Video Of The Week: Livecoding Performances

My partner Andy got me interested in the livecoding phenomenon. As I’ve been checking it out, I came across this video. Pretty cool.


Comments (Archived):

  1. David Fleck

    Super cool. Peek behind the curtain for a non-coder like myself. Also makes me think it’s more accessible than I thought to perhaps teach an old dog new tricks.

  2. Mike Zamansky

    You can learn a lot from watching live coded screen casts. It’s something I frequently do in class – that way kids see the tools, build process, errors as they really happen.That feeling when you have a room full of people not seeing what should be an obvious error finally seeing it (me included),,.

    1. David Greydanus

      That feeling when your friends let you stair at your screen for 5 minutes before you realize you needed a == instead of a =

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Missing ; was always my favourite, not sure why..

    2. Vasudev Ram

      >It’s something I frequently do in classGot any to share?

      1. Mike Zamansky

        Never set up to record. Maybe I’ll start screen capturing this year.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Fresh! On the run innovation.

  4. aweissman

    It is pretty diverse – check out Sage :”who wears a T-shirt that reads “shred neck,” likes to grab a guitar and solo (sometimes heavy-metal leads, sometimes classical) for 5, 10, sometimes 20 minutes at a time in the middle of his streams. The musical interludes don’t seem to have cramped his popularity on Livecoding. “They ask me for it!” he says. “Then half the room will leave. They’re like, fuck that. And the other half of the room is going, yeah! yeah! yeah! And then after that, they want to go back to coding.”…

    1. LE

      Look he can do whatever he wants to do. It’s his stream. But to me when I am in a learning zone [1] I don’t want to be brought out of it by some random activity interjected by and for the pleasure of the presenter even if it’s enjoyed by the non-serious half of the audience.In any case th heavy metal shit is just noise to my ears. I skipped a bit forward and heard something that reminded me of “Classical Gas” though…[1] Ever been in a restaurant having a conversation and someone comes up to play a romantic guitar? How enjoyable is that unless you are “the dining dead”. [2][2] Refers to couples who can’t hold a conversation and are looking for distraction.

      1. JLM

        .You have not lived until you go to Mi Tierra in San Antone at El Mercado. This is as authentic as TexMex gets in the entire state or Texas. Their t shirts have Panco Villa on them.They have sets of roving 4-5 man musicians and they play and sing whatever you want.There are some romantic love ballads which will tip the odds in your favor immensely — a certainty if you have three margaritas.One Mi Tierra margarita — a very good time was had by allTwo Mi Tierra margaritas — truth serumThree Mi Tierra margaritas — contemplate doing things you have never actually doneFourt Mi Tierra margaritas — on the border between alcohol toxicity and unassisted flightI am not sure it is so much fun without the margaritas.Also — will sing Christmas carols during ………..wait for it…………the Christmas season.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          There are some romantic love ballads which will tip the odds in your favor immenselyHah! When you are as fit and good looking as I am, there is no need to game the odds with love ballads. I will also mention that she is quite a bit younger than me (and I do mean quite a bit younger) and earns a good living on top of that.

          1. JLM

            .Would you be offended if I sent you a gift card to Massage Envy. Your ego appears to need a deep tissue massage.It’s called “romance”, dude. I understand girls like that stuff.JKJLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. LE

            Well you picked something that I also don’t like. No way. I have never had a massage and the thought of having a stranger (male or female) touch me like that is not the least bit appealing. [1]As far as ego if you take it as bragging that’s fine with me because I was. Noting that you also brag from time to time. Just about different things.My wife is not the type to be turned on by any “romance” type thing anyway. Doesn’t mean anything to her really (and actually luckily for me).[1] Ditto for the word “dude” by the way.

          3. JLM

            .Trifecta, baby!Just kidding, dude. You knew that.As to massage, you have to get a massage once a week. Think of it like a tune up. A deep tissue massage is very good for you.I was recovering from getting thrown off the back of a tank one time. We were up on the border. I was standing on the back of the tank looking into NK with binoculars. Trying to locate a specific spot.I adjust the binoculars and there is a NK guy w/ binoculars looking right at me.A second later, a round bounces off the front of the tank — only the turret was showing (“hull defilade”).I thought it was a “spotter” round for a recoilless rifle. An RR has a coaxially mounted .50 caliber to use as a spotter round. If the .50 cal hits the target, the next round is the big RR round — a tank killer.The tank commander comes to the same conclusion and backs the tank up so it’s not showing. I get knocked off by the movement, land in a hole, sprain my ankle so that it turns black and started getting massages, acupuncture, and needles to draw out the blood.Been hooked ever since.Then, you need a nice pedicure.Trust me. Would I lead you astray?JLMwww.themusingsoftthebigredc…

          4. LE

            Well I have already decided that I don’t like that and the last time I was cajoled into doing something that I didn’t want to do was when I was forced to golf. And I was right. To me it was a total waste of time.Now of course if I could have gotten business gain (or women when I needed them) out of playing golf I would have changed my tune “because the facts would have changed, sir”. So the way to hit said hot button is to somehow tie in making $$ to getting a massage. Then someone at least has my ear basically. I am already to relaxed as it is. I don’t even use my small vacation place (which is only 55 minutes away) I rent it. Yoga? Hah who needs yoga! I go to a salon where they attempt to massage your head after they wash it (I still have hair and it just started turning gray, another thing to be jealous of given my age) and I tell them to not massage me please. Enough bragging (your turn..)More seriously though I’m the guy who didn’t try pot or drugs because I refused to succumb to peer pressure. (Ooops sorry to brag again..) And didn’t drink in college. (And not because my father was an alcoholic like Dr. Phil, just because I didn’t want to..) Shit, more bragging (your turn).That said and on a positive note I do see that you get a great deal of pleasure out of the many things you do and enjoy, that I don’t. I definitely recognize that and I wish I could enjoy some of these things. The good news is there are probably things that I do and enjoy that you don’t and can’t.Then, you need a nice pedicure.Holy fucking shit! What comes after trifecta (or “trifecter” as a New Yorker would say?)Most of the above is true by the way….

          5. JLM

            .I must say that I admire your self control greatly. It is admirable.Try the massage out. Think of it “working out” all your muscles without having to do any work.It is great for your mind.Be good.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. Jim Borden

    Fascinating, even though I had no idea what was going on…

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Just watch these videos another 10 years and you’ll be a pro.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        Peter Norvig on that topic:Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years:'s head of research at Google.From this page – his short bio:“My article on Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years has had over 2 million readers.”

        1. Twain Twain

          There are some things I don’t agree with Norvig about but I do agree with him the “Learn code in 24 hours” is unhelpful.Code is like music or a language in many respects.Practice and OFTEN to become a maestro.

  6. JamesHRH

    A have a theory – people are ultra-aware that they do not have the physical tools to be super stars in sports. So they now idolize people that are less visibly gifted.i could code that. I could do that in that game.I think it also explains the global popularity of soccer (average body types really).I am coming around on it not being a sign of generational apocalypse.

    1. LE

      I think it also explains the global popularity of soccerIn my mind better explained by lemming brainwashing (by peers or during formative years by Dad or friends) as well as crowd effect similar to Penn State Football.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Indeed there is reward people receive from watching it, even if that reward is filling the mind that otherwise isn’t getting the volume or type of stimulus it likes. That’s why there are regulars on AVC too.

  7. Mike Gonzalez

    This is incredible. Though I second Jim in that I have no idea what’s going on.

  8. William Mougayar

    Cool. The Twitch of coding.

  9. Mario Cantin

    So now coders can be rock stars literally as well as metaphorically!The next 50 to 100 years, or longer, certainly belongs to the computer geeks, whether that’s good or not so great for society.I hope it stops short of some brainiac plugging a pair of electrodes into his or her sexual partner’s head so as to login onto their iMac computer to program them the perfect orgasm!!Don’t forget to play a real piano, folks…

  10. Dave Hyndman

    That’s awesome! Thanks Fred.

  11. LE

    Interesting of course. The music did sound computer generated and not appealing to me personally but what’s interesting is that there is probably a market for music like this where background sound is needed (like in restaurants or retail stores and even factories). In that case you wouldn’t have to pay for royalty free music or more importantly music programming companies to do the same. So the tone and the tempo of the music can be adjusted by algorithms for time of day and employee and customer mood. With a gui front end. A similar thing is currently done (by humans) in many venues in order to keep employees moving at a certain pace. [1][1] Wawa on the East Coast is an example where I’ve figured out that is what they are doing. They carefully choose the music to keep customers happy and employees productive and it changes with the time of day and to match body rhythms.

  12. pointsnfigures

    But, does it come on vinyl?

    1. Twain Twain

      Haha, fantastic comment!

  13. ezwing

    Fascinating merging of programming and music creation.

  14. Twain Twain

    BRILLIANT. BRILLIANT. AMAZING & WITTY.This would be a GREAT way to teach kids about the music of code — not just the code of music.That’s the thing about code. There’s structure. There’s form.There are beats with repeatable patterns and pauses. There’s elegance. There’s symphony.It can be as simple and sweet as a Beatles song or as expansive as a Grieg.The coder is both conductor, musician and mathematician.

  15. sigmaalgebra

    Interesting software.Nicely okay synthetic piano sound.The combination might be capable of performing some good music.But, nope: What was illustrated as an approach to music doesn’t work but does illustrate a lack of some fundamental but not so easy to see understanding, likely not universally accepted, about music. Or music is art, and art is often in the eye of the beholder. Still ….At one time, I tried something like that — take some random numbers, use them to select notes, and play the notes on a piano. It sounded like junk, nonsense, noise. Right away, clearly, it was no seed of, or path to, music.Eventually I said “It’s not an expressive progression.” which was just a stab, and not very clear, at what was wrong.At one time my brilliant wife, with good piano and voice skills, on the days when she was looking for more solid meaning in life, exclaimed “Music doesn’t mean anything.”.Well, in that case, maybe those random numbers would be as good as music as anything else? But, of course, even to someone under five who likes music, the random numbers are not as good, not nearly, really are just noise.So, for a first-cut, blunt explanation: Music is a language, and good music does communicate some cases of meaning. E.g., commonly music is good as art, that is, according to a common definition, is a “communication, interpretation of human experience, emotion.”.So, net, at least first-cut, good music will not come from a random number generator but from a human and what they feel or understand and want to communicate to, yes, another human.Good music is usually, maybe nearly always, about human experience and emotion and, there, a fairly direct communication from the composer and performer to the listener.Maybe random numbers could do that too, but we’re not very surprised to see, hear, quickly that nearly always they don’t. Sorry ’bout that.Can we describe the meaning of music in words? Well, Lenny Bernstein wrote a book about music where he claimed “Yes,” and gave some examples, but warned, as was fully clear in his examples, that the words were very clumsy. Or, for what good music says, it’s better just to say it with the music.Glenn Gould concluded long ago that the days of getting good performances of music via human muscles acting in real time were about over because the electronics and machines could do much better. Well, likely the humans and acoustic instruments have lasted longer than Gould expected, but he had a point. But another point is that some of a good performance comes from the performer’s emotions that are difficult to specify to some electronics. And in particular, Gould was known for some especially precise, even mechanical, performances of, say, parts of Bach.Ah, to be fair to Gould, let’s see; let me check: Yup, it’s there! Wondered about that! At…Gould plays the Franz Liszt arrangement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It’s not just mechanical and is at least dramatic.Listening to that music, it’s now on the second movement and I remember that early in my efforts with music I heard it for the first time in a movie and guessed that it was the second movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which I’d by then never heard, later checked, and was correct. How’d I do that? Easy enough: Somehow it sounded like Beethoven, e.g., his 7th symphony I’d heard a lot, a symphony, and a second movement. I’d heard that his 5th was his most famous so guessed. Ah, it’s common enough to recognize a piece of music have heard before but what about when never having heard it before!There’s an old point in artificial intelligence: Some software was written that emulated a psychotherapist. Really, the software worked mostly by just taking what the user had input, identifying the topics, and then asking questions about those topics.So, soon enough it became clear to the user that the software wasn’t responding in any meaningful way. So, all the user’s efforts were just wasted, necessarily so, and as known in advance by the software writer. So, the user felt ripped off, had his time and effort wasted, and got torqued.Well, music from a random number generator can do something similar: A listener can keep listening for the musical communication or meaning, not find it, and feel ripped off.E.g., in…Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto number 2, opus 18, Anna Fedorova, often the listener has to pay close attention and has to wait, but soon both investments bring high return: IMHO in places the music has some of the most gorgeous, touching, emotional, human sounds in all of civilization — no exaggeration. And likely Rachmaninoff was not much for random numbers. How he wrote that music is astounding; wish I could do that.

  16. Vivek Kumar

    As a coder, I found the livecoding phenominon fascinating. Looking at other people’s approaches and the tools they use, provides unique insight and learning opportunities.Part of me is also mesmerized by the voyeurism of nerdy reality.

  17. Scott Allen Mueller

    Loved that he was programming in a functional language, then disappointed he immediately introduced a mutable global variable :(. I’m guessing many people wouldn’t follow what he’s doing in code. Is this still interesting in that case?

  18. LIAD

    We’ve watched people create art for centuries. This is exactly the same.

  19. LaMarEstaba

    Mesmerizing. Like watching a Twitch live code. Awesome.

  20. Mike Zamansky

    The trick is what to do when you teach 2 or 3 sections of the same class – do you stage a live coding error from class 1 and try to make it seem authentic or do you just figure to screw up somewhere else?Also really excited to get hackign sessions to the baseline funding – now looking for those stretch goals. Can’t wait to get started with the kids.

  21. LE

    both of which hopefully make it all more approachable for kidsMy feeling is that there is value in this as a learning tool, that is obvious. But you have to also keep in mind that seeing what others at or near the top of their craft do can also be discouraging as well.

  22. LE

    I think there is a difference if a teacher is doing this where the expectation is they are doing the same thing over and over again (if I get your point correctly) vs. a coder who would be viewed more as a peer or more accurately someone that a student is aspiring to be.For example let’s take karate lessons (which I took as a kid). Seeing perfection in the sensei is much different than seeing the same perfection in someone your age or even younger.

  23. Mike Zamansky

    Or seeing the imperfections in the sensei which is one of the things I’m trying to show.The idea, when I do livecoding in class is for it to be indeed new livecoding – the problem is that if I end up livecoding the same example or program the second and sometimes third time round is “rehearsed.”it’s all about having a bunch of tools in the tool belt.