The holy grail of conference talks



As a search on twitter will reveal, live coding is becoming increasingly popular in conference talks. Here at TOPLAP we’ve been mostly concerned with live programming languages for music and video performance, but the same principles apply to conference presentations. Both involve taking programming into social situations, and interacting live with running computer programs. Live coding is also now recognised as best practice in Computer Science lectures by such scholars as the highly influential¬†Prof. Mark Guzdial, so we really should be taking live coding seriously as a pedagogic approach.

An excellent article by Jeffrey Way has just popped up with some useful tips for those who want to try live coding part of a conference talk. Some of the tips, like practising, planning, physical exercises, audience awareness and the general facing up to the inherent dangers of live coding could equally apply to more performance-oriented live coding. Maybe this is a good opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange, although of course many performing live coders are also professional software engineers themselves, and work right across any artificial distinction between artistic and technical practice.

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