How a Stream Deck Can Revolutionize Your Coding Workflow

How a Stream Deck Can Revolutionize Your Coding Workflow


In a world where efficiency is key, software developers are constantly seeking tools to optimize their workflow. One such tool, often overlooked, is the Stream Deck. Originally designed for content creators to manage live streams, the Stream Deck has found a unique place in the developer’s toolkit.

This blog post explores how developers can use a Stream Deck to enhance productivity and streamline their development process.

What is a Stream Deck?

A Stream Deck is a customizable control pad with a set of programmable LCD buttons. Each button can be configured to trigger various actions, from simple key presses to complex macros. This flexibility makes it a powerful tool for developers looking to automate repetitive tasks and streamline their workflow.

The image above shows the one I have.

There are smaller and larger versions but this seems to be the right size for me. I don’t want one with lots of buttons as I might assign each of the jobs to do and then never use them. With a smaller number, I am a little more discerning when it comes to assigning them tasks. Unless I use it regularly, it does not go onto the deck!

Each of the buttons can be configured to trigger / run commands, press shortcuts etc. The best thing for me, is that you can control what is displayed on the buttons. Originally, I thought you had to print something out, cut it up and fit it into the button….. perhaps I am showing my age!

The other great feature, is you can buy replacement faceplates and these can have funky colour schemes – I am boring so I prefer the standard black faceplate that it comes with. YMMV.

Setting Up Your Stream Deck

  1. Hardware Setup: Connect your Stream Deck to your computer via USB.
  2. Software Installation: Download and install the Stream Deck software from the official website.
  3. Initial Configuration: The software offers a user-friendly interface to assign actions to each button. You can start with pre-defined actions or create custom ones.

Customizing for Development

  • Code Shortcuts: Assign buttons for frequently used code snippets or commands. For instance, you can have a button to insert a specific function template or to comment/uncomment lines of code.
  • Build and Test: Set up buttons to build your project, run tests, or deploy your application. This reduces the need to switch contexts or remember complex command line instructions.
  • Version Control: Automate Git commands like commit, push, pull, or branch switching. These shortcuts can significantly speed up your version control workflow.

Stream Deck and IDE Integration

  • Many Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio, IntelliJ, or VS Code can be integrated with the Stream Deck. Use it to switch between different files, tabs, or even control your debugger.

Enhancing Workflow Beyond Coding

  • Task Management: Integrate with task management tools like Jira or Trello. Create buttons to quickly add tasks, set reminders, or check your to-do list.
  • Communication Tools: Configure buttons to control communication apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams, allowing you to quickly mute/unmute your mic or send predefined messages.

Advanced Customizations

  • Multi-Actions: Create buttons that perform a sequence of actions with a single press. For example, a button that saves your work, runs tests, and if successful, commits your code.
  • Plugin Ecosystem: Explore the Stream Deck plugin ecosystem for pre-built actions and integrations specifically tailored for developers.

Stream Deck Mobile

  • If you’re not ready to invest in the hardware, Stream Deck Mobile turns your smartphone into a Stream Deck with the same functionalities.

I used this initially, but once I saw the improvements it gave me, I bought a small deck and have not looked back.

Practical Tips

  • Organize Your Buttons: Group related actions into folders for better organization.
  • Icons and Labels: Customize button icons and labels for easy identification.
  • Incremental Approach: Start with a few key shortcuts and gradually add more as you get comfortable.

The idea is to add shortcuts you actually use. It is pointless having a lot of buttons you never use. I also change the buttons depending on the projects I working on.


A Stream Deck is more than just a gadget; it’s a productivity powerhouse for developers. By automating repetitive tasks and streamlining your development workflow, it not only saves time but also reduces the cognitive load, allowing you to focus on solving complex problems and writing great code.


Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.