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Coding as an Armchair Sport

By Joanne Jacobs

Ever wondered HOW people code? Or what they do while they ARE coding? Some years ago I ran a web development team – and found that watching people code was both fascinating and revealing.

One time, we were right on deadline to fix and launch a massive Australian promotional campaign and we’d encountered a problem. The lead developer was simultaneously working in two languages and stepping us through his thought processes as he was typing. He’d try something, test it, hit a bug and then revisit.  Meanwhile the team and I were throwing suggestions to him – some he’d try and others he would bounce off his impenetrable armour.

As the moments ticked by, I remember asking him whether we would make the launch time which was literally minutes away. There was code all over the place. His fingers were tapping the keyboard like it was molten lava. And he turned to me, paused, and said, “can’t you see, it’s almost done?”.

We all laughed. By that stage I could not tell whether he was joking or not.

Sure enough, with 30 seconds to spare before the official launch, the code was deployed, fully working – ready for business.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience this yourself – to go behind the scenes with coders – then the WatchPeopleCode site is the site for you.

Aggregating real time streaming video of people live coding, it’s a fascinating chance to see coders share their expertise, take real time feedback through online chat – and reveal some of the tricks that keep the internet ticking over.

If coders are the rockstars of the internet age, then this is the reality TV version. Grab some popcorn and settle in.


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