers find that it forces them to approach problems differently merely by thinking out loud for the audience. An archived coding session can also serve as an additional type of documentation, providing unique insights into the code that wouldn’t be captured in comments or formal docs.
All in all, watching people code has clearly moved from officially being a fad to officially being a thing.