Why Ask a Developer?
We love learning about individual developers! But it can be misleading to rely too much on anecdotal evidence. That’s why we also use data like that collected by Evans Data Corporation, SlashData, and our own surveys. However, running an idea, question or assumption by a member of the audience (MOA) can still add value. In this case, our MOAs are your audience, too — developers and other IT professionals.
While there may be as many answers as there are developers, interesting trends and hard-to-find nuances can emerge. And the stories told here at a human scale often appear as overarching themes or trends in surveys. That’s why we asked celebrity developer and Twitch Live Coder Jeffrey Fritz to ask fellow developers some of the questions technical content marketers most want answered.
Meet Kristina Heishman
Fritz caught up with Kristina Heishman, a fellow Live Coder team member. This multi-talented developer is both a musician and programmer.
You program in several different languages on Twitch, don’t you?
Yeah, I mostly do Python. I mean, I learned C. I do C++ and Embedded C at work. Some projects require it, but I have been trying to stick mostly to Python right now because I can do everything from the computer — like actually on the PC scripts, to web servers to embedded code, all in Python now. That’s kind of fun to do, end-to-end Python stuff, and experiment with that.
When you’re learning about new ways that you can experiment with Python, what do you look for in your blogs or documentation or white papers? Do you look for a lot of code samples? Do you look for diagrams?
Mostly I want something that I can scan, or reference and scan, and parse pretty quickly. If I do videos — and I really like videos — There are a couple of people that I like in particular because they break down their videos into specific topics. They have an overarching abstraction of a larger concept, but then it’s broken down into sections and chapters. So I can just go straight to that thing that I want to reference…. I’d rather personally go and get that from someone who does a larger series on it, but has it broken down.
So you like an index or search point?
Exactly. So if I’m looking for how to use itertools or something in Python, there are people that have 30-minute-long itertool videos. Then there are people that have six five-minute-long videos that go over different aspects of it and different ways to use it. I’d rather go to those five-minute videos than try and skip through a 30-minute video.
If there are vendors out there that are building tools for Python, what topics would you look for specifically in those blogs or white papers?
My biggest focus on any tools that I use [is] just a really clean and minimal UI that’s easy and quick to parse. I think that we’re pretty inundated by a bunch of visual noise just day in and day out as developers, and that’s really exhausting mentally. I’m noticing that it also kind of drains my willpower a little bit. So it’s really frustrating when you’re looking something up, and you drain all your willpower, and you mentally exhaust yourself just trying to find the information. Now that you have the answer, you’re down to 20% of what your reserve was, and you’re trying to apply it, and it doesn’t really work very well. So anything that’s really clear and easy to kind of index mentally and find is what I look for.
So would you say that makes the content more developer friendly? That it’s easier for you to parse out, easier for you to understand, and clearer in the delivery?
I think for working developers, absolutely. I think if you’re in school, you probably want to look for something different, and go as deep as you possibly can because you’re trying to just absorb the big picture. I guess for the first time, sometimes you’re just reviewing what you heard in class. But as a professional developer, a lot of times you’re really just referencing something that you know probably exists, but you don’t know how to do it or you don’t remember how to do it because you don’t do it every day.
How often do you expect to see new content posted on a vendor’s site?
For less in-depth content, I would say at least once a week. For written content and for blog posts, what I really like to see is, I don’t know if I should call it a case study, but I like the posts that are like, “Here’s an essay of a really cool thing that I did with a tool that you use every day that you may not have considered [using] this way.”
I really like those, or op-eds, where they say, “Yeah, here’s an underrated tool. Here’s a really neat way to use it,” and then, [it] walks through [a] way to use it. I feel like those are pretty enlightening, and those need that long-form kind of blog post.