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We need "Remote Pair Programming" functionality in Visual Studio 2008 - best solution?

Posted on 2008-10-31
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I am living in the UK.

I want to work with two developers, both living in separate cities in Russia.

We want to perform "Remote Pair Programming", as described at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_programming#Remote_pair_programming

We will be using Visual Studio 2008, and C#.

Can you give us some clues on the best setup for this.

Unfortunately, bandwidth is limited. Instant messaging works well, gmail chat works well - but not much else.

Essentially, we need a solution that gives as good as functionality as CodeWeight, but within Visual Studio 2008.



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Question by:Risky101
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Expert Comment

by:Alexandre Simões
ID: 22848847
Just too feed my curiosity, what kind of project are you working on?

From my point of view, Pair Programming on a Object Oriented environment is just a waist of resources.
My idea is also hold by the fact that there are so few support for PP on the IDE's.

I use PP on some debugging tasks, or testing but never on the heat of the development process.

If you put that on the remote scenario where the "pair" is in fact separated by several miles will require a good stable link between them like a VoIP connection or something, I don't think IM would be a good solution.

I don't want to turn this into a discussion on why to use it rather than how to use it, but I would like to understand why do you need it.

Cheers,
Alex
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by:Risky101
ID: 22851879
We are working on a collaborative project - a complex C# program that uses neural  networks, k-nearest-neighbour, genetic programming, and a SQL database, all hooking into an existing web access API.

I have 15 years of C++ experience, I want to pair program with my contractors, one by one, for the first weeks or so, so I can gauge their skill levels. They are all located in eastern europe. I will gradually reduce my involvement to almost nothing as the project progresses.

Notes:

- We are targeting Visual Studio 2008 C#.
- The pair programming must work over a low bandwidth connection. Skype, in IM mode, works well - theres certainly enough bandwidth available to us, but not enough for a shared graphical desktop with VNC or Remote Desktop.
- I know that CodeWright had a great collaborative pair programming environment - but, would this plug into Visual Studio?
- I'm thinking Microsoft Visual Studio Team Suite - any other options?


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Alexandre Simões earned 2000 total points
ID: 22852115
I never used CodeWrite but it looks like one more source control tool... I can't find any PP functionalities.
You say: "I know that CodeWright had a great collaborative pair programming environment"
can you show me some articles on the web?

If what you need if to simply have the code on your side whenever you want then any source control tool will do...
Personally I'm using TFS at work and SubVersion at home.

But this isn't PP as you'll only see what has been done when the developer checks-in the stuff.

I understand why you want to use PP, but I advise you to implement something more solid.
Implementing SCRUM on your development process would give you much control that "spy" what they are doing. Along with it use TFS with its plug in SCRUM for Team System... this makes TFS SCRUM aware, and you'll have a absolute control about what's going on with your project.
Make the SCRUM meeting every day with all of them at the same time if possible... on a IM private chat room for example.
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by:Risky101
ID: 22852340
Agree absolutely on SCRUM. I became a huge SCRUM fan after talking to an executive in a $20 million business that watched productivity increase by 25% after he implemented SCRUM across his organization.

I am searching for a solution that will allow me to work with my contractors when possible, especially during the early stages.

> You say: "I know that CodeWright had a great collaborative
> pair programming environment" can you show me some articles on the web?

Sure. The feature is called CodeMeeting, and allows one person to help the other person when they are programming. Coupled with Skype (voice and/or low resolution video), some are reporting that it is almost as effective as pair programming with both parties physically present.

From my research, pair programming produces the same quality code, in the same amount of time, as two separate programmers. It does require programmers that are compatible, however - programmers are notorious for preferring their own company.

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