Jan 5th, 2023

What is Pair Programming? Pros | Cons | Challenges


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Pair programming is an Agile software development approach derived from Extreme programming (XP) in which developers collaborate on a single computer. The two individuals collaborate to create, code, and test user stories. In an ideal world, the two persons would be equally proficient and spend equal amounts of time on the keyboard. The two software developers are called:-

  1. The programmer at the keyboard is the driver.
  2. The other is known as a navigator.
The navigator is concerned with the general direction of the program. Developers can work together either in person or remotely. Pair programming is a team activity that takes a tremendous amount of communication. The objective is for the driver and navigator to interact, discuss techniques, and solve problems a single developer could miss.

Learning to work efficiently in a close-knit team and share a computer requires talents not all programmers possess. Both programmers must have the necessary soft skills for cooperation and the technical skills needed for writing and testing code. As a result, some firms may choose to employ the technique, while others may choose not to.

What Is The Process Of Pair Programming?

Pair programming necessitates the usage of two developers, one workstation, one keyboard, and one mouse. Pairings can be allocated or chosen at random. Even when there is a division of labor, pair programming employs the four-eyes rule, which assures that two pairs of eyes evaluate the code created.

  • The navigator evaluates the code being generated as the driver is writing it.
  • The driver concentrates on coding details, while the navigator evaluates the work and code quality and gives guidance.
1. Focusing on one little task at a time: The developers are given a well-defined job to begin the process. Then, individuals decide to focus on one little task at a time, such as coding, testing, or simply taking notes.

2. Discussing various strategies and issues: Any conversations about direction or adjustments can occur after each objective to maintain the driver's flow. The two programmers may discuss multiple strategies and issues, producing more excellent quality code than when one person does the same task.

3. Programmers alternate between coding and reviewing, double-checking each other's work. Role rotation helps keep both developers attentive and interested. Organizations might also require the duo to switch positions to focus on separate tasks. This allows them to gain experience working on various components of the constructed system.

4. Junior and senior developers can collaborate, relying on how the pairs are organized, allowing older developers to share their experiences and work practices. This also aids new team members in becoming acquainted with a project.

Importance Of Pair Programming?

Pair programming is often a magic bullet that makes developers write better code, right? Well, not really. It's all about the practice in terms of how and what you do while doing it.

Develop improved solutions

An essential reason to pair programs is that it frequently results in better solutions than either developer could have developed alone. Problems are found early, and possible issues are spotted by two persons rather than one. Before settling on a solution to a specific problem, the duo discusses, evaluates, and talks through any trade-offs involved. Answers are reviewed before being implemented rather than after they have been implemented.

Contextualize and share knowledge quickly.

Pair programming is a way to exchange information and context in your daily workflow. For example, two persons have context on each line of code typed when pair programming instead of one. In addition, if one employee departs, moves to a new team, is occupied with other work, or goes on vacation, this gives built-in redundancy.

Without pair programming, engineers must use extraordinary measures to exchange information, frequently involving additional meetings and code review sessions.

Learning from each other and developing skills

Mentoring from your colleague is one of the most significant advantages of pair programming. The most extraordinary approach for junior developers to enhance their abilities is to work with a more computer programmer.

When paired with a more junior developer, senior engineers can learn new things, whether it's a handy Linux command they didn't know, how to utilize a new IDE, or how to be productive in the latest front-end framework. Everyone is a master in something and has something to teach others.

Pros of Pair Programming

Pair programming has various advantages:

  1. Lesser coding errors: Some other programmers review the driver's code, which can help decrease errors and enhance code quality.
  2. The pairs share knowledge: Senior developers may teach junior programmers new skills. Those inexperienced with a process might be partnered with someone more knowledgeable.
  3. Reduced effort to coordinate: Developers will become accustomed to working together and synchronizing their actions.

Cons of Pair Programming

Pair programming has the following drawbacks:

  1. Beginners pairing problem: Pairing can provide better outcomes than two newbies working separately. However, this approach is often avoided since it is more difficult for newbies to build good habits without an appropriate role model.
  2. Team Fit: Pair programming's high-intensity communication is unsuitable for every developer. Drivers are sometimes expected to talk loudly when writing code. Some may object to sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with a coworker for eight hours daily. Some skilled coders prefer to work alone rather than in pairs.

Challenges in Pair Programming

The following are some of the most prevalent pair programming issues:

  1. For the job, the couple should be evenly engaged and participatory. There would be no advantages otherwise.
  2. Pair programming should also be programming out loud process, with the pair verbally expressing what it is doing.
  3. This is something you can only push your team to do. However, because it is incredibly social and participatory, you should be able to identify partners that may have issues with one other, such as opposing personalities or personal hygiene issues.


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