DailyDrip.com Elixir Training Review

Picture shows Jason A. Martin - Software Engineer, Indie Game Developer, Tech Evangelist, Entrepreneur.

Status: Complete [but still subscribed and working my way though the videos] Started: August 2016 Last Update: September 2, 2016 Product URL: Daily Drip Price: Starting at $9 monthly Perspective at review time: Elixir Beginner

So the in my Day Two - Import, Alias and More post I mentioned stumbling upon a service at DailyDrip.com for learning Elixir. I decided to try it out so I could write a review for my site.

What is Daily Drip

It's basically a service that feeds you a little learning nugget each day. Lifted right from their site:

"DailyDrip gives you daily content that’s tailored to what you want to learn. It only takes about 5 minutes a day and you retain more than if you were binge learning."

I had a few questions about this service and Josh from Daily Drip was kind enough to answer in quick fashion. Let's roll through those real quick.

  • Is the content on Daily Drip the same as ElixirSips.com? Yes. [With Daily Drip] it's delivered daily to you unless you're all caught up. Shortly we will let you choose how frequently you get it.
  • Is the content all from your one source or is it from multiple sources? one source
  • Is there any difference? We [Daily Drip] have a community slack and in-browser streaming. We also run an Elixir remote meetup for free and sometimes I'll pair with people.

As a side note, I attended the 2nd Elixir remote meetup today and it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, things were breaking at work, so I couldn't catch it all. The replay of the meetups are here: Elixir Remote Meetup.

One of the podcasts I love is Elixir Fountain. If you're interested in a little more about Josh and how DailyDrip came about, check out the episode Elixir Fountain - Josh Adams. I do recommend listening to Elixir Fountain. It's great.

Initial Thoughts

For some just getting small doses of knowledge at a time is pretty good. I'm fine with more than that. But what I like most about learning services (and why I spend the money on them) is they can give me a learning order verses me just being all over the place. And since I value my time above all else, I gladly try these services out.

For those wondering about this or Elixir Sips. As pointed out above, I talked to Josh and the content is exactly the same and he also confirmed that you have immediate access to all the videos in Daily Drip (so 200+ in this case).

Keep in mind that the idea of this service is small, focused videos, so while there may be a video about React & Phoenix for example, it's not going to be able to teach you all you need to know in 5 minutes. Instead, you're most likely going to get a flyby of the topic and a pathway of where to go from there.

Sampling of Video Subjects

Outside of your typical core subjects for Elixir (Atoms, Tuples, Functions, etc), here are some other subjects you'll get to explore:

  • OTP
  • Ecto
  • Command Line Scripts
  • Markdown Server (5-part series on building HTTP server to render markdown files with Phoenix)
  • BEAM Toolbox
  • Plug
  • Port
  • Hex
  • Managing Docker
  • Phoenix (various videos using phoenix peppered into library)
  • Building a Slack Bot

Getting Going - Day One

After you create an account and log in, you can select a drip to subscribe to (they also have Elm and html/css). I'm choosing a monthly drip for Elixir, which is $9 per month.

After signing up and hitting the member's page, I'm shown all my Elixir content. There are about 263 videos at the time of this writing.

The video quality seems pretty good. I've heard others comment on Josh's talking speed (they think he's talking too fast). I actually like it, but to each their own. Perhaps later on if there's a ton of complex information being rapid fired out then that may be an issue, but my first video impressions are good ones.

I do like the bite-sized videos (reminds me of Egghead.io). I don't know if later videos are longer, because I'm not one to click videos out of turn. :)

Might be simple, but I already learned something. I guess I glossed over the fact that atoms can be multiple words with spaces if wrapped in a string like so:

:"my atom"

That's cool. I don't know if it's a best practice or not, but it's great to know.

The videos also come with some text explaining what's in the video, which is a nice touch.

If you've never programmed before, I'd recommend taking a basic programming class first. While these videos are indeed Elixir basics and forward, they will expect you to know what an Integer is and other common programming terms/etc (good thing IMHO).

And to finish out my first day with the service, I signed up to the Slack channel of course. Looks like there are some messages here and there from Josh and a couple others.

First Email - Breakdown

So in my first full day with the service I received the first email. Here are the highlights:

  • Intro: Josh explains a little with who he is and then goes into installing Erlang and setting up Elixir.

  • Actor Model

  • Some general links

The focus of this email is mainly setup, which I had done previously. So for me, this is one of those emails I'll just archive and move on. If you are someone who needs to get setup, this email goes into detail for all the major systems.

There's a nice link to a 42 min video talking about the Actor Model if you're interested.

Second Email & Going Forward

So I thought that each email was going to contain links/info to other things in the Elixir community, but it looks like these emails are just transcripts from the videos.

For me, this is a little annoying in that now daily I need to open the email (just to make sure there's nothing hidden inside) and then delete it.

From what info I've gathered it looks like other drips (ELM for example) do have extra tidbits in the emails. Since Elixir's drip was basically cloned over, I'm guessing they are just emailing transcripts since the system wants to email users something.

I'd love for these emails to be modified so that each day you're given an article to read, a spec to check out and so on. I will probably subscribe to ELM's drip later just to verify all this (it will go up on this site). I will update this review if anything changes.

Week One Final Thoughts

I didn't get through as many videos as I wanted since I'm working, building content here and reviewing many items at the same time. What I did see what good. Just a word of warning though: some of the videos are dated as Elixir versions are moving quickly as the language evolves.

Final Thoughts

QUICK VERSION: Thumbs up. I liked it.

I've talked to Josh via Slack and it seems like they have quite a bit on their to-do list. It will be interesting to watch what gets done and how the service morphs from here.

The beginning videos are a bit rough as they were done some time ago (Elixir was in 0.10 when they were made) and as a result the person new to Elixir will have some extra work to do to figure out what's still valid. I know in a past episode of Elixir Fountain Josh talked about this issue and fixing it in the future, but it hasn't been addressed yet.

I don't think the outdated nature of the front videos will be too much of an issue for anyone. Hopefully, this issue gets fixed soon.

Given the price and amount of content I can go through, I'm happy with the service. My one disappointment was the email issue I mentioned above, but it's possible that some emails down the line change from just being video transcripts.

If you're new to Elixir, but have at least a little programming experience in another language, these videos will help you get setup and learning the core of Elixir quickly. The video playlist looks to still be growing by the week, so I'm looking forward to seeing what other topics are released.

Even though this review is more or less complete, I will remain a subscriber and work my way through all of the videos. Daily Drip is worth it to me for learning Elixir. If there are any changes to the service that affect this review, I'll come back and do an update.

As always, if you spot anything I've missed or just plain got wrong, let me know!