Gregg Pollack


The Best Worst Programming Tutorial

I’ve watched through some pretty awful programming tutorials. As a developer someday we may inevitably strive to create one of our own. To make it easy I’ve amassed 10 tips to create the best worst programming tutorials.

You can watch the video above to see these tips in action, but I’ll also summarize them here.

1. Choose an interesting location

Most developers are right there at their desk, but when you get out of the box you can find many places around your house to film. Bathrooms have great acoustics, and closets are full of lots of background filler. When I worked at Code School we actually had someone submit a screencast she filmed in her bathroom. She was cutting edge at the time.

2. Show all windows on your desktop

When you’re developing web apps for example, you’re going to need a console, database visualization, API docs, and web browser to do real world developing. Thus, you’ll want to make sure you make room for every last one on your desktop. Give your users the full picture.

3. Make sure to show the entire app

With advent of 4k technology, there’s no reason to switch to a 6 point font if it allows you to show the entire application on the screen. Why show users only one part of the app, when you can fit all 5 core modules into one video shot.

4. Choose a font that stands out

If you really want a developer’s attention, make sure your font color cannot be ignored. Hot pink in particular has been shown to increase brain cell activity in the part of the brain that recognizes font, u, and center tag elements.

5. Use natural lighting or none at all

No one really wants to see you anyways, so it’s best to be in the dark when recording. It’s a sign of respect to not show your face or at least be in the shadows, like a proper code ninja.

6. Use your intimate soft voice

When recording audio it’s important to picture yourself right there beside your viewers whispering soft JavaScript syntax into their ears. Talk to them soft and gentle, as though you’re massaging their pituitary glands.

7. Use slides with bullet points

Bullet points are like oxygen to developers, they can’t really function without them. Everything must be structured into nice boxes, or bullet points. Everything else is simply chaos.

8. Use Comic Sans

You might have felt at some point in your life that Comic Sans is a bad font. This makes it the perfect font to show that you care about thinking differently and breaking the status quo. Steve Jobs favorite font was Comic Sans*.

*Most likely not true.

There is one caveat, and that is if you’re using the Ruby Language, in which case you should always use Papyrus*.

*Ruby folk are classy AF.

9. Use diagrams to look smart

As you can see with the diagram above, the cloud service can auto-deploy the blockchain. If it wasn’t clear before, it is now because I used a diagram. Duh right?

That’s all there is to it! I know I promised you 10 tips, but video is all about shipping it. Polish is overrated.

In all seriousness though, I am working on a video covering the best practices for creating the best programming tutorials. If you’d like to be notified when that goes out, either subscribe on the Open SourceCraft YouTube channel or drop me your email.

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