Pair Editing

by James Duncan Davidson

This last week, I was busy shooting at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, along with my shooting partner, Pinar Ozger. It was a crazy busy conference and the result was 50GB of RAW image data. As you can imagine, even when using software like Aperture to dig through everything, it's been a daunting task. For the most part, Pinar and I have been sitting in front of the screen for hours and hours talking about the photos, ranking them, and editing them. Having two people makes the process go better in many ways, but there was one place where it was getting in the way: When the person that wasn't driving would want to try one little tweak or crop and tried to indicate to the other person what they wanted.

Moscone West

After doing this for a few days, I suddenly had a flash of inspiration from my other career as a programmer: Pair Programming. For those of you that aren't familiar with this idea, pair programming is where you place two programmers in front of a screen and slide the keyboard and mouse back and forth as needed. One person programs while the other person helps out by thinking strategically about what's being worked on or simply looks for ways to do things better. It sounds really awkward, and it is at first, but it's used by many programmers effectively.

Over time, people that were really pair programming advocates started hooking up two keyboards and two mice to the computer being used to eliminate the overhead of sliding a single keyboard back and forth. With this setup, all one person has to do is say, "No, hang on. Let me do this little part" and go to town.

Anyway, after remembering this little tidbit, Pinar and I pulled out an extra keyboard and mouse that we had laying around and plugged them in. We then set forth editing again, now with the ability to let either person drive at any particular point it in time. It worked really well and I think we're going to continue to work like this on our joint projects. That way one of us can drive, rate, rank, and process but when the other sees something that needs to be tweaked just so, they can jump right in and do it.


Mark Levison
2007-06-25 06:23:15
James - I tried to use a trackback - but O'Reilly doesn't appear to support them. Thought you might be interested to know that this post was cited in the Carnival of Agilists for June 22:

Mark Levison