I'm afraid from my personal experience I can't agree with this 'two-person'

It's not that I am opposed to criticising (or being criticised).  My
objection is that I find coding a very personal endeavour.  I find that
each programmer has a certain 'style', which is quite evident in the way
they approach their job, even within constraints established by
departmental standards.  This is not to say that someone uses CMD3 to exit,
while another uses CMD24.  By 'style', I mean the way the code itself
flows, the naming conventions, the use and design of reads/chains or
DOW/DOU, etc.

If I could use an analogy here (I know it's always risky doing this, but I
feel it is valid), if we equate programming to painting (start with a blank
canvas, working to a goal that is only in our imagination at the moment), I
see the only real way a 'tag team' programming development can work is if
you have a  basic 'paint by numbers' scenario, where purely technical skill
is involved, without imagination (or even understanding of where we will
end up).  If, however, you need something with a bit of imagination, then
the rotating programmers would lead to something like a collaboration
between Picasso and Van Gough - fine individually but a mess when combined.

I find a far better approach is to divide the project in two.  Work in
tandem, with frequent consultation, and both stop at certain points and
test each others work against your own, to ensure the development is
staying compatible all along the line.  This way, each programmer can
concentrate on producing their best result, while the team as a whole stays
in touch with the overall development.

Possibly I should be a litlle less precious about the individual's
'personal flair', but I don't find programming to be a soulless application
of standard statements, one after the other.  To me, it is a mental
construction, transferred via my fingers to the system.  As such, each
program represents my mental process, and to try to write half a program my
way, and half someone else's, is not the best way to work effectively (and

                    "jt" <jt@ee.net>
                    Sent by:                   To:     <midrange-l@midrange.com>
                    midrange-l-admin@mi        cc:
                    drange.com                 Subject:     RE: Two persons per 

                    10/12/01 15:50
                    Please respond to

Can't agree more.  But unless you've done it, may not seem possible.  I've
never tried alternating like that.  Probably would work best.

The KEY is the focus of the person who's not keying.  That's the tough job,
keeping up with the other, as the fingers can work quicker than the brain,
sometimes (sometimes...?!?  LOL...!).  The other KEY is that the person can
accept criticism.  That's where I've found the apprenticeship approach
well, as there are "roles", as long as the "master" doesn't mind learning
from the "apprentice".

I gather you've had more experience than I have, Leif.  My experience is
that this works in small doses.  A few hours a day.  I've not had much luck
with day-in and day-out...  What about you...?

I've found it to be much tougher to pair two "masters".  I've had luck
pairing two "apprentices" but I didn't actually observe them working
together, much, at the time.  I've found complementary personalities to be
the bigger factor.

(Tired, so will look forward to reply tomorrow, if any.)

| -----Original Message-----
| From: midrange-l-admin@midrange.com
| [mailto:midrange-l-admin@midrange.com]On Behalf Of Leif Svalgaard
| Sent: Sunday, December 09, 2001 11:32 PM
| To: midrange-l@midrange.com
| Subject: Two persons per product"
| From: Brad Jensen
| > debugging yes, writing no
| I have on many occasions practiced the "two-person" method.
| One person at the keyboard, the other one criticizing and correcting;
| change places every 30 minutes. This actually works with "truly"
| professional people. Also in other professions. One measure of
| being professional is the "interchangeability" of persons.
| "Cowboy" mentality is not desirable. Unfortunately, many (most?)
| programmers see it otherwise. This contributes to keeping our
| field one predominantly dominated by amateurs.

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