Happy Birthday Tributary!

What we've learned from a year of live coding.

After watching a Bret Victor talk we (@enjalot and @mrejfox) got inspired to bring creators closer to their mediums through interactive code.

Tributary was created a year ago today to help people move from idea to reality faster, and we're awful proud of it. We celebrate by taking a look at how it's been used.

Bret Victor's ideas left us reeling. We were awakened to the possibility of making tools that bridge the gap between coming up with an idea and it materializing. When we came upon Gabriel Florit’s initial implementation of his water project (what is now livecoding.io) we realized we should be working on this. Tributary was born.

Designers and programmers often speak different languages, and while they are trying to build the same thing they are primarily concerned with solving different aspects of the same problem.

In order to stay on the same page EJ and I wanted a way to incrementally build on each other’s work. While we worked together, ideas and possibilities were in no short supply, the trick was working out how to implement them. We wanted a fast way to pass a single piece of work back and forth until it reflected what we wanted to see.

At the time we created Tributary we were working together to create data visualizations with d3.js. D3 ties together many modern web standards, and is both powerful and hard to learn.

We wanted a way to explore all of these new standards and try out their myriad features. Furthermore, EJ had stronger experience as a visual designer and I had stronger experience as a programmer so we were learning different areas of this brave new world. Tributary helped us share our discoveries. Here's some other ways Tributary has been used in the past year. If I forgot your project, email me and I'll add you!


Datavis Design studio Halftone () has been using Tributary to prototype client projects, including their latest piece http://tributary.io/inlet/974ae3faa37c8c771965
has been using Tributary to figure out auto-scaling text at work http://tributary.io/inlet/3197265
uses Tributary to do collaborative code interviews with potential employees. The immediate feedback allows focus to remain on exploring data and concepts rather than syntax.
He also uses it to prototype visualizations and app components for Lever http://tributary.io/inlet/3791303


has been using Tributary to teach students of his Information Visualization course at UC Berkeley principles of data visualization http://tributary.io/inlet/5054889
has been using Tributary to complete his coursera homework! http://tributary.io/inlet/5100062
, , use tributary on the d3 mailing list and irc channel (#d3.js on irc.freenode.net) to help people understand d3 concepts.
uses tributary to live code d3 tutorial videos dot enter dot append


We had a friendly competition on twitter to re-implement geometry daily with d3:
ended up winning
, and spent a long night prototyping visuals for a VJ set by our friend @srhnhm
has used Tributary to recreate
optical illusions