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Looking to Learn AWS Development? Watch It Live!

Once the sole province of gamers, the live streaming service Twitch.TV is increasingly being used to teach enterprise software development, with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) at the forefront of the movement.

AWS in March published the first of its Live Coding with AWS series of instructional videos, wherein AWS developers -- or rather "senior technical evangelists" -- livestream their coding projects, teaching lessons ranging from "Application Delivery on AWS" to "Chatbots with Lex & Slack."

"Live Coding with AWS will cover almost every AWS service from the developer perspective, and occasionally will have guests from Amazon and throughout the community to talk about their projects," the site says. While debuting on the AWS site, the live coding videos and associated resources are subsequently made available on the Twitch AWS site.

That AWS is a big player in the growing "live coding" movement on Twitch is hardly surprising since Amazon bought out parent company Twitch Interactive (which began as the gamer-oriented Justin.tv in 2007) in 2014.

Live Coding with AWS now hosts 18 livestreamed videos available for replay, which are also hosted on the Twitch AWS site where even more videos -- 72 and counting -- can be found, with content ranging back from the companys 2015 re:Invent conference.

And the videos keep coming, with "How to Use SSM" set for broadcast today and four more lessons scheduled through the end of the month.

Coding Chatbots with Lex & Slack
[Click on image for larger view.] Randall Hunt Teaches Coding Chatbots with Lex & Slack (source: AWS)

The following description of a June 26 stream ("Chatbots with Lex & Slack") provides an idea of what the videos are like:

Slack and AWS join forces live on Twitch.TV/AWS this Monday, June 26 at 4PM ET to code a chatbot using Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda!

We'll be building a Lex-powered serverless chatbot that lets users grab descriptions of upcoming Twitch episodes and then vote on which one should be next. We'll cover authorization, operations, and persistence using AWS Lambda and Amazon DynamoDB (as well as third-party authorization through Twitch, Slack, or another provider). Mondays stream can also be a great place to get ideas or questions answered if you are participating in the AWS Chatbot Challenge.

Randall Hunt (@jrhunt) will be joined by Helen Zeng, a Partner Engineer on Slacks Developer Relations team. She helps partners and developers bring their workflows directly into Slack. She previously worked on developer platforms at Twitter and Microsoft, and is always willing to talk your ear off about API design!

The video lasts about 90 minutes, guided by Randall Hunt, who is shown even during the more mundane moments familiar to every programmer, such as staring at the screen trying to figure out the cause of a bug while rubbing his chin and murmuring "hmm." One benefit of livestreaming is that viewers can join in with helpful hints, as one did in this video, reminding Hunt that he forgot to include a return: "Oh, am I missing a return again? Every time! Good call."

While such moments may be of interest to hardcore programmers only, the videos can serve as an alternate instructional venue for coders who like to learn visually and enjoy the social interaction found with livestreaming.

The AWS Twitch site reports 2,210 followers, who can be grouped into friends, followed or even contacted via a "whisper."

For those not so into the social interaction, the livestreamed videos are always available for replay at the official AWS and Twitch sites and other venues, such as YouTube, where the AWS videos include not only the "live coding videos but others, such as impromptu interviews with the likes of Amazon CTO Werner Vogels.

Although Twitch is at the forefront of the live coding movement, other options are also available, such as WatchPeopleCode (with an associated Reddit site) and LiveEdu.tv (formerly LiveCoding.tv)

It's at Twitch, though, where live coding has taken off, even though the site still identifies itself as providing "social video for gamers." The site claims 9.7 million daily active users, with more than 2 million unique streamers per month. Even with the gaming focus, Twitch "communities" such as Programming are available, with that community being followed by 1,395 developers.

AWS live coding videos will first appear on the AWS site, though, with the upcoming schedule featuring:

Date Topic
July 11 How to Use SSM
July 13 Winning Hackathons with AWS
July 18 Integrating Lex with Line, Telegram, IRC & More
July 20 Join the Wild Rydes Serverless Workshop!
July 25 Join the GameDay Challenge (GameDay Essentials video)

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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