Thursday, May 14, 2009

Learn IDE key mappings while pair programming

I'm a big believer in keeping the hands on the keyboard and minimizing the amount of mouse use when coding. Therefore, I tend to spend some time learning the keymappings for the IDE I am using. I'm most proficient with IntelliJ IDEA but I've also learned a good portion of the keymappings in Eclipse and Visual Studio+ReSharper.

I've been doing a fair amount of pair programming lately on my current gig, a good thing. One behavior that we have been practicing while pair programming is gently forcing the driver of the pair to use keymappings to activate various actions within the IDE. Neal Ford describes this in his book The Productive Programmer. Practicing this behavior while pair programming has proven very valuable to increasing our productivity while in the code base. Neal mentions the KeyPromoter plugin for IntelliJ; I've tried this plugin and I haven't become a big fan of it. Much easier if your navigator keeps you honest.

I've done this before with pair programming while working at Identix in 2004 with Hans Loedolff. Hans knew all the IntelliJ keymappings and could type at about 90 words per minute. He was an excellent pair programmmer.