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Show HN: Devstream.tv – Watch developers code live (devstream.tv)
257 points by algorithm_dk 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 60 comments

I've been streaming on and off for a few years now. Livecoding was a good idea in principal, but the team did not handle their growth well, and made a few pretty bad decisions which have been well documented on HN before. Twitch didn't ever feel like it was the right place for programming streams, but it's the best we have right now. I hope I can get back into streaming later on in the year (it's quite a big time commitment), perhaps there will be a better solution by then!

My wish-list:

A good chat API which supports code snippets (this is something that streamers will want to pour over and make streams about, because it makes good content!).

Localized streaming servers in order to keep latency low.

The site development process should be streamed! I have no idea why the Livecoding guys didn't live stream their dev work (other than perhaps a fear of losing "IP", but I personally don't think that's a particularly strong argument - there's always some code that could be streamed without issue, such as frontend JS. I suspect the real reason was that their developers weren't aligned with the product and didn't want to stream).

Support for pair programming (two streamers working on the same project together) - this allows streamers to market to each others' audience, and can produce some really great content as the streamer is forced to explain to their partner why they're doing what they're doing.

Integration with editors as an alternative to regular streaming. A UI which looks something like jsbin.com - where the text editor is shown next to the output - would allow for streamers with lower upload speeds to only stream their webcam, while their editor and terminal is mirrored in text, nicely resizing to fit the users' screens. This view could be composited into a video stream for users who aren't viewing through a web browser (like chromecast users).

This is somewhat where I'd like to see https://flems.io going. It's based on the open source Flems web playground (https://github.com/porsager/flems), so doing different kinds of embeds and sharing directly runnable code could be added easily. Currently the entire state lives in the URL, which is pretty interesting for sharing, and it really makes it a true serverless app, but I'm working to support shareable sessions and live streaming of changes as well.

Chromecast should have no problems rendering text as text

I agree on the under investment of platforms like twitch on those use cases. Quite a missed opportunity

The problem is even if they can build near feature-parity as a streaming platform (compared to Twitch and Youtube), the second they make any discernable profit Twitch is just going to re-assign a few developers and blow them out of the water.

Things like storing VODs (videos of past streams), community tooling, etc., are hard and EXPENSIVE. The developers have a very hard path ahead of them.

Every big company can do this, and it's is precisely why, in a consumer facing startup, tech is often far less important than community building. YouTube or Twitch can build tools to enable streamers, but if your startup is genuinely good to early adopters, and the communities they build, then you can still keep going in the face of an 800lb gorilla.

The tech behind 9 out of 10 tech startups is relatively trivial to clone. The part that's really hard to copy successfully is the people.

It's also worth noting that if you can't do the people bit then even the most brilliant, un-cloneable tech is likely to fail. It's very hard to get customers if people don't like you as a person.

But hey, that's what co-founders are for.

For people who like to watch live coding - in what ways do you find it helpful? Is it to learn about a particular domain, a way of thinking, a new technology? Where would you consider your skill level to be at?

I'd love to hear your perspectives! I understand streaming in gaming contexts, developer streaming is new to me.

When I work remotely, having someone "work" at the same time as me makes the situation feel less ... lonely, it's like having a co-worker :) See them work, makes me work.

Also I enjoy hearing other people code, especially the clack of the keyboard.

I remember there were some internet radio streams that had office sounds playing (at different intensities), but I do not think they're online anymore.

Not quite office sounds, but Coffitivity nicely captures coffee shop murmur: https://coffitivity.com

Interesting. I’ll have to try it out while I work remotely still. Could motivate and focus me more.

I like to watch Jonathan Blow[0] sometimes, just to get an idea of his thinking process when dealing with problems in a codebase (bugs or new features).

I also find it relaxing to hear him talk, while me doing something else at the same time, like playing a game of Civ.


[0]: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCuoqzrsHlwv1YyPKLuMDUQ

I'm a hobbyist programmer so I don't get a chance to 'pair program' really ever, and watching someone else code is very useful. Books only go so far.

I've never really watched live coding, but I work in a team with three sysadmins and two devs.

I'm fairly new to dev, and my colleague is even newer. The sysadmins only know PowerShell, so I'm always teaching myself, and don't get to pick up on best practises or learn how anyone else would do things, other than from what I read online.

I guess it'd just be cool to see something built from start to finish, watching the problems they encounter and how they work around them.

Watching live coding can be almost as fun as live coding itself.

I view every livestream I watch as a one sided code review and refactoring session, and spend most of the time watching reasoning through how they are coding and if there are things that could be clearer. I learn lots from that... including new idioms that I like or despise.

I’ll also watch streams where the coder needs help, so I’ll pitch in over chat to help with problems. I’ve taught several people suprising amounts through twitch chat and despite twitch delay.

Just try watching a stream or two! Check the creative communities on twitch and select programming or game development!

So this is basically a twitch aggregator for developer streams. Cool idea!

An idea: it would be cool to have separate feeds for the available tags so that users could browse the available streams/channels by topic.

Good luck for your project!

Cool although it seems this just does what Twitch could do themselves? Not very familiar with that entire scene, though.

As a practical point the text on the stream thumbnails is strangely half-translated which looks odd on an otherwise English-using page.

Yes, you are right - there is a #programming category on Twitch, but the plan is to gather dev streamers from more platforms (YouTube comes next) into one dedicated place.

Can I claim any credit at all? Hahah. Nice work - this is what I wanted to see! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16545022

Haha, great minds think alike!

It happens quite a lot around here. I've seen multiple people be inspired by the right combination of things on HN and launch similar projects back to back. Keeps it fun! (But also encourages moving really fast when you have an idea.)

Please don't auto play videos on your site.

It’s a site for streaming videos. Seems appropriate here.

Yea but if someone sends me a link to one to look at later, I still don’t want it to start autoplaying in class.

Maybe have an obvious ?autoplay=true param.

Twitch embeds are autoplay by default

I don't disagree with you, but I personally think it's a poor design choice. Why not let the user decide which content to watch?

If twitch offers an option for sound on embedded videos to be muted, that would be perfect -- at least on the home page where people who are checking out a site for the first time are most likely to land, getting blasted by unexpected sound is annoying.

youtube, netflix and all should do the same?

I want to get started doing this, anyone have advice on starting out and potential gotchas?

Get a good microphone. Get a webcam, even if it doesn't make sense people like to see a head. Get plenty of monitor space so you can stream on one monitor and monitor chat and other things on the other.

Stream in 1080p, its the perfect balance between text looking ok and everyone being able to view it well with their internet connection.

Also don't worry about having high fps a 10fps 1080p stream is a thousand times better for reading text than a 720p 30fps one

I'd say be realistic and gear your streams to educating. If you think you need to make perfect code, you'll become frustrated when you simply don't know something. As good/evil as SO and Googling are to our ability to remember, its what we do.

There's also longer term goals like Handmade Hero on YouTube. Think about some long term 2 year project and start making it. Make the next Spotify or PUBG. While that being successful would be equally nice, the channel could also be the more successful item.

This article has what seems like pretty good advice: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/lessons-from-my-first-year-o...

I’ve been streaming for a few weeks and had no viewers. A popular dev streamer told me it was the same for him for the first six months, and he was also building a large following elsewhere.

Where and what are you streaming? I clicked through to your profile and there wasn’t a link there.

5 seconds into my first ever stream, I alt-tabbed to a text file containing a bunch of secret api keys... so uh... don't do that!

Oh yeah! That's a constant minefield for me if I stream.

Next time I do it, I'm going to have a separate account on my machine, where I will avoid having anything accessible that is sensitive.

Avoid streaming your API keys.

Id read this article, it has pretty excellent coverage of what you’ll need to know.


The things that I’ve settled into when streaming that I tack onto that wisdom: -stream for at least 2-3 hours per session

-always double check your mic, I forget to unmute.

-downmix your mic to ensure you’re heard evenly

-noise gate and noise suppression are a must

-run obs on your pc but stream all of the code itself from vms. This solves most privacy problems and spares a lot of the common obs-on-screen issues you’ll see during streams. Also makes it easier to transition


-pay attention to chat! I’ve got 1440p monitors, so I keep my 1080p vm on the main screen and my chat / todo list stays on that as well

-set up notifications with stream labs (they’re fun and make people follow in cascades)

-pick reasonable stream titles. I’ve lost pretty much all of my viewers one stream due to a bad title

-consistency is king

-if you’re expecting undesirables, aggressively configure nightbot. Defaults and twitches built in mods will not be sufficient and white Supremecists will get around those settings easily.

I haven’t chosen to do a webcam but I know streamers can pull high enough views without them, so it’s just up to you and how consistent you want to be. I can share more of my experience if you like.

Twitch coding is the best and it prepares you for pair programming and whiteboard interviews where you have to talk while thinking through a problem.

It would be cool if it would add some more context to what twitch already does. I.e. develop a plugin to support markdown in the chat so you can interact with your viewers and share snippets easily (just an example of a useful feature) or if you really wanna help education of coders some kind of plugin for sublime/vscode where twitch viewers can request to explain a certain line on the screen, kinda like a real time poll where you vote the next line of code you want explained?(again another example of useful addon for live coders that do edu coding streams)

That's such a cool idea! I'll think of how this can be added, a VSCode plugin sounds awesome.

i got tired of livecoding.tv after a while. perhaps i may get interested again later. at the end of the day, i did not get the desired benefit of either watching others code, or streaming your coding session.

I like your site, but I don't understand what the difference is from just going to https://www.twitch.tv/communities/programming

Nice idea . I think you should make it more generic. I am confident that We will see a lot of this "Twitch of X " in years to come. I personally would like to see Twitch of Cooking and Twitch of Uber Rides

Isn't this similar to https://www.liveedu.tv/ ?

Liveedu used to be called Livecoding (but then pivoted) since a coding-only live-streaming platform did not get traction. And became redundant once Twitch allowed live-streaming programming.

Livecoding had a lot of other problems.


I suppose that may have caused SEO problems as well.

I used to love going there. But yeah, when twitch allowed non-gaming streams there was just never a need to go there again.

devstream.tv showcases developers that stream live on Twitch.

I see, so it's an aggregation kind of platform ?

Yes, YouTube will be added next.

Saw awesome-developer-streams on GitHub as well and had a similar idea :-) Site looks neat, good job!

Which coders are worth watching, and what have you learned by watching them ?

Was really hoping to find a Ruby streamer... Why is it so hard to find?


Greg is building a product on top of Ruby/Rails. You might find this interesting.


haha, i came here to post "why wouldn't this just be twitch.tv" and it is indeed twitch.tv, well done!

This sounds familiar... ;)

Just when I thought everything has been done. Wow. this is an original great idea!

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