Reading about the beginnings of screencasting

I didn’t realize that screencasting was becoming popular in the 2005-2008 years. Maybe it was DHH’s Rails screencast where he created a blog in 15 minutes using Ruby on Rails that really kicked things off.

Jon Udell has many articles on screencasting but this one’s great on the fact that there’s tacit knowledge that can be shared through screencasting:

tacit knowledge, which is the stuff that we don’t know that we know, or that we assume that everyone knows so never bother to explain.

In my talk I suggested that this kind of unconscious transmission of tacit knowledge may be a key rationale for the practice of pair programming. Two programmers, working side by side, exchange tacit knowledge by osmosis.

To generalize from programming to all use of software-based tools, the equivalent of pair programming — that is, direct observation of one another’s use of such tools — is ideal. But that’s not always possible, in which case live screensharing or asynchronous screencasting is the next best thing to being there.

I think this is why I’ve been wanting to do more pair programming on front-end code, to see how others make working with JavaScript and CSS a faster experience. The next best thing, as Udell says, are screencasts and there’s a huge series on Test-Driven JavaScript Development by James Shore that I’m going to start watching: