POLITICS

Montreal 'geek entrepreneurs' will livestream as they create an app in three days

04/23/2015 03:31 EDT | Updated 07/20/2015 08:59 EDT
MONTREAL - Three self-described "geeky entrepreneurs" from Montreal who say creating a mobile app can be completed in three days will attempt the feat this weekend as cameras document every line of code they write.

Two programmers and a designer will barricade themselves inside an apartment, beginning Friday, to create an application from scratch by Sunday night. The entire project will be livestreamed to their website to give viewers an inside look into the creative process.

"Coders are interested in learning how others solve problems, because everyone thinks differently," said Roman Filippov, a web developer who is part of the trio.

"Coding is not a straightforward thing. You can solve one problem in multiple ways, and watching people do that in real time lets you see their train of thought, and that teaches you."

It might not appeal to everyone, but the three are capitalizing on a growing trend.

Following the popularity of live video game streaming sites — where people watch others play — platforms like livecoding.tv and twitch have begun offering programming events streamed online. On Reddit, a subreddit group called Watch People Code, a dedicated forum to live coding, has 8,000 readers.

Filippov likens the process to watching an artist create a work instead of simply admiring the finished product in a gallery.

"A painting on the wall may be beautiful, but you don't know how it came about," he said. "But to look at something being made in real time is like getting to watch the painting process from scratch and seeing the steps that are needed to make it."

Filippov and partners Audrey Guardia and Max Kovalenkov want to create a basic working application or MVP (minimum viable product) for online as well as Apple and Android devices.

Filippov has not revealed the group's precise app idea, describing it roughly as a tool to help so-called "digital nomads" like himself who work with computers and travel frequently.

They want to expand beyond live coding by filming the entire creative process from start to finish — planning, design, testing and finishing.

"Developing a product — especially a tech product — is a multi-step process," Filippov said. "We want to show all the stages."

Four cameras will document the process: one trained on each team member and one focused on the white board where plans will be drawn up.

One benefit of streaming online is possible viewer suggestions and input. Filippov's group will be running a live chat on their website and keep an eye on their Twitter feed.

Filippov said the live format and tight time constraints could mean a better final product by stimulating creativity and leaving no time for procrastination or second-guessing.

The three hope to attract 10,000 unique viewers, which represents just a tenth of what some of the most popular streams get.

"The task will take as much time as you give it," Filippov said. "Say it'll take a year, and you'll spend a year working on it. Give yourself three days and you'll get it done."

On the web: eatsleepmvp.com

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