More Efficient Pair Programming With Datadog CoScreen | Datadog

More efficient pair programming with Datadog CoScreen

Author Thomas Sobolik
Technical Content Writer

Published: March 31, 2023

Pair programming is a well-established practice in agile software development. But it can be difficult in remote settings, as most remote collaboration tools don’t accommodate real-time, spontaneous interactivity among participants’ desktop environments. Datadog CoScreen changes that by combining interactive screen sharing and video conferencing in a way that closely mimics in-person collaboration. By enabling engineering and product teams to simultaneously video chat, share multiple application windows, and seamlessly interact across each other’s desktop environments, CoScreen makes collaborative software engineering and product development fluid and intuitive.

CoScreen meetings allow engineers to pull up and share tools and context from across their desktops, creating a responsive remote collaboration environment that’s ideal for pair programming. In this post, we’ll discuss the new slate of features and improvements in CoScreen’s v5 release, showing you how CoScreen makes it easy to remotely collaborate when writing code, responding to incidents, and running code reviews.

Kick off pair programming and troubleshooting more quickly

CoScreen meetings are persistent, flexible virtual workspaces. For the duration of every CoScreen meeting, participants can share and interact with each other’s windows as though they were on the same desktop. This includes typing, drawing, copying and pasting text, or simply viewing content from any shared application window. By using CoScreen, pair programmers can easily look into and edit each other’s IDEs, command line interfaces, local builds, monitoring tools, and more.

It should be quick and seamless to initiate a pair programming session, so that your teams can deliver releases and remediate issues faster. CoScreen has added a host of features that make it even easier to kick off a CoScreen meeting for pair programming. For example, let’s say you notice a bug during a PR review. You and your team member can quickly start a pair programming CoScreen meeting from Slack, Google Calendar, or your IDE (including VS Code and JetBrains) and immediately start sharing windows as you work on a solution together.

When you need to work together with your teammates in the heat of on-call, it’s important that your collaboration tools are tightly integrated into your incident response workflows. CoScreen integrates with Datadog Incident Management, so you can jump directly from an incident page in Datadog to a CoScreen meeting and get to work on remediation—armed with the context your team has consolidated within the incident timeline.

Pivot directly from a Datadog incident to a new CoScreen meeting

Collaborate smoothly with frictionless window management

Modern development environments are often highly complex, with work distributed across a concert of IDEs, command line tools, monitoring tools, and extended displays. To ensure that your remote pair programming sessions are easy to navigate and highly productive, CoScreen has been enhanced with UI improvements that help participants keep their desktops organized while sharing and viewing multiple application windows at once.

Unlike most other video conferencing apps, CoScreen now enables you to share application windows from all of your desktop monitors simultaneously—and even move shared windows between displays without interrupting the share. This ensures that when debugging in time-sensitive scenarios such as incident response, you won’t have to waste time fiddling with the placement of your app windows to give your partner full visibility into your environment. To further prevent cumbersome desktop reorganizing, you can quickly bring a shared window to the foreground of your desktop with the new “bring to front” button. You can also choose to keep the video chat window pinned to the top of your display, so the video feed and CoScreen menu remain in easy reach.

Bring new shared windows to the front automatically

Now, if you and your team member are pair programming to fix a bug, you can easily review code in your IDEs alongside tools from your test environment, such as command line interfaces, browser instances, and HTTP request tools. At the same time, you can pull up extra information, such as research in your browser or monitoring data from Datadog. CoScreen enables you to keep track of all of this context without getting mired in context switching. Still, as your shared environment gets busier and more layered, the risk of accidentally changing something in a shared window grows. CoScreen’s shared window tab now enables you to toggle write access with a single click, ensuring that you don’t accidentally edit the contents of shared windows as you’re viewing, notating using the drawing tool, or moving them.

Toggle remote access to avoid accidental changes in your collaborators' windows

Accelerate your pair programming with Datadog CoScreen

Datadog CoScreen is a powerful remote collaboration tool that enables DevOps teams to fully synchronize and share their desktop environments to get work done together in real time. With a new host of UI improvements and integrations, it’s never been easier to facilitate pair programming on CoScreen for development, debugging, code reviews, incident response, technical onboarding, and more.

CoScreen is generally available now—download the desktop app to get started. For early access to upcoming features, such as the integration with Datadog Incident Management, submit the signup form. To learn more about CoScreen, see our documentation and follow the latest updates on the CoScreen blog. If you’re brand new to Datadog, sign up for a 14-day to try CoScreen with Datadog today.