what i learned about live coding at kcdc

This is a post about my experience. For the live blog, see the KCDC 2021 live blog table of contents.

I planned to do 10 minutes of live coding at my KCDC “Intro to JUnit 5” talk. It was an experiment to do more of that in the future. Here’s how it went.

Coding with people watching

This wasn’t as awkward as I worried it might be. I have coded with a bunch of people watching at work before. And I tried mob programming once at an event. I did have to google something I would have been able to copy/paste at work. But that was fine.

My Focus

I’m very interactive when I speak. I watch the audience. I ask them to participate, raise their hands, etc. I look when they look puzzled or their energy level is going down. When my focus and attention are on coding, this isn’t happening.

Why I should have seen this coming

I didn’t enjoy presenting at online conferences because I didn’t get that audience feedback loop. I was ok when on or moderating a panel because I saw the panelists. I’m ok at my team meetings (which to be fair had participants in locations other than mine even before the pandemic) because they are on video.

I did not enjoy presenting to my computer without seeing the audience. And I knew this. It’s why I have been declining opportunities to present at online conferences and meetups. I didn’t connect it to live coding in a room of people. Oh well. Now I know!

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