12 Nov 2018

Why I'm starting an open source project just to live-stream its development

A livestream will only deliver the most value when it allows full participation.

When I restarted my live stream “Full Stack Live” last week after a hiatus of a few months, it came with a new concept. Not only had I created “Full Stack Sensei” as a new personal brand, I also gave my live coding stream a single central topic: an open source infrastructure management software code-named “Jupiter”. It’s this software I’ll be developing and deploying live while chatting with my viewers.

The reason for this change in content strategy is that the goal I’m pursuing with Full Stack Live has shifted. As I explained in my initial post, I had started live-streaming as a way of transferring knowledge to my team first and to my other viewers second. However, over time, I realised that there was a huge disparity in context between these two audiences. Since I usually picked up current issues with which our operations team was dealing, external viewers were often lacking the necessary context to fully understand what I was doing and, more importantly, what I was aiming at. More often than not, the live stream even picked up mid-development. And since most of our company repositories are private, there was no way for my followers out there to inspect the codebase I was working on. I felt this wasn’t fair.

That’s why I invented Jupiter. It’s open source, so everyone can take a look at the codebase at any time. Since I’m going to live-stream almost all of its development from the very start, viewers can watch recordings of work they missed. (The more boring parts that have a low signal-to-noise ratio I will do off-stream; I’ll still document them via pull requests, though.)

I think that this approach will create the most value in exchange for the time people spend watching Full Stack Live. They’ll be able to take away things like:

  • Ruby on Rails basics
  • Writing clean code
  • Building a development environment with Docker
  • How to apply the SOLID principles
  • Effective version control
  • Development workflows in teams
  • Deploying software to Kubernetes

To be honest, I don’t know if the software will ever going to be used by anyone, even by myself. But that’s not important. I’ve basically taken a 180 degree turn in strategy: Before, my main goal was finishing a real development task; giving others a sneak peek was only the byproduct. With the new concept of Full Stack Live, the journey becomes the destination. The learnings my viewers take away from watching the stream will be at least as important as, if not more important than the thing I’m building.

In a sense, I’m also going “back to the roots” to what I was doing more than 15 years ago. I was travelling between training centres and company headquarters giving courses as a SuSE Certified Linux Trainer. Now I’m going to teach DevOps practices to people all over the world from the comfort of my home office.

If you’re interested in this project, please do the following things:

  1. Follow Full Stack Live on Twitch. That way, you’ll get a notification every time I’m going live.
  2. Subscribe to the Full Stack Live Youtube Channel. Since Twitch will delete my recordings after a short time, here’s where I’m archiving them. I’m also soon going to try broadcasting via Twitch and YouTube simultaneously, so you’ll be able to choose your favourite streaming platform.
  3. Check out my streaming schedule and block a bit of time on your calendar so we can do the DevOps together!
  4. Forgive me for the terrible phrase “Do the DevOps”.

Oh, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

I’ll see you soon on Full Stack Live!