Through pure luck I recently managed to get an Elgato Stream Deck for free (Don’t worry, this isn’t a sponsored post). Despite a small foray into creating YouTube videos, I have never really got into video content creation let alone streaming. Having seen Taran of Linus Tech Tips use it for his own productivity, I got inspired. So instead of immediately selling it on, I decided to try it as a productivity tool for programming. This isn’t a review, this is just my experience with it.

My Streamdeck

After unboxing the Stream Deck I had a little play with the built in commands but System really caught my eye. It allows you to:

  • Website launching - launches a configured website to your default browser
  • Hotkey - runs a keyboard command
  • Hotkey Switch - allows toggling between two commands, e.g. on/off
  • Open - opens an application
  • Text - types out text
  • Multimedia - multimedia keys

To get some inspiration I did some Googling and stumbled upon r/streamdeckprofiles, however no developer profiles caught my interest.

So I decided to do some development and take note of some of the repetitive things I was doing. Initially I noticed I was locking my computer a lot so bound that shortcut to a button, as well as some media keys and finally opening VS Code. This was only giving me a moderate boost but nothing really programmer specific. So while working on Commit Comp I found I was doing a lot of git commands, so I decided to bind the following commands:

  • git status
  • git add .
  • git commit -am "
  • git push

As well as some non-git commands

  • cd ..
  • Control + C (Kill process)

After a little bit of messing around I found the git commands were useful for basic git management. That being said I would often revert to using the keyboard without thinking.

Some other keyboard commands I added were:

  • Next tab
  • Find/Replace (Would be cool to update this based on the IDE)
  • Open Github
  • Open iTerm

So all in all I had fun playing with the Elgato Streamdeck, in some ways it is like the Macbook Pro touchpad. I didn’t get a chance to play with the SDK to integrate it into a program or use any of its more advanced features.

So as a developer would I buy it? Not likely, it is a little expensive and there is a diminished return for me using it for development. I am sure there are use cases I didn’t think of though!