Pair Programming: Benefits, Tips & Advice for Making it Work

3D ad banner ad revenue ad revenues adobe XD Advanced advanced-css-tools advanced-css-tutorials AdvancedCSS AdvancedCSS-hub agency Agile Agile Development Ajax Alex Skill Kit Alexa Alexa skill AlexW Amazon Alexa amazon developer analytics Angelap angular AngularJS Animation anime.js ANN api apollo Appsflyer array methods artificial neural network Async async components automation Avocode AWS AWS Lambda axios b2b b2c baas background background eraser tool Banner banner ad Bannersnack bawmedia bem bitcoin black friday Blogs bootstrap bot browser testing Browsers build process bundler Business business success Canvas & SVG career Career Advancement CDN Chakra UI charting chat app chatbots ChatKit chrome chrome developer tools chrome extension chrome extensions chromium ciphering cli cli tools climate climate action clojure cloud hosting CloudFlare Cloudways cms CNN code challenge ColinI collaboration collaboration tools compiler components const assertions constructs content content delivery network context api convoluted neural network create react app cron job cross browser testing cross platform development cross-browser cryptocurrencies CSS CSS Architecture css blur css challenge css framework css frameworks css grid css modules CSS print css rem css typography CSS-in-JS CSS3 css3 transforms D3.js data visualization database databases debugging decoupled cms deep linking delay Design Design & UX design career design handoff Detox dev environment developer tools DevOps devtools diagnostic analytics digit recognition digital agency digitalocean Discord discounts Docker Docker Containers E-commerce ECMAScript edge computing editor elastic em units employment end-to-end testing energy energy usage Entrepreneur Entrepreneurship environment erasing backgrounds es6 ES6 classes eslint Expo Express FaaS face detection face recognition fast wordpress themes Feathers Feathers.js figma flatfile flexible wordpress theme framework Frameworks freelancing functional programming functions gatsby generators geolocation gitCS github github API Google Photos GraphCMS graphing graphql Growth Grunt grunt-watch Gulp haskell headless CMS hooks hosting HTML HTML & CSS html preprocessor HTML5 HTML5 Dev Center IAAS IDE Illustration image optimization immutability ionic IP2Location jade jamesh JavaScript javascript framework javascript frameworks javascript tooling Jest job joelf jQuery jquery get url params jquery string functions jquery4u js js framework JS tooling Keras keycdn lambdatest launch checklist Layout learn-advanced-css learn-modernjs Learn-Node-JS learn-vue Lift linux linux containers location tracking LouisL Managed managed hosting mariap marvel MBaaS mekanism mind map mind mapping mindmapping Mobile mobile attribution Mobile Design modernjs modernjs-hub modernjs-tools modules monday mongodb MTCNN multi-threading mysql natural language processing Navigation navigation library nest Next.js nilsonj node node version manager node-hub Node-JS-Tools Node-JS-Tutorials node-mysql module Node.js nodejs noops npm nvm objects octobercms Offers online publishing PaaS Package Management package manager pair programming pairing pause Percy Performance Photography & Imagery Photoshop Photoshop Tutorials & Articles pip portfolio portfolio builders preprocessors prettier print styles Prisma Private Class Fields product design Profitability Programming PubNub Pug Puppeteer Pusher python python job Quasar query strings quick-tip quote builders Raw JavaScript React react components React Hooks React Hooks Form React native reactive Reactive Programming reactive web apps read offline Reat native elements Recurring Payments recursive types RedBox redux rem units remote work remote work tips removing backgrounds resilient Resources responsive REST restful api Review SaaS sampling sass Scss self sencha serverless serverless computing shared hosting sharing state sharpen side project siteground sketch slashdata sleep Software sorting specifications speech recognition speech recognition api sponsored state state management static module bundler StudioWorks Styled Components styling React components survey sustainability svelte sympli Tailwind task runner telegram bots Template engine Testing text to speech Themes Tic Tac Toe Tinder toggle Tolerance tooling tooling anxiety tools Tools & Libraries transformations TypeScript Ubuntu UI UI Design Usability user experience user research UX ux issues vanilla javascript VGGFace2 virtual machine visual testing voice recognition vps vue Vue CLI vue dev environment vue-hub vue-tutorials vue.js vuetify vuex wait WatermelonDB Web Web Design web hosting Web Hosting & Domains Web standards web workers webpack website builders website performance WebSockets windows windows 10 home Windows Subsystem for Linux Windows Terminal wix women women in tech WordPress wordpress themes WordPress theming work workers workflow working remotely workplaces WPEngine WSL WSL2 YellowBox Zeplin

Pair Programming: Tips and Advice for Making it Work

Pair Programming — a pair that's greater than the sum of its parts. You may have heard about pair programming and wondered whether it was worth trying in your workplace. On the surface it sounds simple, but two developers sitting together are not all that it takes to achieve productive pairing.

Logistical and personal hurdles such as scheduling, tool choices, and distractions can stop you from getting the most out of pairing. But the potential advantages can make it worth the trouble of recognizing and surmounting these challenges.

Why Pair?

How could it be more productive to take two programmers who were previously working on separate projects and have them work together on a single project? Won't everything take twice as long? To an outsider the idea of pairing may sound counterproductive at first, but the advantages become apparent when you start to think about why we code and what we're trying to accomplish.

Programming is not about churning out the most lines of code in the shortest amount of time, or even delivering the most features within increasingly tight deadlines. You can have engineers working around the clock pushing new features into production, but how productive are they really if those features are cranked out by individuals working in isolation according to their own unique understanding of the overall architecture? The resulting code is likely to be riddled with technical debt such as hidden bugs, performance issues, idiosyncratic syntax, and inefficient designs that may not use resources efficiently and may make it that much more difficult and time consuming to modify the code when one of those flaws surfaces.

You need your code to be meaningful and well written so that it works together seamlessly and can be modified easily. You need it to encapsulate the desired functionality so that your end product behaves properly and performs as expected. You need it to be resilient so it can withstand organizational changes that are a natural part of working together, as well as environmental changes and new customer expectations that may make today's workable solution obsolete without much warning.

In order to make that possible, developers need to be able to agree about fundamental requirements clearly, get up to speed quickly with whatever new or established technologies may be required, and focus without interruption to test out creative solutions and develop a product that's worth putting in front of the customer.

These are the real-world challenges that pair programming helps to address. When two developers work together in a pair, the quality of the code they produce improves along with their shared understanding of how it works. This makes it easier for the next person who reads the code to pick it up and modify it when necessary, and it reduces the danger that the only person on the team who knows how part of the code works may win the lottery and leave the team, taking that precious knowledge with them.

The time cost in mythical work hours is nowhere near the 50% that may seem intuitive if you tried to to equate the intricate art of coding with repetitive assembly line work. Some empirical studies have concluded that pair programming might result in about a 15% increase in the time it takes two programmers to accomplish the same tasks had they been working alone, but the resulting code will also be of much higher quality, with about 15% fewer observable defects to fix. Combine this with the shared ownership, deeper engagement, and faster problem solving that comes from having more than one mind engaged in solving a problem, and it's clear why pair programming is a popular approach.

What Exactly is Pairing?

So what does it take for two developers working together to achieve the productivity and quality improvements that come from pairing? It's mostly a matter of learning how to work collaboratively, which is not necessarily the way most of us learned to code.

By definition, pair programming doesn't start until you have two people working together on one computer. But how does that work in practice?

Two People …

The fundamental element of pair programming is working together with your pair. When a task is accepted, it needs to be shared between both of the people working on it, and they both need to be fully engaged in the task while they’re pairing on it. That means that they both need to understand the requirements the same way, and work together to come to a shared understanding of how they want to go about meeting them.

Pairing helps people get better at verbalizing their ideas and expectations. The implicit understanding you have in your head when you're working alone needs to be communicated so both you and your pair know you're on the same page. Getting as explicit as possible about the work and the approach up front will help make the pairing experience much more agreeable. Pairing involves a lot of talking, as that's the best way to keep two minds actively engaged in the problem at the same time.

For this reason, pairing is often associated with agile story writing, in which requirements for a feature are defined in consistent, plain language that can be understood equally well by Product and Engineering people with little room for ambiguity. Often pairs will ask for stories to be spelled out in Gherkin, which is a way of using common, non-technical phrases that are easy to translate into automated tests, so the pair can verify and demonstrate that each feature works as expected.

Writing in Gherkin means taking a feature and breaking it down into a simple story about a customer who wants something that this feature will deliver:

As <a customer of the product>
I want <something desirable>
So that <I can achieve a specific goal>

Then all the acceptance criteria are written out in a consistent syntax, defining the anticipated permutations and scenarios associated with that story:

Given <a customer in a particular state>
When <something specific happens>
Then <there is a specific outcome>

Given <a customer in a particular state>
When <something different happens>
Then <there is a different specific outcome>


Of course, it's not mandatory to use this exact phrasing, but if the requirements of a feature can't be expressed in this minimalist way, it's possible that the expectations are ambiguous. That's a potential red flag that's easier for a pair of programmers to spot when they start to discuss what's needed.

As soon as a pair accepts a story to work on, they should be able to define how they will know they are done and how they're going to prove it. From there, they can start to figure out together how best to approach the job.

In fact, the pair working on a feature should know enough up front that they could start by writing an automated test based on the first acceptance criterion before writing any code, making sure the new test fails, and then writing just enough code to make that test pass before refactoring and then starting on the next acceptance criterion. This approach is known as behavior-driven development, and while it’s not part of the definition of pair programming, it harmonizes beautifully, along with test-driven development.

The post Pair Programming: Benefits, Tips & Advice for Making it Work appeared first on SitePoint.

Original Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.