So how does it actually work if you’re supposed to share the screen and work on the same thing simultaneously?
Kristjan Kokk — 16.03.2021 (3 minute read)
It’s actually quite simple. We use screen sharing tools to do it! But the trick is to use something that actually works. When COVID-19 kept us at home offices, we tried numerous different tools, some of them worked better than others but none of them are flawless.
Our requirements for the tools were: screen sharing, keyboard sharing, mouse sharing and of course the ability to talk to each other while working. And finally it had to be cross-platform.
Q: How do you talk to each other?
A: We really only use Discord to talk to each other. It works great 99.9% of the time, there have been some rare outages, but that happens to the best of us - nothing is flawless.
Q: How do you share the screen?
A: Out of all the different things we tried, we have reached the conclusion that there are two of which we use and both have their advantages and disadvantages: Steam Remote Play and AnyDesk
I personally like to use Steam Remote Play. It is a bit unconventional, because it is meant for gaming, but it turns out that it works really well for development as well. Here is the list of tools and their respective pros and cons:
There are multiple plugins similar to Floobits for Intellij Idea that have all the same good features and they work great if they are used for pair programming as long as developers stick to coding. However, we also heavily use browser, chat clients, terminal, database client etc while pair programming, therefore those solutions are not acceptable for us as we still would need screen sharing.
Recently, many new screen sharing solutions offering remote pair programming functionality have been created and released due to the pandemic and remote work becoming more popular. We have not had a chance to test all of them out and most probably never will, so there’s a big possibility that we’re missing out on something cool.
Although we prefer to meet and work in the office, we’re glad we have found some good ways to do pair programming remotely. This allows us to work from home not only in the current coronavirus situation, but also when, for example, a runny nose appears in the morning, but taking a sick day seems overkill.
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