[wp-hackers] Distributed Pairprogramming for Wordpress development?

Eike Starkmann eike.starkmann at fu-berlin.de
Mon Oct 19 14:06:10 UTC 2009

Otto wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 7:48 AM, Eike Starkmann
> <eike.starkmann at fu-berlin.de> wrote:
>> Saros is an Eclipse plugin for collaborative text editing and distributed
>> pair programming, i.e. it allows two or more developers to work together in
>> real-time on the same files.
> Speaking as somebody who's been coding professionally for 10 years, I
> couldn't let this go by...
> I've had to do this sort of thing before (not distributed, but pair
> programming). It is, by far, the worst idea ever conceived by
> man(agers). I would rip my own arm off and beat myself to death with
> it before I'd ever do this sort of thing again.
Perhaps you made some bad experiences, with pair programming and it is
good that you share it, but there are a lot of people who have made
different experiences and find it very useful.
> The theory of pair programming is that you have two developers working
> on the same piece of code, able to notice and correct mistakes.
> The reality of pair programming is that one guy is better than the
> other guy, and spends half his time explaining the problem and
> solution to the other guy, instead of simply coding the damn thing.
> The lesser of the two programmers only drags the other guy down to his
> level, and wastes both of their time.
Yes that can happen, but did you ever thought of the knowledge transfer
that happens in this situation. I think there is no better way for
training a newcomer than putting him together with a skilled developer
explaining him while working how everything works. By the way are there
such big differences in the wordpress core team?
> The only way that pair programming works is if both programmers are a)
> equally skilled and b) not particularly skilled. In other words, for
> newbs fresh out of college, it works fine. For a seasoned programmer,
> the very notion is a valid reason to look for a job elsewhere.
> In general, it's a horrible practice, and anybody actively using it is
> an idiot. IMO, of course.
Of course a programmer who doesn't want to explain what he does and
prefers work alone will not like pair programming.
> Also, peer review is highly overrated as well, for other reasons.
> People who actively write good code don't need it, and people who
> don't write good code shouldn't be put in the position of writing code
> in the first place.
That's also one think you can learn while working together with a
skilled programmer, although I don't believe that good code is always
bugfree, everybody makes mistakes.

Al least, I just wanted to find out, if such a tool like Saros can
improve/be useful for open source software development. There are lost
of scopes behind just doing pair programming, for example reviewing
security patches.

Greets, Eike

Eike Starkmann
This message is part of my Master thesis research. Feel free to contact
my advisors in case of inappropriate behavior on my side:
christopher.oezbek at fu-berlin.de and stephan.salinger at fu-berlin.de

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