IntelliJ IDEA / Android Studio Tricks: “Presentation Assistant” plugin

One of my great passions related to programming is “Pair programming” or in its group version “Mob programming”. I have been fascinating by Extreme Programming for a long time and I strongly believe in its effectiveness.

However something that often added friction while practicing PP was my extensive use of keyboard shortcuts. It’s a personal preference, of course, part of the extremely creative work we do every day, but I had a few episode over the years where my coding partner got lost after one of my keyboard shenanigans.

Nothing major: they ask

“WTF happened to the code!?”

I tell them something like

“Oh yeah, I used CMD+Ctrl+Alt+W+T+F and I changed the code like this”.

There are times when things don’t go that smoothly though. For instance, when you are pairing with an introvert, or the Junior+Introvert combo and the person is not gonna ask you anything. You think that everything is fine, but it’s not. You are creating a knowledge and communication gap that gets wider and wider the more shortcuts you use.

The solution

In the last few years my focus as a Senior Developer has been bridging this type of gap among team members, to build a better team spirit, effectively mentoring junior developers and empowering them to reach their full potential.

Bridging means that when I do something unfamiliar, unorthodox, advanced or fancy, I take a moment to explain it, even if I risk to sound patronising. I take the risk because I believe that if I expose my true caring, flawed self and I communicate with empathy, you will probably see that I mean good and that I’m not trying to sound smart. If you worked with me for more than 5 minutes you know that I’m not smart at all 😂 I know a few things and I don’t know a shit ton of other things. Something that I know though are IntelliJ Idea and Android Studio shortcuts and I found a way to communicate these shortcuts to my coding partner as I code using a plugin:

Presentation Assistant by Nikolay Chashnikov

As any other plugin, it’s one search away from installation:

Once you have installed the plugin, every IDE shortcut will trigger a toast message at the bottom of the screen showing what key combination you used to trigger the action:

Navigating to Preferences and searching for “Presentation Assistant“, you can customise the message in a few ways:

and this makes things way smoother when I pair with a colleague that is not using a Mac.

Conclusion

If you are public speaker live coding in front of an audience, or recording a screencast or a Pair Programmer working with a colleague over Google Meet, you can’t miss this plugin!

Little things like this eventually add up and contribute to make you a better developer and somebody that people like to work with 😉