LiveStreams: Discovering Gutenberg

The short version: I’m live-streaming reviewing Gutenberg block-editor plugin releases and exploring new block editor features. Join me on Twitch. Or catch up and subscribe on YouTube.

Getting behind the blocks

I’ve got quite behind on the functionality of the “Gutenberg” Block Editor in WordPress. I’ve read articles about Block Patterns and Full Site Editing and I keep up with WP Tavern’s excellent coverage of development on the editor.

But I’ve not done much other than simple post writing, and development of custom blocks using Advanced Custom Field’s excellent features.

So it’s time I caught up with new features and dived into what’s been going on and what the future looks like for the editor.

Gutenberg development happens outside of WordPress “core” in the Gutenberg plugin. I’d been saving up articles to read on each of the Gutenberg releases with the aim of reviewing them and trying things out. But I wasn’t getting through them.

Live Streaming Gutenberg Releases

Enter Live Streaming – it’s what the cool kids do these days. And while I’m not a cool kid, and I have some objections to live streaming (mostly I don’t have time to watch everyone else’s streams – there’s too much interesting content!!), it’s something I thought I’d try out because:

  1. It kinda makes me accountable for doing things.
  2. If I recorded and published video I’d want to edit it and I often get stuck at the very-time-consuming editing stage – live streaming means I just do it and publish.
  3. It will help me develop a video “style”.
  4. It will get me used to recording my work again – something I want to do for some projects in the future.
  5. Maybe, if people come along for the ride, I’ll get some help as I explore Gutenberg!

I’m keeping it simple, just streaming on Twitch, and publishing later on YouTube. So follow along if you want to.

The videos are in a YouTube playlist. I’ve not embedded that here to protect your privacy.

Or you can view a specific episode:

Schedule and technology

Schedule: Unfortunately, I’m finding it hard to get good times to run the streams – I’m working from home in a temporary office during the Coronvirus lockdown, and my family are usually around. So finding quieter times when I won’t be interrupted is hard.

Technology: While I have a pretty good A/V setup, my laptop is pretty old and struggling with the job of working, streaming and recording, so, compared to others, the streams aren’t brilliant quality, but I’m working with what I have.

I’m also new to streaming. StreamLabs OBS is good software and is helping me a lot. But I am getting to grips with it as I go, and for the early streams I’m using an out-of-the-box “theme”. But if you’re a regular streamer yourself, or used to watching streams, know that mine won’t be the best, but they are getting better!

Thoughts and reflections

I’m enjoying the streaming, and it’s good to be getting back into video and learning what’s coming in Gutenberg. I’ve already learned a lot about both!

The Streaming software is pretty good. I’ve played with eCamm Live (paid), OBS (free/open source, but clunky) and now StreamLabs. StreamLabs is based on OBS but seems simpler to use. And there’s a mobile app you can use as a remote control that’s a real bonus and gives you a mini control deck without needing something like a Stream Deck.

Mine is a simple and low cost setup, but it works for now.

Streaming is hard: typing; thinking; talking; making sure audio and video are working; making sure you don’t disclose passwords and other secrets while on screen. There’s a LOT to be doing all at once. And that’s before people start to chat!

Properly streaming also looks like a lot of work. You start seeing how others are managing their stream schedule, building communities in the chat, giving people chat moderation permissions, and designing all the screens and layouts and stuff. It’s a huge commitment to do it properly, and my reasons for doing it are so that I can do video more ad-hoc and SAVE me time. So there’s a bit of a conflict of needs there.

I’ve chosen NOT to do too much promotion. On a Friday my Twitter feed becomes a stream of “Streaming in…” posts from others, most of which, as far as I can tell, are unnecessary because Twitch emails me when someone starts streaming. Plus, I’m nervous about putting myself out there in the early days while I’m still learning.

So it’s early days, and it’s mostly just me. But hopefully this Exploring Gutenberg process is helpful to others.