Remote trio programming

If pair programming is good, trio programming must be great, right?

Well, normally no, probably not, but today i had a trio programming experience that worked really well. Two of us were new to the codebase and together we learnt a lot from the person who knows the code well.

Of course, we all did not crowd around a single computer. That would not be comfortable at all. Due to the snowfall, most of the edenites were working from home today, so it gave us a great opportunity to find an effective way to pair remotely.

Initially we tried iChat screen sharing, but the screen updates are too slow to be satisfying. Steve had the idea of using GNU Screen so that we could all access the same terminal window via SSH.

Using a VPN to the office network, we were able to tunnel to Steve’s laptop and access the screen. In fact we found it useful to have two screens running: one for editing code in Vim and another screen for running Cucumber features. The exciting thing is, we don’t all have to look at the same screen at the same time: each person is free to switch screens on their own machine without affecting the others.

A Skype conference call completed the experience so that we could talk through our thought processes and learn the details of the codebase.

It was altogether a very profitable day. The snow, instead of being a hindrance today, helped us to find a very effective way of allowing three people to collaborate on a codebase.

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2 comments on “Remote trio programming

  1. Hi Aimee,

    Nice post! With screen you can do Ctrl-A c to open a new window on you existing screen session and then Ctrl-A to switch between the windows. Saves having to organise another screen, plus different people can use the windows independently. Hope that helps!

    Chris

  2. Pingback: Remote Pair Programming » RubyGeek

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