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Scrimba - Interactive Screencasts Created in an Instant - Interview with Per Harald Borgen



YouTube and the web are filled with screencasts. They provide a great way to learn difficult concepts as you can see in practice how something specific is done. This is the way I learned to use Blender, a 3D suite, in the past. It all made sense after I saw how to use the application.

When it comes to coding, the challenge is that you have to literally type it all out yourself if you want to replicate the results. Scrimba has developed a solution that could change all this. Per Harald Borgen can tell more about it.

Can you tell a bit about yourself?

Per Harald Borgen

I’m Per, CEO and co-founder of Scrimba. We’re an Oslo-based startup consisting of three co-founders: Sindre, Magnus and me.

Our goal is to make online learning better than in-person learning, starting with programming. At the core of this is Scrimba - an interactive video format for explaining and understanding code.

I myself became a professional developer in 2015, a process I’ve written extensively about on my blog.

How would you describe Scrimba to someone who has never heard of it?

Scrimba is an interactive video format for communicating code. It makes the experience significantly better for both the creator and the viewer. The easiest way to understand Scrimba is to watch the 1 minute screencast below:

As a viewer, you can pause and edit the code at any given time. So if you’re struggling to understand something, just hit pause, jump into the environment and play around with the code until you understand it properly.

Scrimba also makes the creation experience much less frustrating, as we remove all the hassle involved with creating coding screencasts. No more setup, edit, encode, upload and re-encode. Just code while you talk and then publish it instantly.

How does Scrimba work?

We record the underlying events instead of pixels. When replaying a Scrimba screencast, we recreate exactly what the creator did.

This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for interactivity, creation, responsiveness, search, and recommendations. We’ve only begun scratching the surface of what we can do with this format.

How does Scrimba differ from other solutions?

Compared to traditional video, Scrimba has the following benefits:

  • Much easier to create
  • Interactive (viewer can pause and edit code)
  • 1% file size of video
  • Better mobile experience (because of responsiveness)
  • Indexable/searchable

Why did you develop Scrimba?

Scrimba was invented because Sindre needed to document his programming language Imba.

He first tried creating traditional video tutorials, but became increasingly frustrated with the creation process. What would have taken him two minutes to explain in-person often took him an hour to convey through video. So he began building Scrimba as a tool for people to learn Imba. However, it soon became clear that this could be used for much more than just Imba.

Just think about it: if you want to explain code online today, you’re stuck with either text or video, both of which are cumbersome compared to explaining in-person.

What if you could combine the easiness and quality of in-person teaching with the global scale of the web?

That’s what we want to do with Scrimba!

What next

We’re going to continue to lower the threshold for people to create content, so expect it to become even easier to create Scrimba screencasts.

We’re also working on building a community around

I think the amount of developers (not just web) in the world will continue to grow, as software is still eating the world. Also, the skill of coding will be more mainstream, as more and more kids are exposed to it at school.

At Scrimba, we want to be a part of this by empowering anyone to easily tech code to others. We aim to become the best place online to teach and learn technical subjects.

What advice would you give to programmers getting into web development?

Getting into web development - and JavaScript in particular - can seem intimidating, given all the hot new tools/frameworks/libraries you seemingly need to learn. I’d say don’t worry too much about that in the beginning, and rather focus on the essentials. Once you know the essentials, you can learn any tool you want.

Who should I interview next?

Keith Horwood of Stdlib. He’s basically creating the standard library for the internet, which is really awesome. The easiest way to create, distribute and discover web services.

Any last remarks?

Thanks for interviewing us, and keep up the great work!


Thanks for the interview Per Harald. Scrimba looks cool to me and there’s a fair amount of screencasts at Scrimba site already!