Thursday, August 11, 2005

TopCoder on Pair Programming

Shortly after blogging about pair-programming on TopCoder, the folks at TopCoder contacted me. They asked for more information about what we did while pair-programming. I gave them the details and tried to make a case for pair-programming in their Single Round Matches. The case I tried to make focused on the fun involved in pair-programming during their contest. Which for me was the whole reason to play TopCoder anyway. Pair-programming in the competition for me was a lot more fun than playing it by myself. Just like any sport, playing in pairs you build excitement and energy from your teammate. The added social-factor made the event very entertaining. Some of the discussions and comments we made while trying to hack code and race the clock would probably make a good reality-tv show. Pair-programming combined with the time-limit created a fun, social and exciting environment. This was simply FUN!

Unfortunately TopCoder's reply included...

Our current environment is setup to promote individual results and ratings. At this time, we dot not intend to add any type of pair programming or team competitions, but we'll consider your request. We've considered team contests in the past, but ultimately were hesitant due to the high potential for abuse.

If you like the pair programming experience within TopCoder, I encourage you attempt the same format but use the practice rooms instead of an SRM.
Ok, TopCoder has both technical and business issues to overcome before they can support team events. I'm sure if they really want to, they could find a way to support pair-programming. After all, don't they have access to the *Top Coders*? I hope TopCoder changes one day to allow team events. It really was a great form of Recreational Programming. Until then, Tom and I will look for other programming games to pair and play.

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