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Getting Started with Live Coding

jeremycmorgan profile image Jeremy Morgan ・3 min read

Live coding will be the hot new trend with developers and you can start doing it today. Live streaming of game playing has been hot for a while now, but recently coders and other tech people have gotten into it. You can too.   

Live coding is exactly what it sounds like. You're streaming your desktop to the world while you write stuff. Maybe you can build things. Maybe you can teach people how to code something. Or you can just benchmark Linux distributions as I did on my Twitch channel the other night. 
  

Why Would I Live Stream My Coding? 

How to get started live coding

Nearly everything is better with multiple people and coding is no exception. Here are some reasons you might want to start live coding. 

  • Teach others - You can help others learn what you know 
  • Learn from others - This is essentially worldwide mob programming
  • Show off your skills - It's kind of fun to show off new things you've learned
  • Show off new tech - This is one of my favorite things to do
  • Get a job - Stuff like this could catch the attention of an employer

These are all good reasons, and of course the social aspect of it all.   
  

So How do I Start? 

Getting started is easy, you can go from "Ok I'm ready" to streaming in an hour or less. 

Hardware 

  • laptop or desktop computer - Dual monitors is a must here. 
  • microphone or headset - Get the best one you can here. Audio quality is important.
  • webcam - Optional if you want to show your face online. Get the best one you can.

And that's it! Chances are you already have this stuff. 

Accounts

You must sign up for accounts at some of the major providers:  
  

You can sign up for one or many of them. If you want to broadcast to all of them at once, that's possible too. 

Start Live Coding

You can broadcast to many providers by signing up for restream.io.

Then you point your streaming software at restream and it will send your stream to all of them. It's an awesome service! 

Software

OBS Live Streaming
Now you need to download software to do some streaming. I really like OBS Open Broadcaster Software. This one is amazingly easy to use. 

You download and install then add in your sources.   
  
You want to add in a "video capture device" which is just your desktop. This way people can see what you're coding.   
  
Then select an "audio input capture" which will be your microphone. 

Then select a "video capture device" which is your webcam.   
  
Optionally you can add your system audio as an audio input device and stream music at a low volume for the background.   
  
  

Start Streaming

How to Streaming

Open up OBS, and go to tools -> settings -> Stream. You must add in the key and server of who you're streaming to. Since I'm using restream.io I just put in my key there. 

Then you click on start streaming!!! 
  
It's that easy. OBS Works in Windows, Mac, or Linux so you can stream from anywhere. 

Follow my Streams

So I have recently created some channels where I'll be messing around with Linux distributions, containers, etc and doing some coding. Follow me!  

Live Coding Streams are getting more popular by the day! It's fun and you really should try it out. 

Good luck with your streams and leave your info in the comments so we can follow you!! 

Discussion

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l1br3 profile image
libre

Hi Jeremy, I started live coding some game dev with Javascript and the growth has been incredibly fast (500 followers after 3 months). It's one of the best decision in my life and I encourage every body to start the adventure.
If anyone wants to reach out, come say hello at twitch.tv/fr33maan!
Happy coding!❤️

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_gdelgado profile image
Gio

Hey Jeremy,

Thank you for this helpful writeup.

I wanted to ask; how do folks generally go about recording their stream?

What I'm thinking is doing streams on youtube or twitch (or both?) and then uploading the recording afterwards.

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thibpat profile image
Thibaut Patel

Hey Jeremy, did you choose a theme for your streams ? Like focusing on one side project ?
I've also started to livestream code recently and I found it reassuring to set a theme (I'm playing live coding challenges from CodinGame on my end).

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jeremycmorgan profile image
Jeremy Morgan Author

I have not yet. My initial theme is going to be playing around with Linux distributions and benchmarking them. I'm also going to do some developer setup on them and stuff.

For a future theme, I want to do some infra stuff. Setting up clusters, private networks, Kubernetes setups etc. I figure I'll find what people like and what I like to do and go from there.

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dylanmesty profile image
Dylan Mestyanek

This is awesome, Jeremy! I've been bumbling around with the idea of code streaming, so this is extremely exciting. I'll be sure to take a peek at yours, and maybe find myself streaming pretty soon, too! :)

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jeremycmorgan profile image
Jeremy Morgan Author

Awesome! Let me know when you do!

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peterwitham profile image
Peter Witham

Jeremy, thanks for putting all the information in one easy to follow post.

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techiewasp profile image
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tuwang profile image
TuWang

This is awesome ;) either a coincidence or dev recommendations is really working well. I have just been talking about live code steaming and here is your post. Thanks!!

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alara_joel profile image
Alara Oluwatoyin Joel

Hey Jeremy, I plan on starting some live coding for kids, within the next three months I DEFINITELY WOULD need some training tbh.

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oscarcentenor profile image
Oscar Centeno

Have you seen gitduck?

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arnaudelub profile image
Arnaud Delubac

That's a nice post, maybe i'm going to try it as well.
There are a few live coding stream on twitch no? Most of them are on youtube or am i wrong?