While there is a lot of content about programming and building products on YouTube, I do feel that it‘s quite lacking when it comes to people building fully-fledged products — and them showing the work that goes into it.
One channel I‘ve grown quite fond of over the last year is Andreas Kling‘s: he is building (fully in the open) an open source operating system called SerenityOS and recently got some attention by the press due to his (and a lot of other people‘s) work on Ladybird browser and its LibWeb engine.
I love a lot about his videos: the calm style, the way he explains what he is doing and the full transparency while doing so, as the videos are all one-takes.
While I don‘t want to copy his exact style and way of doing videos, I‘ve become heavily inspired to roll my own video series for building Anzu. As our goal is to build in public and become very transparent about what we‘re doing, it seems like the perfect product to work on within a video series.
Videos have always been a passion of me, and while spending countless hours on YouTube is far from special nowadays, I had some attempts in the past of creating content that is enjoyable to watch. Already six videos in I can feel that I‘m gradually improving on style and production quality as well as how awkward it feels to have a big microphone sitting in front of me.
In addition to creating content that I like consuming and would love to see more of, a big part of doing these videos is also to hold myself accountable. As it doesn‘t increase the effort by a lot, making a video of what I‘m working on helps with reflection and even, by a lot, focus.
Even building software can feel intangible at times, but having a product that is ready to be enjoyed and viewed makes the process much more worthwhile. Fixing bugs not just becomes a necessity but also an opportunity. Building features in the open makes the process be transparent and even just verbally talking about it adds another dimension of thought and empathy to the process.
Of course, this is still in stark contrast to a user centered design approach, but it provides a nice balance to the shut-in hours of engineering work that would usually make up the process of software development.
About the content
In my videos I‘m working on Anzu, the product Bruno and I are working on. You can sometimes hear me mentioning Bruno when working on the codebase, so it‘s probably good that you know who he is :)
As we‘re mostly using TypeScript and React, this is what I‘m currently focusing my videos on. I‘m trying to keep the videos focused on one part of the software, like improving a dropdown, adding new parts to a feature and so on. It‘s somewhat between a walkthrough or let‘s play might be, but for building software.
Right now, in the beginning of this video series, I am improving our analytics feature. If you want to know more about the capabilities, I recommend either watching one or more of the videos, or reading about it in our documentation. While the design has changed quite a bit, a lot of it still holds up well in regards of scope. I also invite you to reach out to any of us if you‘re interested in a demo of our product.
In no particular order, I’d like to mention the following