Happy little (binary) trees. Is there a Bob Ross of coding?
April 14, 2013 10:28 PM   Subscribe

Is there a Bob Ross of coding? I'm looking for a particular style of educational video which shows developers working through problems. It should include a voice over describing what they are trying to accomplish. It should also show the types of decisions they are making as they work through the problem.

I'm specifically interested in Python and javascript. On the Python side, anything that includes data science stuff (obtaining, scrubbing, exploring, modeling or interpreting data). On the JS side, if there were videos on data viz libraries (like D3) that would be good.

Anyway, I get an incredible amount of benefit looking over someone's shoulder as they work. Point me to some learning materials!
posted by quadog to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 84 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is exactly the purpose of Peepcode's Play by Play series. It's fairly Ruby heavy, but there are some JS examples and most of the lessons aren't language-specific.
posted by yaymukund at 10:44 PM on April 14, 2013 [10 favorites]

Try the search term screencast.
posted by tantivy at 11:20 PM on April 14, 2013

Notch (of Minecraft fame) sometimes records himself on marathon coding sessions.
posted by empath at 12:06 AM on April 15, 2013

I'd be wary of watching Notch as an example of how to program. He's said many, many times publicly that he's not a very good programmer, and the performance of Minecraft seems to bear that out. Nothing against him at all, just perhaps not the example you want to learn from. A marathon session is likely to be particularly slap-dash.

The recommendation for Play by Play is a great one, I think. They show the process of programming more than a typical screencast -- most of those are something where it's basically scripted, which won't tell you much about how programmers actually work.

Thinking a little outside the box, remote pair programming might be a really cool option for you. I'm more familiar with the Ruby community than Python, but I've seen a lot of offers from folks to pair with beginners on an open source project. You'd get all the benefits of watching over someone's shoulder, with a whole lot of other benefits from the direct interaction. Pair programming is one of the best ways to learn, in my experience.

If that sounds appealing, try going to local language-specific meetups and see if there's people who would be interested. Even working with another beginner could help you a lot.
posted by duien at 7:20 AM on April 15, 2013

Quick followup: googling "remote pair programming" turned up (oddly enough) a blog called Remote Pair Programming by a developer at Pivotal Labs. The most recent post right now is about remote pairing for education, and links to a page full of youtube videos of pairing sessions.
posted by duien at 7:25 AM on April 15, 2013

Best answer: I recommend James Shore's Let's Play TDD series. It's Java, but I think it shows thought-process nicely. He also has a new series focused on JavaScript Let's Code JavaScript.
posted by miscbuff at 7:45 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I hadn't thought of looking for these before, but that's a really good idea. I've only been looking at proper tutorials (like egghead.io for the AngularJS javascript famework).
posted by escher at 9:19 AM on April 15, 2013

I certainly don't have any examples specific enough to satisfy your request exactly, but I'm certainly familiar with videos generally like this, and I usually see them described as "live coding":

posted by arantius at 3:47 PM on April 16, 2013

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