Jonathan Boccara's blog

Cppcast: A Show for All C++ Developers

Published September 19, 2017 - 2 Comments

I had the privilege to be a guest on CppCast last week. On top of sharing this episode with you, I’d like to take a moment to describe why I think the show can be useful to you as a C++ developer.

I’ll share my perspective both as a regular listener and as a guest on the show.

A podcast: a true way of multitasking

I can’t multitask. You know the kind of guys where the world can collapse when they write a text and they still won’t be available until they finish it? That’s me.

But even though I’m a particularly desperate case, I’ve never seen somebody who can truly focus on two things at the same time and be effective on both. Some people have an ability to split things up and sort of like round robin them, but it seems that us humans can’t really do two things at the same time.

CppCast

Except in some cases.

You can do two things at the same time when one of them doesn’t require any of your attention. Then you’re mind is fully available for the other one, while the first one is on autopilot.

Actually, there are plenty of tasks that we do in our day that our reptilian brain and spine are happy to deal with, leaving room for the upper levels of our brain to focus on less mundane activities. These basic tasks include going to work in the morning, getting back home in the evening, going for a run, doing the dishes, and so on.

When we do those things our mind is fully available for taking on an activity (and it would make those moments more enjoyable!). But our hands and eyes are busy so there is a limited scope of activities to do then.

What typically isn’t busy in those moments are our ears. Hence the interest of the podcast format. A podcast is audio content produced on a regular basis, on a particular theme.

I listen to podcasts on my way to work, and when I run (I always leave an ear unplugged to keep in touch with the city around me). And it makes those moments SO much more enjoyable. The perspective of listening to the shows I like actually makes me excited about commuting or going for a run. I listen to podcasts when I cook sometimes. The meals are generally a disaster, but I never blame the podcast for this 🙂

All in all, listening to a podcast doesn’t take more of your time, it just adds entertainment to certain boring activities. And the great thing is that you can learn stuff by listening to a podcast!

And C++ developers have a podcast dedicated to them: CppCast.

What CppCast can bring you as a C++ developer

CppCast is a weekly podcast dedicated to software development in C++. On pretty much every episode, the hosts invite a guest to talk about his or her work of interest to other C++ developers. And before getting into the actual interview, they discuss together a handful of articles that came out during the week and that revolve around developing in C++.

The curation of articles at the beginning of the episode is useful to listen to if you want to keep up with what comes out every week in the C++ community. This includes blog posts, major announcements about the language, the compilers or the IDEs for example. If you don’t have the time to read every article that comes out about C++, it helps to have a selection of contents.

Then the interview takes you deep into the work of someone involved in the C++ community. It can be a library developer, a professor, a member of the C++ committee, a compiler implementer, or even the man who invented C++.

Those people talk about the insights they got while working on their projects. The variety of people coming on the show exposes you, as a listener, to a lot of topics, presented by people who got deep into them.

The interest of listening to those insights is that it makes us discover areas or specific issues that we weren’t aware of, and it provides us with advice and tips about developing in C++. Note that the show won the Simple Programmer Podcast Award.

What CppCast can bring you as a guest on the show

Rob and Jason, the hosts of the podcast, often encourage people to get in touch with them if they worked on something related to C++ that could be of value to other C++ developers.

Having been a guest on the show, let me describe what this experience can bring.

The first thing is that talking on the show gives you an opportunity to get your message out there, or show the piece of work you’ve spent so much time building. You get to talk with the hosts for 30 to 45 minutes, which lets you get deep into the topics you’re passionate about. And you will be heard by a lot of C++ developers that could benefit from it too.

This visibility has repercussions on social media. Indeed, the CppCast episodes are shared on social networks. When my episode came out I suddenly watched a bunch of people on Twitter kindly adding me to the people they follow.

Finally, and this is not something I would have suspected beforehand, preparing for getting on the show made me understand better what I was doing. Not that I had no idea, but when you work on a project on a daily basis sometimes you don’t think about searching for the bigger picture.

Preparing for the show forces you to reflect on what you could share with people and that could bring them value. It makes you synthesize your work and find the most important aspects of it. For me, it also made me articulate some messages that were only sitting in the back of my mind without too much structure.

My episode on the show

If you want to listen to the episode I was on, here are the topics we discussed:

  • C++17 being formally approved
  • The release of Clang 5
  • The two-phase name lookup in Visual Studio
  • Why I decided to blog twice a week on Fluent C++
  • How I come up with topics
  • Suggestions I give to developers who want to get serious about blogging
  • Giving Daily C++ talks in the office
  • How the Daily C++ was accepted in my company
  • My work at Murex
  • Deploying modern C++ at your workplace

I hope you’ll find those topics interesting. If you’d like to talk more about any of them, I’ll be more than happy to.

Don’t stress too much, but do prepare

45 minutes go incredibly fast when you’re talking about your projects on the show, so you really want to prepare for that. Think about what matters most, and make sure in advance that you’re able to describe your work in a clear and concise manner.

And relax. I don’t stress much but I must admit that I was pretty tense before the show started. But CppCast hosts Rob and Jason are lovely people, and they have this way of making you feel comfortable as soon as they start chatting with you. And the point of the show is to know more about your work and opinons, it’s not like you’re on a political debate with people that want to prove you wrong anyway.

Who is behind CppCast

CppCast is hosted by Rob Irving and Jason Turner. The tagline of the show is being the “podcast for C++ developers, by C++ developers”.

Rob Irving is a Senior Software Engineer and Development Team Lead with PAR Government in Cary, NC. He is a polyglot with experience in C#, Objective-C, Java and Ruby but the majority of his time and expertise is in C++. He started the CppCast podcast in February 2015, frustrated by the lack of podcast content for C++ development. A believer in continuous education, he loves learning about new technologies, often through podcasts!

Rob has a personal blog at robwirving.com. And occasionally tweets at @robwirving.

Jason TurnerJason Turner has been developing portable C++ since 2002. With very few exceptions, every line of code he has written since then has had to run on multiple platforms. He is an independent contractor and trainer focusing on cross-platform issues, utilization of C++ libraries from scripting languages and code quality assurance. He is the co-creator and maintainer of ChaiScript, a mature scripting language designed for modern C++. He is also the creator and curator of cppbestpractices.com an effort to gather the collective wisdom of the C++ community.

Jason blogs at EmptyCrate and can be found on twitter at @lefticus.

Start multitasking now

So if you want to put to use your time spent in mundane activities to get better as a C++ developer, the latest episode of CppCast is waiting for you!

And if you want to listen to more podcasts related to software development, you can also find a pretty long list of them on Simple Programmer.

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