Working to two different brains, the driver

Working together collaboratively
with a team member in a remote location is not a rarity anymore as distributed
pair programming makes it real. It’s a smart way to offload the work to two
different brains, the driver and the navigator. The driver implements the logic
while the navigator observes the driver and assists him with the logical flow as
they swap roles continuously. This encourages a sense of ownership and leads to
faster problem solving while engaging minds from different locations to
transfer knowledge in the process. There are several tools to help achieve this
and one such plugin of eclipse, tailored to encourage distributed pair
programming is Sangam. It is event driven, so only the changes are transmitted.
One main advantage of this tool would be its flexibility for customization. For
example, the driver can see the code from Java’s perspective and a navigator
can get a debug perspective as they run on separate eclipse instances. As it is
event driven, it only transmits important messages and performs well even with
slower broadband connections. One potential downfall of Sangam is that it
mandates the code between the participants to be consistent before pair
programming takes place. The results would be erroneous if consistency is not
maintained beforehand. It is natural for the navigator and the driver to have
the different code versions as they are constantly working on the same code
base. A possible solution to this problem would be to have a central repository
for pair programming to access the same versions of code or  include a source control feature where the
participants can view their source code differences and switch to the latest
one by  an auto resolve a functionality
to make the code bases consistent before initiating pair programing.

References: Sangam – A Distributed
Pair Programming Plug-in for Eclipse Chih-wei Ho1 , Somik Raha2 , Edward
Gehringer1 , Laurie Williams1

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