Why is streaming while you're developing not so popular?

lampewebdev on August 03, 2019

So streaming, in general, got very popular. E-Sports and gaming streams are usually the most popular. You can also find people just talking or answ... [Read Full]
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I think streaming how you code is not popular because of couple things:

  1. viewer can't stop the stream to analyze your code or check the definition of something you just said
  2. if a viewer is not watching the stream from the beginning he will be lost in concepts you explain and won't understand them
  3. for you one problem can be trivial and you won't explain it good enough for the viewer so he will leave the stream
  4. it's not exciting. People watch streams to be entertained more than to learn something.

I think it's because of above things people choose to watch youtube tutorial than stream.

  1. Yeah, a paused video but not audio would be cool :)

  2. They can ask :) Great training for someone who wants to become a senior dev!

  3. Again they can ask :D

  4. That's true! And I don't think that streaming code will be as massive as game streams but I think there is more potential in it then people think. A good case is to show junior devs who you think!


Well, they can always ask but not always you see the question. Not always you can answer it in a good moment. And not everyone in the stream is interested in your response. I believe in edge case it could even end like - you've got 2 mid/senior people on the stream and then 5 junior joins. They start asking you trivial questions like "what is const?", "what's the difference between padding and margin?", "how do I add js file to my HTML?", etc. you know, questions which you can easily find in Google but people want an answer - not searching for it. So you start explaining them trivial questions and potentially loose two mid/seniors who will be bored? OR you ignore them so you loose juniors but mid/seniors are there staying (maybe)?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying it's a bad idea. No, it's good. You just to be really lucky to stream about the exact thing someone wants to listen right now.

So one of the mid/seniors can explain it ;)

In E-Sports, people also don't often understand everything that is happening and.

It does not have to be about learning. If the person is fun, you can be there just for the person and interact.


I think part of the issue lies in the skewed relationship between caster and viewer. You can answer in speech, while they have to ask in writing. It makes the discussion part of pair programming very cumbersome on their part

True but in other streams, it is the same and imagine what would happen if you had like 20 developers speaking at the same time?


Hey hey, I get entertained when I watch people coding lol. You are correct people including myself watch youtube coding tutorials, though a tutorial and a live coding stream are two different things. Unless a stream is setup to be a tutorial, for me the most fun streams are watching interesting coding projects, but of course I've been coding for a while so I can understand most things on the screen without pausing.

One note to add about the pausing, is that with vscode live sharing that changes things. You can share a whole session to your viewers, including debugging sessions.


This is a really thoughtful and good answer. Thanks!


I'm actually part of a team on Twitch called the Live Coders where there's over 60 developers on Twitch who work on various projects. I think the main things that drove me into this community and now am part of it directly as a streamer is that:

  1. We're doing it live. It is a authentic situation that rather than completely prep everything before like a YouTube tutorial, we run into errors, we get stuck, and we try to get through it

  2. Interaction between the streamer and community. You can connect with the streamer on a very personal level. One of our community members, Suz Hinton (Noopkat), has avg 200-300 viewers, and yet the community is extremely welcoming and personal. you get to know the person behind the camera, and the people watching along with you.

  3. Work at a relaxed pace. For most projects, there are ongoing and don't really have deadlines, so you don't need to fret about getting a project done, so with that, if you tangent off to another discussion during the stream, it doesn't matter as much as if there was a deadline.

I was watching the programming community on twitch for a few years before I decided to start streaming myself, and it has opened a lot of things for me both professionally, as well as personally. Whether you are a viewer of a stream, or a streamer yourself, both scenarios can bring a lot of benefit to a dev's life.


I will have to check you folks out. For obvious legal reasons I couldn't stream most of my coding (because intellectual property of my employer) but I stream on Twitch already. Gaming, not development, but still.


I'll check u guys out as well! sounds really cool!!


Oh, I think I have a new goal ;)

I want to join that community!

This sounds awesome :)

Thanks for the info!

Somehow I missed that completely


I used to stream whilst coding but I'd never pull in a huge number of views. I think it's still a really new concept with only a few people really nailing it on the head.

Daniel Shiffman, in particular, has got it spot on, his streams are perfect for it. He usually does quite short coding challenges which at the same time are visual; people like to see stuff move on the screen. Because his challenges are usually quite short people can jump in at any time, whereas streamers who work on one project in every stream (Which I did) are likely not as captivating.

But yeah, that's just my observation, I'm sure it'll gain in popularity in the years to come!


+1 for Daniel Shiffman, he also has an unparalleled enthusiasm that makes learning even more fun.

I would for coding streaming to be more popular in general although; not everyone needs a train whistle!


Hmm, that's a very good tip!
What I mean:
Making the challenges very short!

I will write that down!

Thanks for the comment!


I don't stream but I do make vlogs recording my process - right from figuring it what to build, finding the right resource to follow, and then building it.

Context: My audience is primarily tech writers and we are often asked to "learn new tech" but no one tells us how to go about it. My hope is that seeing me struggle and figure things out will motivate other tech writers to try more tech stacks.



Cool idea!

Why don't you live to stream the video and record it and then release the video later in the cut version we already see on youtube? I'm just curious :)


Because I don't think my audience is familiar with live streams -- they are barely getting into tech vlogs. My writing videos perform way better than my tech vlogs. I might live stream down the line after the vlog format gets better acceptance within my audience.


I think it would be interesting to watch someone else code. Is this a thing yet?

As a newbie to the dev world, I feel it would help to see how others go about problem solving through code. It could supplement my self teaching.


Yes, it is a thing :D

I'm currently trying to stream regularly on twitch and youtube :)

One thing I also try is to speak out what I'm thinking.

So people can follow me and maybe learn how I go about problems :D


because coding is not equal to the Software Development


What? Can you explain your point a little bit?

I mean yeah these are two different terms...

Coding is the act of typing on the keyboard and producing software.

Software Development can be more, as the architecture of systems on a whiteboard.

I give you this point.

But in what way is this comment in any way helpful?

This makes developers just looks like some elite groups that fight over every nonsense thing...


my point is: developer can stream his 'coding' process which is not equal to 'developing' process because (you are right) 'coding' is about typing code in editor when you already have fully understandable requirements, architecture, algorithms, specifications, mockups and implementation approach

Yeah and you can stream both?

I think in general we teach people in Tutorials on how to use technologies but not how to think.

and yeah streaming and thinking together with the community about requirements, architecture, algorithms, specifications, mockups, and implementation. Would be pretty nice!

See other perspectives and how other people go about a problem. I would watch that!

sure :) but in case to show full process of development developer-presenter need some soft skills (how to tell stories, be extrovert, do not afraid to make mistakes etc.)
not all devs are extroverts ;)

Yeah, that's true!

If everybody streams there will be nobody to watch ;)

:) yep

BTW, one working case with streaming dev process I practice: when I work as mentor with newcomer (trainee) dev on same project

Yeah, I practice that with my Junior's too.
In German, we call this "sprechendes denken".

I don't know how to translate that correctly. Maybe "spoken thinking".

It means that you just say what you are thinking without first thinking and then speaking.

Yeah and I think this is something nobody is talking about.

Maybe live-streaming that would be nice :)


Thanks for the link!

Yeah, I know there are some people.

Handmade Hero builds a game and in streaming games, in general, are popular.

I was thinking more about web development and similar things.


My wild guess (!) is..

  • there aren't that many people proficient enough in web-development to have the guts for live-coding and talking while coding, AND to have the time doing it on a regular basis.

  • web-dev isn't that exciting per se. game-dev and similar fields are "cool" in a way, so the audience isn't just other game-devs, but all kinds of other devs. But I really can't imagine a web-dev or AI-Engineer casually being excited about web-dev and watching others doing it.


on the other hand it's kinda like pair-programming or mob-programming without the productivity loss.

yeah, I like the term mob-programming.

I think you have a point. Time is the biggest thing here!

But then again it's part of time management and if you really want it :)


Personally I think it'd be watching someone Google a lot 🀣. I don't think I could code for hours without doing that. Additionally code is rarely something you could just hop in on. If you're half way through a project that's pretty off putting to someone who comes in late and wanted to learn from scratch. I think what works better is a tutorial for something specific that someone can search later.


Yeah if you want to learn then it is not the right tool.

If you just want to see someone have fun then it is and has a nice chat with someone.

It is no scenario for learning or being super productive :)


Yeah I guess you're right. The same applies to technical gaming. If some is trying to learn how to do something very specific they'll watch a tutorial as well. But a lot of people watch mostly for enjoyment. I think programming interview questions would probably be a good thing to stream. Talking out loud and doing it like a live interview

That's an cool idea :)

I will think about it


I don't think too many people would like to see me looking at the ceiling and frequently cursing at my code.

On a more serious note, it would be interesting to try. But, as others have mentioned it can take a bit of work to get a suitable setup.

Maybe I should watch some software streams sometime, I have never actually given it a shot.


the setup cost is really not that big.

You should already have a pc or laptop.

The webcam is not really important.

You can get a really good nice mic kit for around 50 euros.

The rest is for free it only takes the time to create everything but thats part of the fun right?


Very high barrier of entry to understand what’s going on.

  1. If you are a developer, you still need to digest what they are trying to accomplish and what they are working on rn
  2. If you are not a developer, good luck

There are streamer out there that have 10.000+ or 30.0000+ subs.

So this is kind of true but it looks like some people can do it.


I've actually streamed coding once, doing coding challenges on Codewars. I had a small but supportive group of viewers and learned some good stuff in the process. I'd like to do it some more.

I've also streamed video games, mostly Starcraft. It's definitely a different experience and maybe I'll get into the differences in a future post.

I do think watching coding on stream takes more effort on the part of the viewer than with video games. This would especially be true on a complex development project, but it's true even on a relatively basic Codewars challenge.

I'll probably be streaming again in the near future here; I may even develop a schedule.


You got a new follower ;)

I'm usually streaming here


I don't know how I could stay in the flow-state while livestreaming, and if I wasn't in the flow-state, I would only embarrass myself. I have done quite a big of recording myself coding, however, for coaching remote devs in different timezones. For example, I would record myself live-refactoring their code and then send them the video to watch at their leisure.

What I have wanted for a while is for my IDE to record my coding sessions (after all, it already has a detailed history of what I type), after which I could share the replay file with whoever is interested...and I couldn't imagine who would be.


If you really really have to focus then, of course, don't stream.

I rather think that if you try to learn something new then you will see people who maybe know more then you and are will try to help you.

Yeah the ide thing would be nice! Also you could then go back as a viewer to a state of the stream where you could check out that file


It would be great if DEV.to could integrate with twitch somehow. People already love following other people's journeys on #100DaysOfCode across the various social networks - watching someone code is a whole new level of interaction and inclusion on the journey


Actually, dev.to has this!

For example here: dev.to/twitch_live_streams/lampewe...

Maybe it should be more visible on the main page πŸ€”


If you're going to live stream your process, which can be very beneficial, especially to set realistic expectations for what experienced coders go through, you should write it up afterward!

Writing a post that consolidates what you worked onto into quick hits is the best of both worlds.

I actually just did this with the live stream I participated in if you're curious.


This is what I'm planning. Currently I'm writing a blog in svelte and when I'm finished I want to write a blogoost and create a tutorial for YouTube πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘


It's definitely super great for keeping you motivated and for as you said, your own benefit.

I suspect the reason why it isn't more popular is that many are afraid of being criticised, or for being made to feel stupid if they are corrected or humiliated in chat. I imagine for many it invokes feelings akin to Imposter Syndrome where they're afraid that livestreaming their work might out them as some kind of amateur or far below the skill level that they ought to be at.

Just my 2c based on my own feelings.


Yeah, that probably right.

Just a few things how I see it after some years of experience in the real world:

  • You will never ever know everything even if you just would focus on web development.
  • There is always someone smart out there
  • I don't think that people, in general, are bad. My experience is that people instead would try to help you
  • You can mute people in the chat or ban them ;)

I started streaming because I would like to have input from other people, and it also forces me to do stuff. So yeah if someone comes to the chat and says that's wrong, then I'm happy and would ask him to help if he does not like to help then not. I'm still ahead of them for trying and failing than doing nothing and being a dick on the internet.


IMHO, 2 most important things limit the audience:

  1. Difficult to follow. Unless it's a small problem to solve it wouldn't be easy for a viewer to understand the whole context. Takes time to familiarize with the requirements and codebase.
  2. Its slow. Attention spans are getting smaller and smaller, so a viewer would get bored when the streamer would stop for few min for understanding the code.

I do however think that content which works around the above issues does have great potential. I remember paying for pluralsight to see what was basically a steam (not much editing) of someone building and application in a framework or language that I wanted to learn. Would be a much better experience if it was interactive (new business idea).

Furthermore, I think it would have great potential in OSS. If project maintainers would stream their work, it would be easier for people to get into projects and contribute.


Yeah i agree here.

For OSS it could also be a source of making money


I think the main reason why live coding streams are not popular is not because of coding, is mainly because some topics are too advanced for people watching and obviously loose interest quickly.

Also the coder personality tends to play a lot, if you are a straight serious coder the stream probably won't do very good. Case in point noopkat streams are very entertaining to me, she makes things fun, and not monotone at all.

Also stream platforms are really not setup at all for coding, well why you ask, because gamers bring the largest revenue.

When I watch a coding stream, I want to see the code editor front and center when coding, and not see the editor when the streamer is explaining things or doing something else other than coding. Also I do not want to see a chat, and preferable when the text editor is shown maybe the streamer on a small corner. Anyways so many youtube videos go on a tangent, and make things very hard to follow. In my personal opinion I don't think I would do a good and interesting stream lol is too much going on chat, people subscribing, asking questions, etc. I am amazed at how well some people manage to stay afloat while streaming, I have a lot of respect for live coding streamers.


Yeah, I think your right.

I mean most of that skills you can learn ;)


I just think that with programming there is too much downtime. Programming is so mentally taxing that I doubt you're going to be able to talk about what your doing without long pauses of just staring at code.

For coding, tutorials > streaming in my opinion as everything is a lot more direct and to the point.


For me, it would be the least interesting thing to see being streamed. I'd much rather see a short edited video with the content I want.


So yeah easy your not the target audience πŸ’–πŸ˜Š

And that totally fine!


Sorry if it sounded too Debbie Downer there. My interests have shifted quite a bit from the last years

Nothing to be sorry for.

My interests also shift a lot of times!


I would like to stream my work, but it's difficult to setup an environment where all my credentials are secured when I log in to places, edit config files etc.


Yeah for the login things I use a password manager so you don't see my logins

but yeah for the server stuff you need a second screen.


Have you joined a coding stream with some of the more popular coding streamers?

I think your opinion would change if you saw how we do it... because coding then becomes an educational show.


I'm following some people on twitch :)

And now I'm also following you!


I've considered it, but there are so many times I just stare at the screen thinking, or switch off to paper to plan something out, I'm not sure if I'd bore my viewers.


you could try to speak out what you are thinking and share your thought process with other people!

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