Helping Jeff with his PHP work was a chance to practice some pair coding. I don’t get to do this at work!
I know Jeff since the engineering school. We graduated from the same place in Paris. At the time (about 14 years ago) we were always coding in pairs: nothing to do with agile, we simply had to! The school labs were equipped with one PC/Solaris station for two people at best. We often had to finish projects late at night. Eating pizza at someone’s place, three or four people on the same computer. Of course we couldn’t afford laptops. I even remember having to carry around my tower PC to a mate’s flat in order to finish a late project! Those were tough times… and pairing with people was natural: it didn’t look like an exotic feature from a new methodology. It was just what all students did.
During our excursions in the coffee-shops and restaurants of Istanbul we both have our netbook. We tried phases where we worked separately, Jeff coding and me looking up some info. But what turns out to work best is to code on the same netbook taking turns at the keyboard. Less chances to get distracted this way. If one loses focus, the other puts him back on track. If one does a typo the other spots it immediately. If we both loose focus we just order another Latte.
We can sustain the pace for about two hours before we become useless.
Quite a good laugh actually… Just like good old times! Too bad we don’t do that at work…