otsukare Thoughts after a day of work

Watch A Computing Engineer Live Coding

Mike (Taylor) has been telling me about the live coding session of Mike Conley for a little while. So yesterday I decided to give it a try with the first episode of The Joy of Coding (mconley livehacks on Firefox). As mentionned in the description:

Unscripted, unplanned, uncensored, and true to life, watch what a Firefox Desktop engineer does to close bugs and get the job done.

And that is what is written on the jar. And sincerely this is good.

Why Should You Watch Live Coding?

I would recommend to watch this for:

  • Beginner devs: To understand that more experienced developers struggle and make mistakes too. To also learn a couple of good practices when coding.
  • Experienced devs: To see how someone is coding and learn a couple of new tricks and habits when coding. To encourage them to do the same kind of things than Mike is doing.
  • Managers: You are working as a manager in a Web agency, you are a project manager, watch this. You will not understand most of it, but focus exactly on what Mike is doing in terms of thoughts process and work organization. Even without a knowledge of programming, we discover the struggles, the trials and errors, and the success.

There's a full series of them, currently 19.

My Own (Raw) Notes When Watching The Video

  • Watching the first video of Live Coding
  • He started with 3 video scenes and switched to his main full screen
  • He's introducing himself
  • mconley: "Nothing is prepared"
  • He's introducing the bug and explained it in demonstrating it
  • mconley: "I like to take notes when working on bugs" (taken in evernote)
  • mconley: "dxr is better than mxr."
  • He's not necessary remembering everything. So he goes through other parts of the code to understand what others did.
  • Sometimes he just doesn't know, doesn't understand and he says it.
  • mconley: "What other people do?"
  • He's taking notes including some TODOs for the future to explore, understand, do.
  • He's showing his fails in compiling, in coding, etc.
  • (personal thoughts) It's hard to draw on a computer. Paper provides some interesting features for quickly drawing something. Computer loses, paper wins.
  • When recording, thinking with a loud voice gives context on what is happening.
  • Write comments in the code for memory even if you remove them later.
  • In your notes, cut and paste the code from the source. Paper loses, computer wins.
  • (personal thoughts): C++ code is ugly to read.
  • (personal thoughts): Good feeling for your own job after watching this. It shows you are not the only one struggling when doing stuff.

Some Additional Thoughts

We met Mike Conley in Whistler, Canada last week. He explained he used Open Broadcasting Project for recording his sessions. I'm tempted to do something similar for Web Compatibility work. I'm hesitating in between French and English. Maybe if Mike was doing something in English, I might do it in French. So people in the French community could benefit of it.

So thanks Mike for telling me about this in the last couple of weeks.