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Pair Programming Illuminated 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5342745764
ISBN-10: 0201745763
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  • Pair Programming Illuminated
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  • Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change, 2nd Edition (The XP Series)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Pair programming is a simple, straightforward concept. Two programmers work side-by-side at one computer, continuously collaborating on the same design, algorithm, code, and test. It produces a higher quality of code in about half the time than that produced by the summation of their solitary efforts. However, nothing is simple where people and personalities are involved--especially people who are accustomed to working alone. The leap to pair programming for a variety of software development projects is one that yields many benefits. However, it is also one that requires careful thought and planning.

Written as instruction for team members and leaders new to pair programming and as an improvement guide for experienced pair programmers, Pair Programming Illuminated explains both the principles underlying this method and its best practices. The authors, drawing on their own extensive experience, explain what works and what does not, what should be emphasized and what should be avoided. Two case studies further illuminate pair programming in practice: one in the context of extreme programming (XP), with which it often is associated, and one linked to a more disciplined software engineering process.

Key topics include:

  • Principles for selecting partners
  • Practical advice, such as furniture set-up, pair rotation, and weeding out bad pairs
  • Seven habits of effective pair programmers
  • Special appendices include:

  • A pair programming tutorial
  • An economic analysis of pair programming
  • An introduction to test-driven development
  • With this book in hand, you will quickly discover how pair programming fits the needs of your own organization or project. You then will see exactly how to get started with this method, and how to do it right.


    About the Author

    Laurie Williams has applied the XP methodology to various projects. She is an organizer of the main XP conferences held thus far.

    Robert Kessler is a professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah, from which he holds his Ph.D., and a past department chair. Bob has founded a number of technology companies and is on the board of several others.


    Product Details

    • Paperback: 288 pages
    • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (July 8, 2002)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0201745763
    • ISBN-13: 978-0201745764
    • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Maxim Masiutin on October 13, 2002
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    I was inspired by the book "Extreme Programming Explained" by Kent Beck and we started to use pair programming. Since that we had a lot of unanswered questions:
    - how to spread the pair programming practice across our organization,
    - how to argue with the people who did never try pair programming but was against it,
    - how to overcome management resistance to pair programming,
    - how to gain support and acceptance from our peers,
    - how to organize workplace layout in details, how to rotate pairs ...
    This book has answered all the questions.
    The authors did the awesome homework analyzing lots of books related to project management, software development and human relations. You will find lots of references. However, the book contains only a few authors' own assertion. The authors prefer to base on someone else's books and publications, logically combining and deducing them.
    The most valuable aspect of the book is that the authors have interviewed lots of Pair Programming experts, who gave the answers to most specific questions.
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    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    I started a bit skeptical about pairing until I read this book. After completing the book I realized that I was thoroughly mistaking about my premature conclusions and comments on the topic.

    This is a very thorough, interesting and entertaining book. After reading it from cover to cover, I realized that pair-programming is not only a good thing-in many instances for most software processes-but that it addresses a problem that many individual in our field suffers from-and I am a prime examplar of a programmer with some form of the symptoms of that problem:
    General lack of social skills, or interest, for interacting, communicating and working in teams to create "good" large software... as well as sharing our knowledge without prejudice and with humility. Not too mention dealing with our not so small egos...
    I also realized that in some sense, I have experienced (positively) some form of pair-programming without really knowing it. At the large software company where I work, we do spend a fair amount of time reviewing code and coaching, which reminds me of some of the tactics that is proposed in the book. Further, in a recent project I personally did spend a lot of time in a "coaching" role (as the lead) with the team... and the feedback I got from members of the team was only positive.
    I am convinced now that my initial attitude and thoughts towards pairing was wrong and was based on misunderstanding and probably on recollections of "expert-novice" pairing that I had experienced a few times in the past; and which is singled out in the book as one instance where pairing might not work well. Further, my "soloist" programming background coupled with a more introverted personality does not help the matter.
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    Format: Paperback
    A well-rounded discussion of pair programming, this book presents not only where pair programming excels, but also where the problems lie. Whether you are looking for a sales pitch, implementation advice, or statistical data from pair programming studies, the book contains useful information for project managers, technical leads, and developers alike.

    Part One covers general information about pair programming. It dispels some of the fear and uncertainty that revolves around the practice (myths) and highlights some of the positive aspects that can be derived (synergistic behaviors). It includes a chapter titled "Overcoming Management Resistance to Pair Programming" which lists achievable goals that any project manager would wish for. In addition, there's a short chapter on selling pair programming to reluctant peers. But the authors warn that it is probably best to use a pyramid marketing approach and just let the advocates sell it for you versus forcing it on staff. Part One closes with a list of problems to avoid when implementing pairing.

    Part Two explains in less than 30 pages how to implement pair programming from the workspace layout to "Tips 'n Tricks" for making it work better. If read and applied carefully, this last chapter may help the developer looking for implementation advice to save a failing pair programming attempt. That alone makes this book a worthwhile read!

    Part Three spans close to half of the book and walks through the various pairings that might occur when you have different technical abilities (expert, average, novice), sex, race, and attitudes involved in the process. Each of the technical ability pairings is examined with both positive and negative aspects highlighted.
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    Format: Paperback
    Finally, "full disclosure". Instead of assertions that pair programming must be good, everyone should do it, and "just get going", Williams and Kessler tell us honestly that pair programming is "simply not for all" and requires continous maintenance. And they admit they "don't know yet" how pair programming might or might not replace formal code reviews. (Rather honestly, they admit that in a context where most people don't do any code reviews, pair programming could help a bit.)

    With that out of the way, Pair Programming Illuminated really does illuminate: explanations and examples of how to start pair programming, what to expect, and how to address problems. Practicality instead of magic. Well worth the read.
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