Twilio SIGNAL Twitch 2020: Nick Piegari, Dev Efforts, and a Review

The Problem Statement

In 2019, the Twilio SIGNAL Twitch production entered another iteration. This was highly polished, had dedicated producers, and digital assets. One of these assets is the schedule.

Previously, the schedule was a static image, included via an OBS overlay. The only issue is that if anything with the schedule started to deviate, the whole image needed changed, exported and saved, re-uploaded, browser sources updated, and OBS source refreshed.

We thought, what if it was a data-driven web application, used as a browser source? Changes to the data could be made on the fly, and the resulting UI is just a website, refresh the source and you see the change.

Now we have a challenge. But it was unclear if anyone would pick up that gauntlet.

Challenge Accepted

A friend of mine, Nick Piegari, and I are mutuals in a few communities. One of those is Twitch Science & Technology, and another is a Discord server full of creatives, technologists, and other lovely interests.

Nick contacted me and Brent Schooley about possibly getting this project off the ground. Working together we did a divide and conquer project planning, infrastructure isolation, and assignment of roles.

Nick chose to own the UI aspect of the solution, even before really knowing the challenge facing him. To that, I simply raise a glass and commend the courage, optimism, and ambition.

The Results

The result was a full suite of UI components that were imported as OBS Browser Overlay sources that matched the styles, the look and feel, and even the pixel-perfect requirements form the Twilio SIGNAL production team. A job well done.

Git contributions were smooth, and deployments to production had no hiccups at all. This is due to quick responses, peer reviews, and a smooth and steady effort even during time-sensitive requests.

My Conclusion

Despite the presumption that Nick Piegari is just starting to become a developer, my experience tells me they very much already are a developer. The only missing pieces were quite easy to teach him, and he was very coachable in some of the nuances of handling merge conflicts, ensuring things updated, clearing cache, establishing apples-to-apples comparisons, things like that.

Nick was responsive to requests, always enthusiastic to jump in and get to work, and communicated clearly expectations for when they may not be as responsive.

What I appreciate about working with Nick is the way they were curious about why certain choices were being made. When asking questions, it was framed quite reasonably form a point of not quite understanding, instead of a fake kind of questioning where you have another "way" you are trying to promote.

I would love to work with Nick again on a future project, and I suspect what we built together will end up evolving into something more flexible that can serve many more purposes. He also has a fantastic stream on Twitch. Come say hi, sometime.