For the past couple months, I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I want to try doing live-coding on Twitch. For starters, I was trying to figure out why I wanted to start live-coding. Is it something I just think is “cool?” Will it gain me more “attention” in the developer community? Will I become wildly famous by doing it?
Sure, those things might be true after some time, but frankly I don’t think they are reasons I should start live coding. So, I sat on it for some time and see if it came up again, and it did. So I asked myself again why, and came up with these reasons that I think it could be good for me:
- It would help me work on my presentation skills. It’s not in-person, or the same as giving a presentation, but it’s still “public speaking” which is something I’ve wanted to get better at.
- I think it will help me think through things as I’m coding them. Often, we get stuck on a problem and end up sitting, staring at a screen, making no progress. Having people “watching” you will not only likely keep you motivated, but perhaps your followers will be able to help you figure out that problem.
- Related to both of the previous points, I think it will help me explain both problems and solutions better. I feel like I often have a good understanding of the “why” behind things, but then have a hard time articulating that to others.
Surveying the land
To further “test” if this is something I actually wanted to do, I started watching some live-coders that I’ve seen previously. This was primarily to find out:
- Do I think what they’re doing is interesting? If it’s boring, surely I won’t be able to keep my own channel going (or even get it started). (Hint: yes, it is interesting)
- What do I like that they do and don’t do?
- What things might I want to incorporate into my streams?
- What might the commitment for getting into live-coding look like?
After a few weeks of watching a few of my favorites in the background, I gathered some thoughts and notes and decided it is infact something I want to try.
I have a tendency to like buying new toys (who doesn’t, really?) so I asked myself what do I really need to get started, so I did a little more research on this. Jeff Fritz and Scott Hanselman have some good blog posts talking about different options and the “necessities.” The TL;DR: you need a good webcam and a good microphone or headset. Again, I was trying to keep the cost relatively low, incase I decided live-coding isn’t for me. Here’s what I ultimately chose:
* Note: this was a splurge, I definitely did not need the Stream Deck to get started.
If I decide to stick with it, I’ll probably buy a small green-screen, but I think this will be good to get started. You can always upgrade later, right?
The next thing you need is a Twitch account, which is free! (Go sign up for one now!) You’ll also need some sort of streaming software. The two main options are Open Broadcasting Software and StreamLabs OBS. StreamLabs OBS is built on top of OBS, with some additional “flair” features. For now, I chose to use straight OBS. I’ve spent the last week or so tinkering with it. I’m horrible with design, so it doesn’t look pretty, but it will serve its purpose for now.
So what’s next? Well, I need to get a few things organized both on my computer and my desk area to make it more conducive to streaming. I’m hoping sometime this week to do a test stream, working on one of my many “pet projects” to get a feel for it and make sure the tech works out okay.
From there, I’m planning on streaming just once a week for an hour or two. While it may not be the ideal time, I’m thinking I would start at 9pm central time on Tuesday or Thursday evening. This will allow me to not interfere with work or family activities.
I’ll mostly streaming be ASP.NET Core related things with some Vue.js, Docker, cloud-y things as well. As I mentioned earlier, I always have many pet projects going, so I’ll try to pick one of those to stick with while streaming. Have anything special you’d like to see related to these technologies? Leave a comment below!
I hope this will be a fun journey, and will help me grow as a developer and presenter. Please join me and feel free to share and tips, comments or feedback you may have!