Home > Point2 - Technical > Test Driven Development with a Widescreen Monitor

Test Driven Development with a Widescreen Monitor

December 9, 2009

My Point2 workstation recently received a monitor upgrade; the old pair had had served me faithfully for many years, but they were worn out. So I am now the proud user of a pair of shiny new widescreen monitors.

The new monitors are much nicer than the previous monitors, and they are also a much higher resolution (1920 x 1080 vs 960 x 1280). Using them is a very enjoyable experience, but at first it seemed like the widescreen aspect ratio was wasting a lot of horizontal space:

Before: my widescreen monitor with a single file open

Before: my widescreen monitor with a single file open

Then a few days ago, in the middle of a pairing session, I discovered IntelliJ’s split screen feature. In my opinion, the combination of a wide screen monitor and split screen is a killer feature for TDD. If you assign your test code in one pane, and your production code to another pane, you can see your test and production code at the same time:

After: my widescreen with two files open simultaneously

To activate split screen choose “Split Vertically” from the Window menu, or right click on a document tab and choose “Split Vertically”.

IntelliJ works very nicely with this split screen configuration; intentions, “Go To Declaration”, and refactoring shortcuts jump nicely to the appropriate screen. Being able to read test and production code at the same time without clicking a button is especially valuable when pairing, as each half of the pair can be reading a different file. One important caveat: this only works correctly if each file is only open in one pane, and IntelliJ doesn’t enforce that for you.

Some of you might wonder what the second monitor is used for, and the answer is pair programming. We pair program all the time at Point2, so I run the two monitors as mirrors. I’ve also added an extra keyboard and mouse, and the combination allows each member of the pair to see exactly what’s going without craning their necks or stretching. It’s a really nice feature for a pairing station.

My "Pairing Station" - a pair friendly workstation

My pair-friendly workstation. My keyboard and trackball are on the left, and the developer pairing with me has their own keyboard, mouse, and monitor on the right. Either of us can drive without any inconvenience.

By: Sean Reilly

%d bloggers like this: