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Remote/Pair-Programming in-the-cloud

On 7/08/19 4:20 AM, Dennis Lee Bieber wrote:
> {Playing Devil's Advocate}

If this list had avatars, I would graffiti yours to have horns and a tail!


Many have also requested feedback. Sadly the news is not good. Herewith:-

> On Tue, 6 Aug 2019 09:07:41 +1200, DL Neil <PythonList at DancesWithMice.info>
> declaimed the following:
>> Anyway, this PUG mtg is going to be an 'experience'.
>> (I'll try (almost) anything once!)
> 	The only thing missing is capturing your PoV of the meeting (with
> screens) as a video for later streaming on YouTube <G>

Once the link was made, we addressed the entire mtg, briefing members on 
the experiment and the possibilities if offers. Only thereafter was it 
down to individuals or small groups (although I suspect everyone was 
subjected to every word I uttered - not the best approach - must check...).

In this jurisdiction, every single person present would have had to 
consent to the video. However, as it turned-out, such would have been 
less than helpful. Sigh!


The PUG meeting/experiment did not go very well. To be fair, I think 
that the live-demo gremlins were alive and well, and more responsible 
than anything/anyone else, but...
(as I've always said to my staff, having learned from (bitter) 
experience, start earlier than anyone else with enough time to test' 
everything, in-situ, before we start. The mtg organiser is/was no tutor 
of mine, is undoubtedly a busy boy, and may not have had prior access to 
the room/computer/network/...!)

The first issue was difficulty persuading Zoom to link. In the end there 
were two Zoom-s running at the other end, but we elected to leave-alone 
not actually knowing which was hosting the connection.

This process is normally quite straight-forward, and I've not 
experienced such before. Sadly, but a harbinger of what was to come...

Attempts to connect to AWS Cloud9 were completely fruitless. Whereas the 
remote PC had no trouble, at the PUG, entering access information 
resulted in nothing beyond 'the spinning wheel'.

Similarly, whilst we both managed to both log-in to PythonAnywhere, we 
made it no further.

In the end, I was (reduced to) screen-sharing, and chatting with folk 
about their projects.
(the purpose of the meeting - so, not 'all bad' then)

I was interested to hear how one member is performing local development 
and then 'parcelling-up' his Flask app into a "script". Each time he 
wants to test 'on the web', the script builds a new Docker-instance. 
Most of the Python, pip3, etc, is held within some cache (I'm not a 
Docker-person). It all happens acceptably quickly - please see other 
thread where we discussed VMs, containers, and Pyenvs...

Have not heard-back from the mtg organiser, since. Am hoping he is busy, 
rather than upset...

Meantime, assuming that the host-machine was an older lap-top (based 
upon screen resolution only), I tried further combinations of hardware 
and network (beyond previous preparation-experiments), including 
resurrecting an old Windows Vista lap-top (I use Linux) which first 
needed its Firefox considerably updated (although that may have been AWS 
Cloud9's demand rather than PA's - can't recall). Once that prerequisite 
was in-place, no problems were experienced!

In any (other) combination of hardware, OpSys, networking, etc; I have 
no trouble using PythonAnywhere or AWS Cloud9 between two computers, 
including at the local public library (and through their 
firewall/security/decency/etc filters).

the local university's foibles were likely to have been the source of 
our comms 'problems'.

What next?
- continue to narrow-down possible issues, with the meeting organiser
- more experiments*
- (possibly) consider other software choices (earlier in this thread)
- equip the host-machine with head-set
- better brief/prepare mtg participants in 'what to expect'**.

* A fellow list-member and I are planning further experiments, hopefully 
this week. If you are also interested, please feel free to contact me 

** As mentioned earlier, "pair programming" and/or my attempt to 
remotely support our PUG's Coding Evenings, require abilities AND 
facilities to "verbalise", "share", and "swap". Yes it would (perhaps) 
be best if one package delivered 'all', but as long as multiple tools 
will work happily together, success is possible. The key though is to 
realise the social side of pair-programming, a willingness to share 
thoughts, communicate with each-other, etc. Thereafter to adapt to the 
'remote' wrinkle. We haven't reached the point of being able to explore 
such factors.

Have greatly appreciated the interest of one of their principals. Sent 
them feedback, with observations, suggestions, and questions. Pending 
response, it is likely that I will 'drop' that option. In the final 
analysis, I don't think PA a tool for "pair programming"; particularly 
not when compared with (say) AWS Cloud9 which offers a "chat" panel, 
dynamic editing, and the ability to "swap". Whilst PA's console sessions 
appear auto-magically on both machines, editor sessions are not shared 
dynamically (require manual intervention/update requests). That said, in 
no way detracts from PythonAnywhere's primary objective of delivering 
cloud-based Python dev and prod environments.

A disappointing first-attempt. As long as (at least) two people are 
interested, it's worth investing further time and efforts...
Regards =dn