Adventures in Pair Programming – Week 10

What about pair programming?[1] Janet and I tried pair programming to start writing unit tests. Before this week I had zero experience, and writing the code together was a quick way to bring me up to speed on the when, where, and why of unit testing. We used some combination of Skype, iChat, and to pair program remotely. I shared my screen and control to observe how Janet set up the class path and used the Eclipse plug-in to generate test cases, and wrote the first few tests, explaining each step as she did. Then I wrote the next few tests.

So what about pair programming? The last time I programmed in a pair was in high school with my friend and the only other girl in my class, Cassidy, on a GridWorld project. Neither of us knew more than you would expect to learn in AP CS, but we had each other to use what we did know to solve problems creatively and check syntax. The whole process then and now did not go perfectly smoothly, which was okay. It reminded me that I’m not the only one who gets stuck. Having a partner in code makes it possible to brainstorm and troubleshoot more effectively, and stay focused.

Now What? Janet and I are going to try pair programming for a couple hours again on Wednesday, this time writing code with Hibernate. *I think* there is also talk around OpenMRS of using pair programming strategies to help, mentor, guide new community members.

[1] From Wikipedia: Pair programming is an agile software development technique in which two programmers work together at one workstation. One, thedriver, writes code while the other, the observer (or navigator), reviews each line of code as it is typed in. The two programmers switch roles frequently.


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