Preparing to Remote Pair

Introduction

As you learned in the last lesson, pairing in person is the best option, but if that isn’t a viable solution, we have many options for pairing remotely. To get underway, you will need a way to share a screen and a way to communicate:

  • Screen Sharing Options. There may be more, but these are a few of the most popular:
    • Screenhero is a popular option, but as of December 2016 it is not open to new accounts while they are integrating with Slack but if you both already have Screenhero accounts, by all means use it.
    • If you both are using Macs, you can use its built in screen sharing app.
    • The Odin Project currently recommends Cloud 9. It’s free, doesn’t need to be installed, and it is easy to share your screen.
  • Communication Options. You can always text chat, but for true Pair Programming, you will need voice communication. The Odin Project does not have a preference, just find one that works for you and your partner:
    • Screenhero has its own built in voice chat, but as mentioned above, unless you already have an account you are currently out of luck.
    • Microsoft’s Skype is probably the most well known and is a stand alone application.
    • The other primary option is Google Hangouts. It exists inside your browser.

Installing the Software

Cloud 9 is an online IDE that works out of your web browser so you don’t need to install anything on your local computer. Just type in the email address in the middle of the screen and follow the prompts. If you have a Github account, you can then link your Cloud 9 account to it.

(Cloud 9 will ask for a credit card number as part of its procedure to make sure you are not a bot. It doesn’t keep the information after you have been verified and it does not charge anything on the card.)

If you want, you can use group chat window under the collaborate tab on the upper right side of your screen to start, but that is technically collaboration, not pairing. You will eventually want to sign up for and use one of the voice communication options above. You can just keep it open in another tab or minimized.

Once you have your account set up in Cloud 9, create a new workspace to start your project. You can link it to a Github repository, but that is not necessary right away. Initiating sharing is as simple as sharing the link to the workspace with your partner. They can click the link and you can accept them and just like that, you can both see and edit in real time the project you are working on.

Finding a Partner

Of course all this preparation is pointless without someone to pair with. Perhaps you already have someone in mind, but if you are having trouble finding someone, The Odin Project has a Forum Category just for that. If you haven’t joined the Odin community, now is a good time to do that, and then post in the Pair Category. There should be other people there at about the same place you are in the curriculum looking to find someone to pair with as well.

Things to keep in mind

  • Your pair is a living breathing human being. Don’t forget the manners your mama taught you.
  • Follow through with your commitments and communicate when life comes up–don’t just not show up.
  • You are not guaranteed to find a good match the first time, don’t be afraid to communicate as much–nicely.
  • Even if you find someone you really like pairing with, try pairing with a variety of people of different skill levels.
  • The Odin Project is a community. Remember the Golden Rule and we should all get along. Forget it, and you will have a hard time finding people to pair with you.

Additional Resources

This section contains helpful links to other content. It isn’t required, so consider it supplemental for if you need to dive deeper into something.

Web Development 101

Preparing to Remote Pair

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