Pair Programming - use a "pair" Windows login?

Published Friday, July 16, 2004 9:11 AM

On my current consulting gig, we have been Pair Programming for almost all development.  In the past I have always just used one of the pair's Windows accounts while working.  This has proven to be a pain due to MSN Messenger, Email and other distractions typically being run in that account.  This also combined with one of us forgetting to check everything in and staying logged in on the pairing machine - preventing anything from happening till we arrive in the morning.

The solution:

A separate “pair” Windows Account on the pairing machine with a password known to the developers.  Can you feel the system administrators shaking? :-)  Fortunately, the company is small and we are able to control the creation of accounts, passwords, etc.

Our “Programming Pair 1“ login has the following configuration:

  • MSN Messenger login with only development team members added as contacts
  • Visual Studio.NET with our favorite keyboard shortcuts configured
  • NUnit, NUnitAddIn (who could live without it!)
  • Sourcegear's Vault client configured to use a pairing login
  • VNC Server for sharing keyboard and mouse
  • Other favorite utilities: Regulator, Reflector

How do you typically configure your pairing machines?

How would you handle these problems in a larger company where
stricter account management policies may be in place?

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