Writing Modern Async JS: our new screencast
Published on 14 June 2019 • 5 min

Cette page est également disponible en français.

We’ve been meaning to launch our screencasting activity for a long time, in parallel of our in-room trainings. It’s now live, with the very first screencast of what should become a large catalog: Writing Modern Async JavaScript.

3 hours of video and 40+ code samples: from raw callbacks to debugging to promises to async/await, we cover it all (and in depth).

In this article, we’d like to explain how this all came to pass, and give you a sneak peek at what’s next…

We’ve wanted to do this for a long time

Historically, Delicious Insights has always done in-room training. We absolutely want to keep this, as this is the only format that allows such a rich interaction with our trainees, not only so we can teach complex knowledge at high density, but also because this lets us gather priceless, diverse experience feedbacks and hindsights that help us grow our own understanding of the market, our vision of possible requirements, and overall give a richer context for our explanations.

Plus, it feels so much nicer to meet in-person 😀. We intentionally cap our sessions at 10 trainees, so the human feel and teaching quality can be top-notch. We’ll always do in-room at Delicious Insights, this is part of our DNA.

That being said, this strictly in-room format came with its own limitations, in terms of content and market, and its own sources of frustration: having in-room as our sole revenue channel was detrimental to pro-bono work we wanted to spend more time on, such as open-source contributions, articles, conference talks, etc.

Naturally, tech articles and conference talks help us reach a wider audience, and broach a larger selection of topics. And indeed, we want to free more time for such contributions and for open-source work. But none of this would compensate for the revenue loss that holding fewer sessions would imply.

It was thus mandatory that we diversify our revenue channels, an excellent first take being the production of paid digital contents. Among these, screencasts were the clear favorite, as they come with numerous benefits:

  • We already have a solid expertise on producing video contents (even if there’s still a lot we can improve on).
  • This is a very flexible format that lends itself both to long (10+ hours) and laser-focused (≤ 1 hour) courses.
  • The production cost doesn’t need massive sales to reach break-even.
  • It’s easy to produce both English and French, allowing us to tap at minimal cost into the worldwide IT market, which is vastly larger to the French-speaking market (and is also less reluctant to pay).
  • This ends up being 100% passive income: once the course is produced and launched, residual cost is negligible (even including support, updates and drip marketing).
  • This makes it easier to collaborate with third-party experts on specific topics, as it requires less physical availability and commitment from them than traditional in-room trainings in our catalog.

Tons of topics

Indeed, topics abound! We enjoy a solid expertise on lots of stuff, such as accessibility, CI/CD, Git, GitHub, GraphQL, JavaScript, Node.js, Web performance, React, Redux, Ruby and Rails, security, advanced terminal / CLI usage, automated tests, VS Code, Webpack…

The hard part seems to be, in the end, choosing what topics to tackle first!

Picking our first course

For numerous reasons, our first course had to meet a number of criteria:

  • It should not require extra research
  • It should be produced in 3 weeks tops
  • It should be intersectional / universal, in order to have as wide an audience as possible
  • It should bring solutions to actual pain points for the target audience (e.g. widespread misunderstanding / lack of mastery)
  • It should fit in an “medium-size” format (≤ 3hr) in order to allow moderate pricing (≤ €30)

This resulted in a quick winner that became Writing Modern Async JavaScript.

Go to the screencast page

This course covers, in great detail across 3 hours of video with 40+ code samples, the following areas:

  • Raw callbacks and “Node-style” callbacks
  • Debugging async code
  • Promises
  • async/await

In order to meet all our criteria, we did choose to exclude three related areas: the async.js library (that is mentioned a few times though), generators (even though they’re not asynchronous per se, they are related) and observables (RxJS style). We’ll probably cover these someday… in other courses 😉.

In English and in French

The French version shipped first, on Friday, June 14, 2019. Our English screencasts site and the English version for the first course shipped on July 2nd.

If you work with international teams and some of your colleagues are more at ease in French, be sure to point them to the French site! (Or the French version of this article.)

All our classes will ship in both languages, usually in French first, with English following within 2 to 3 weeks. Pre-sale pages go up simultaneously in both languages though.

The platform

We pondered distribution channels quite heavily… At a minimum, we wanted to distribute directly, on our own terms, so we didn’t want to exclusively use general platforms such as Udemy, Pluralsight, Egghead or what have you. And most digital sales platforms (Teachable, LearnDash, Patreon, Memberful, Gumroad…) weren’t such a good fit for various reasons, ranging from customer data usage to features to commissions to video hosting to content limitations, and more.

It was however out of the question to roll our own for now. This would take too much time, effort, mainetnance and cost for our immediate needs and production capacity. We currently have better ways to allocate our development resources.

In the end, we went with the solution that is the closest fit, even though we have many issues with it—we’ll see whether their team is reactive to our bug reports and requests for features!

So we went with Podia, that comes with quite a few advantages, including decent pricing, no commissions or content limitations, and various product types such as Online Courses (streaming video + text + files + quizzes) and Digital Downloads (downloads only) and also offers membership management. It also includes e-mail marketing tools (drips, etc.) and a few other goodies.

It’s not perfect and we hope it’s going to get better (if only for the correctness and comprehensiveness of their French localization), but it does the job and does it now.

So what’s next?

Well, our first course is now available in English: spread the word!

A second course should follow in July, perhaps even two (including a short free one); we’ll try and release one every 4 to 6 weeks, schedule permitting; that’s the goal anyway. Subscribe to the dedicated newsletter on the screencasts site or follow our Twitter account to be sure not to miss any release!

Our next courses will soon be announced in pre-sale mode on the site, so you can be notified immediately when a new course is announced (both at pre-sale time and at release time), possibly getting launch discounts in the process!

We’re also about to switch our distribution format, which started as downloads-only, to a hybrid streaming + downloads format enriched with transcripts and quizzes, for best value and easiest consumption by everyone.

Another thing: once multiple related courses exist, we’ll offer upsells, cross-sells and bundles for discounted pricing. When the catalog gets big enough, monthly memberships will likely become available, too.

Finally, when you do buy a course from us, please send us feedback, be it via e-mail, Twitter or whatever! We’re always delighted to hear from you, snatch great ideas… and of course, get good testimonials. 😉

Happy viewing!