Tools for pair programming over the Internet

Keyboard Buddies

© Lead Image © Dean Drobot,

© Lead Image © Dean Drobot,

Article from Issue 216/2018

The best way to save money on software development is to get it right the first time. Pair programming, an agile technique, saves development costs by putting two coders to work on the same code. Visual Studio Code and tmate bring the promise of pair programming to remote workers.

As agile programming spreads into the IT space, development teams are increasingly relying on a concept known as pair programming [1]. Pair programming is an agile technique that involves two programmers working simultaneously on one computer. Both programmers use their own keyboard and mouse. Ideally, each also has a separate monitor.

In pair programming, one programmer acts as the driver (the person who actively programs), and the other is the navigator. Since both programmers have their own keyboards, the navigator can access the code directly at any time. This leads to those "wait a minute, I'll show you how to do that" moments where the navigator demonstrates something to the driver or simply corrects an error.

Pair programming proponents believe this technique leads to far cleaner code containing fewer errors. However, pair programming does put a strain on both programmers. Experts recommend that companies use pair programming regularly, but not every day for the entire day. The right chemistry between the two programmers is also important.


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