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Pair Programming

In this guide you will learn about a special form of teamwork in programming: pair programming.

After reading this guide, you will:

1 Pair Programming

In pair programming two programmers work together at one workstation. One, the driver, writes code while the other, the observer or navigator, considers the "strategic" direction of the work, coming up with ideas for improvements and likely future problems to address. The two programmers switch roles frequently.

1.1 why pair?

At first glance two people programming together seems like a waste of resources: they could be typing in twice the amount of code if they each had a keyboard!

But a closer look reveals some positive features of pair programming:

  • pairs are more productive than single developers (see Williams(2000))
  • better quality of life through contact with other humans
  • learn from each other
  • part of agile methodologies, used today in industry

2 Pair Programming und git

We want the log to show who worked as a pair

$ git log
commit 38d4f10fe2fb3f4d13e12d75e70bc0a085f0753f
Author: Brigitte Jellinek + Xaviar Hyde <>
Date:   Fri Sep 14 10:52:41 2012 +0200

This follows the pattern:

firstname lastname driver + firstname lastname navigator
e-mail address of the navigator

2.1 git config

The configuration of git is saved on three levels: For the repository you can find the configuration in the file .git/config.

You can set your own user-specific settings with the command line switch --global. They will be saved to ~/.gitconfig.

And with the command line switch --system you can set global settings that will be saved to /etc/gitconfig

This is what a .git/config file might look like:

    name = Brigitte Jellinek + Xaviar Hyde
    email =

    repositoryformatversion = 0
    filemode = true
    bare = false
    logallrefupdates = true
    ignorecase = true

[remote "origin"]
    url = ssh://
    fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*