DeCode (2015-present)

Collaborators: Warren Sack and Abram Stern (aphid)

A long-standing problem in the scholarly field of Software Studies is the presentation of the software study in question. What form should a study of software take?

DeCode is a browser-based tool composed of a live-coding environment synchronized with an audio script that triggers certain parts of the code to be highlighted, modified, or studied. DeCode enables users to create presentations about software in both a scripted audio essay as well as a live coding environment that is synchronized with the essay. Presenters can invite the reader to edit the code to inspect the changes in the live editor, thus understanding different results of the changes of code, as they listen to the presenter’s analysis.

For example, when the presenter explains (via the audio narration) a particular portion of the code, the coding environment highlights that particular block of code. When the presenter wants to invite the reader to make their own changes to the code, they can do so, enabling, not just a participatory mode of pedagogy, but enabling a hands-on mode of understanding what the code does and experimenting with software otherwise. The toolkit is informed by the combination of the tutorial model of “talk-throughs” and cinematic conventions such as narration, setting the scene, inviting an audience to participate, etc.

DeCode Interface Screenshot