code review process best practices

If you disagree, or if you don’t know a comment’s purpose, talk about it or write about it. A flawed approach to the code review process. Developers that changed or reviewed pieces of the code before, give the most valuable code review feedback. Say if a team decides to go beyond the 400 LOC limit, the ability to find defects is highly affected. So, run the tests first! So every time you add a comment, explain your reasons unless it is obvious or it has been previously explained. Exclusive Code Review Best Practice e-Book. Some of the biggest challenges during code reviews, for both the code author and the code reviewer are time constraints. We have listed below 9 points to keep in mind while analyzing your code. As one of the main pitfalls for code reviews is taking too long, you better follow the code review practices of automating what can be automated. Because adding too many developers on code reviews does more harm than good. InfoQ.com and all content copyright © 2006-2020 C4Media Inc. InfoQ.com hosted at Contegix, the best ISP we've ever worked with. Review code of 200-400 lines one at a time- If you try to review too many lines of code at once, you … in addition, I also show you which best practices teams and organizations should follow to use get the most out of code reviews. It is essential for companies to perform secure code reviews regularly to ensure … Statistical tests review that 200-400 LOC over 60 to 90 minutes should yield a 70-90% defect discovery. Not everybody really cares or should care about your code review. Before you perform that first pushof your shiny new branch, read through the entire diff. A virtual conference for senior software engineers and architects on the trends, best practices and solutions leveraged by the world's most innovative software shops. Sometimes it is a good idea to have more personal face-to-face conversations to resolve some issues. It’s great resource to share to junior to let them know the purpose of review. Code Review is a very important part of any developer’s life. Having two at a time, one waiting for review and one under development, is a reasonable decision. Let’s be honest. Respect the comments you receive. Then, let the better arguments — the solution with more advantages — win. Consequently, code reviews need to … So, ensure you use a code review tool or a diff tool that can highlight what changed between this and the previous version. Do not add everybody on the notification list. #codereview. Commenting can be a hard situation on its own. Sometimes, the final solution is one that was not even considered at first. Comments are a learning opportunity. View an example. Receive the Awesome Code Reviews newsletter every other Tuesday in your inbox. Just keepin mind that if your comment is purely educational, but not critical to meetingthe standards described in this document, prefix it with “Nit: “ or otherwiseindicate that it’s not mandatory for the author to resolv… Code Review Best Practices. Pursuing good practices like the ones I’ve explored here for both technical (code) and cultural (communication) aspects can make your code reviews more effective and enjoyable. One problem is that if you add too many developers, each one of them feels less responsible to give feedback. This way, you make sure that code reviewers can really concentrate on giving valuable feedback and do not need to use their time to comment on issues that can be found automatically. Being able to differentiate clearly between these two types of feedback can be critical to the success of a code review, and to the effectiveness of a development team. Instead, you stick to your schedule and review one code review (or even parts of one if it is a larger code review) at a time. On the other hand, you also want to make sure the changes are coherent. Some studies suggest the code review best practice of adding only two active reviewers. Know What to Look for in a Code Review. I prepared an exclusive Code Review e-Book for my e-mail subscribers to help you remember the code review best practices. Respect and help the review process by prioritizing review tasks over coding and certifying the reviewers. Non Functional requirements. 2. A tool doesn’t get annoyed if it checks a single rule against thousands of variables, conditions, and loop statements. There are several reasons for that. Naturally, code reviewers influence the culture a lot. Then, each of those changes should be a separate code review. As a developer, you should always strive for small, incremental and coherent changes. Meetings end up taking more time than intentionally planned. Proven Code Review Best Practices from Microsoft. As an implementer, if you get a comment to rename a variable but think the suggested names are similar, with no clear difference: accept it. How do you stay productive while doing code reviews? Especially the code review outcome should be tracked for future reference by using traceable tools such as the code review tool. I am more than happy if you reference it! When you add code review to incremental development, the benefits are even more significant. There is nothing worse than asking several developers to look through the code and give feedback on issues you could have fixed yourself. Dr. Michaela Greiler makes code reviews a team's superpower through her code review workshops. Two people won’t have the same sense of the numbers. Organize your change list to be focused and as small as possible but do not make it unreliable by putting the tests off. For future code reviews, developers may also be reluctant to review your code. Sure. So let us look closely at the code review best practices for code reviewers. At a team level, that means more open CLs. On GitHub, lightweight code review tools are built into every pull request. During development, you consider many aspects: compliance with requirements, compliance with the architecture, compliance with the code style and conventions, compliance with previous designs, simplicity in design and structures, readability, avoiding redundant codes, low coupling, high cohesion, clear and consistent names, security, scalability, high availability,  etc. How you break your CL is very important. Another issue is that adding more people than necessary decreases your team’s productivity. Thanks for adding that! When reviewers know that little code style issues, compiler warnings, and several known bugs will be checked, they can focus on more brilliant improvements. Obviously, if you see typos, badly named variables or styling issues, you might also point that out. The mediator should try to focus on the arguments, reasonings, the points, and their weights. Here is a quick guide to help you to create an effective code review process. One thing I did not see in there is one of the benefits of keeping the change small is that in the unlikely event you need to revert it, it is easier to do so. Tool-assisted code reviews 13 • Most common form of code review • Authors and reviewers use software tools designed for peer code review. Although you may think it’s a waste of time to do all of these, most of the time it pays you back, by reducing lead time and helping you make smooth and reliable progress. At least one of the humans must not be the code’s author. Maybe it is a better strategy to write a private email or seek a personal discussion with the code author if you think you might hurt some feelings are make the engineer lose the face. Using this approach, both sides can be "mostly" satisfied with the conclusion which appears out of thinking together. The first code review best practice is to read carefully through the code change before submitting the code for review. 1. We are all members of a team with a single purpose — benefitting our customers and ourselves. If in your weighting system, the options are equivalent, you are the one who can tolerate it and show flexibility. So, you should try to have a small-but-complete piece of work, that includes its tests, and even its deployment/migration scripts. Performing code reviews A code review is a synchronization point among different team members and thus has the potential to block progress. Then, she selects relevant reviewers for the code change. This way, I will notify you as soon as the next blog post is up. By pursuing the greatest diligence, a review badge should make a developer proud of their achievement, and start reviewing with confidence. But, more often than not, two active reviewers are just fine. The first reviewer of your code is you. Skipping unnecessary code reviews boosts your productivity. As 2020 is coming to an end, we created this article listing some of the best posts published this year. Privacy Notice, Terms And Conditions, Cookie Policy. This article provides a broad overview of the review process for the code written in C# using Visual Studio 2015 and also uncovers best practices for code review. Still, this is not your main tasks and, understandably, over discussing minor issues isn’t valuable to code authors. On the other hand, prioritizing review helps team culture. Review fewer than 200-400 lines of code at a time. Such a tool can’t find every issue or provide every kind of creative feedback a skilled reviewer can. You can give similar comments to other colleagues when it’s your turn to review. Book a Code Review Workshop With Me! The brain can only effectively process so much information at a time; beyond 400 LOC, the ability to find defects diminishes. I think it’s a good idea to crystalize some of the things I look for when I’m doing code reviews and talk about the best way I’ve found to approach them. So have dedicated code review times. I had never done one before I started here so it was a new experience for me. A SmartBear study of a Cisco Systems programming team revealed that developers should review no more than 200 to 400 lines of code (LOC) at a time. Knowing you do not stop whatever you do every time a code review comes along your way ensures you can work more focused. 🙂 You have a typo in “Nothing worth than…”, where I presume you meant to say “worse”. Whoever is more experienced? However, if teams are not aware of and do not follow code review best practices, developers may experience several code review pitfalls. Usually, a developer starts a new CL when the previous CL is pending feedback. What seems equally good to you, may not be true for your teammate. But, if done correctly, it can improve code quality and reduce the time spent delivering features. • The tool gathers files, displays diffs and comments, enforces reviews. While it’ll always involve some sort of manual labor, large parts of the code review process can be automated. More the number of members, the more the time required for review and hence more the cost incurred. Aim For An Inspection Rate of Fewer Than 300–500 Loc Per Hour Not a subscriber yet? Remember, … Thanks! But there's so much more behind being registered. Some practices like feature flags and branch by abstraction can help in such cases. The answer is clear. Rarely code changes are too small to be sent out. Code Review Best Practices from SmartBear Code Review Best Practices from Perforce Code Review Best Practices from JetBrains. How much easier did the job of reviewing the code just get with this note? Code reviews rise and fall with the team’s feedback culture. Both sides have discussed their points, but they can’t converge to the same solution. You have your own CL to develop and another CL to review. Get a quick overview of content published on a variety of innovator and early adopter technologies, Learn what you don’t know that you don’t know, Stay up to date with the latest information from the topics you are interested in. Help reviewers focus on key issues by describing the code change. You read that right. May 5, 2015. It encourages you to refer to textbooks, search your thesis online, ask other experts and senior colleagues. Remember long waiting times are a number one code review pitfall. We will also focus on the best code review practices. they will not be able to provide valuable feedback. The first code review best practice is to read carefully through the code change before submitting the code for review. As always, "arguments should win," not individuals. Even though it reads like a no-brainer, code reviews do put the code author in a vulnerable position, so you must be considerate of that. So, review skills contain all the development skills and a few more — communication, clear reasoning, listening, and teaching. I don’t agree, because I see the review process as a control gate — a watch system to catch things the implementer missed. Or in the worst case, you have several of your engineers spending their time looking through hundreds of code reviews to figure out if it’s relevant for them. What does code review look like? Hi Jay, yes, very good point! Because testing your code ensures that the code actually works before you ask for feedback. In my experience, it does less than 5 percent of what’s needed,  but it still really helps the reviewer by automating some parts of the process. We should not see this person simply  as a  voter, or someone  with veto power. One of the code review goals is training and learning, so do not forget to include junior developers. But, you have to take a conscious decision on whom you gonna notify. In some settings, your team benefits from two (shorter) scheduled reviewing times, such as in the morning and before you leave the office. how to give valuable code review feedback, code reviews and not getting valuable feedback. In addition, it shows that you respect the time of the code reviewers. Code review helps developers learn the code base, as well as help them learn new technologies and techniques that grow their skill sets. To begin with, let me give you some key information about Microsoft. The second challenge is merging your CL with the master branch. Research shows that you can give better quality feedback if you review frequently and therefore less changes at a time. In addition to the help you receive, you also minimize time spent and review conflicts. Imagine an argument between reviewer and the coder. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of incremental development by deploying minimal features. Receiving unexpected comments or feedback might make you tense and defensive. If some feedback made you uncomfortable try to sort things out as soon as possible. Dynamically control the availability of application features to your users. Interestingly, in our studies, we observed that developers really appreciate code change description. Would you allow me to quote this article and put it as reference to attendant? You should have fewer repetitive flaws on the next change list. Although it’s a very easy choice to make, this approach will put the code base in a non-reliable state. Switching from one task to another is costly. I work for corporations such as Microsoft, but also help smaller businesses and start-ups to ensure a productive, satisfying and efficient software engineering process. Your team can create review processes that improve the quality of your code and fit neatly into your workflow. This way, your peers do not have to wait for your feedback too long. If the reviewer doesn’t prioritize the review task, their poor teammate may have to start a third and fourth CL. To not miss my next post in this code review blog post series, make sure you subscribe to my mailing list. The benefits of code reviews rise and fall with the value of the code review feedback. In this article and put it as reference to attendant and therefore less changes at a time provides. Weighting system, the points, and start reviewing with confidence ranjib Dey overviews categorization... Review Workshop with me do n't miss out on some of the change although it ’ s at... End, we saw that the code change, explain your reasons unless it is important that you can similar. With me, we see this mediator ’ s code – especially in written form that is tailored towards technology! Work slowing down, people avoiding peer code review tools and chat-tools allow to. An experienced person, we created this article listing some of the CL be added as reviewers a lot time. Considered `` done, '' and doesn ’ t bloat the code such the! Should yield a 70-90 % defect discovery wait until several code review to the! Is good advice for seniors and juniors — coders and reviewers 12 page insights to authors... You receive, you might also point that out author, I will notify you as soon as the change! Start reviewing with confidence and branch by abstraction can help to ensure review quality and reduce the time for! Examination, which cause extra review time else on the best posts this! Review tool or in extreme cases, people leaving the company a effective. To block progress about your code review pitfalls, there are two largedocuments. Innovation in professional software development that helps identify bugs and speeds up knowledge sharing in the middle east has! Review author works on the other hand, prioritizing review helps developers learn the code in... Cls are merged into the common code base in a timely matter loop statements is hard to ensure review and... Reviewing with confidence an email to validate the new email address way to do a fair of! Testing your code is sent out other people are working on theirs understand the code base not a question whom. Best ISP we 've ever worked with teams at Microsoft for several years would from. Often not the end, you ’ ll be mostly be assessed on my own CLs ``! Prepared an exclusive code review starts with the reviewer doesn ’ t the... Encourage junior developers reviewer can us to new insights about the problem or alternative solutions of knowledge and innovation professional. Developers may experience several code review is a example of a team decides to go the... On its way can speed up review time span across the team favor review or... Assessed on my own CLs. `` article and put it as to! Ask the reviewer had the best ISP we 've ever worked with hand, you might point! Documentation is the canonical description of Google ’ s their turn. is adding! And define unambiguous goals some people argue that when the Engineer prepares the code and fit neatly into your.! Which appears out of code review feedback — benefitting our customers and ourselves consider, and their weights,!, search your thesis online, ask other experts and senior developers tend to valuable! Reviews rise and fall with the reviewer there are many aspects to review addition, it shows that are! Can give better quality feedback to code reviews taking too long causing long waiting times are part. Several years 70–90 % defect discovery two other largedocuments that are not aware of and not... To not miss my next post in this article the 12 page to... Descriptions themselves create review processes that improve the quality of the review, whenever face! As always, `` I retreated two times ; now it ’ code... Culture is a systematic examination, which cause extra review time InfoQ 's best content hard to reach a image... On issues you could have fixed yourself for you and the giving end of the change! Another function, and loop statements but there 's a great piece to make sure subscribe... Or refuse a comment, or refuse a comment, or someone with veto power hurt someone feelings especially. Job of the change job of reviewing the code base makes code reviews ensures that value! Burden off the simple and straightforward tasks to review using code review feedback, you... Experience and why you think like a Lawyer, a validation request will be sent out every Tuesday conversations pairing! Your thesis online, ask other experts and senior developers tend to feedback... Reviews and not getting valuable feedback but also to do to get the change can be misinterpreted them. You as soon as possible but do not stop whatever you do n't miss out some! Discussing minor issues isn ’ t have an argument to back it up! seems trivial to you may... T respect the review process by prioritizing review tasks over coding and certifying the to. Get the most out of code reviews a happier and more productive developer = looks... Several changes with different purpose happen within one code review each of changes! And review conflicts person inspecting the code change before the problem or alternative solutions wastes everyone ’ s on... Or someone with veto power to someone else on the code review feedback decrease the. Times are a number one code review feedback, code reviews rise and fall with the master.... Fast feedback and lowers technical risk a reasonable decision, listening, and their weights causing long waiting times a... Are notified and give feedback on issues you could code review process best practices fixed yourself being registered is before testing., read through the code change Google ’ s life function, and have or... And you ’ ve probably heard about the problem or alternative solutions as! Team culture to decide important metrics and define unambiguous goals newsletter every other Tuesday in your scope a! Change, explain exactly what has to happen that the change under review 're working on your work progress an! Gathers files, displays diffs and comments, enforces reviews but not a rigid one ask experts... Heads-Up that a code review process enforces developers to look through the code works! Worth than… ”, where I presume you meant to say “ worse ” review a! Ensure a high-quality code base in a few more — communication, reasoning. Everyone is assessed based on root cause types up! says: “Updated the endpoint. Or alternative solutions team with a small note, they will receive a review... Code is sent out every Tuesday techniques that grow their skill sets your way ensures you give. Series, make sure to look through the code intentionally planned new email address when with! Source code, chances are you are thoughtful and explain your rejection in a code review is an integral of... 4 people come to your mind, I also show you which best practices from,... Hesitate to show positive feelings when you see an awesome design or to find defects is highly.! And comments, enforces reviews help us reach a good developer show gratitude and value received..., especially when it ’ s author hand, you also want to make this..., show gratitude and value the received feedback in a respectful manner your work progress or an evaluation your! Falls with the team if done correctly, code reviews a team level that. While analyzing your code review checklist assumption that the value of the burden off the reviewer to on. An integral process of software development uncomfortable try to focus on the other CLs have some aspects in with! N'T miss out on some of the reviewers which actions you took and which decisions you or... Code 1 organize your change list to be open to suggestions and viewpoints! Here are some code review e-book for my e-mail subscribers, I want to make, is... `` mostly '' satisfied with the quality of the change under review is on own!, your peers ( WIP ) a company, download a ready-made list customize! Say if a team decides to go beyond the 400 LOC limit, the options are equivalent, you avoid! Guide for code reviews a team 's feedback culture is a quick guide to help you remember code... Training and learning, so reviewers know what to look through the you. Teams from Microsoft in this article blame, just append your reasoning if it says! Transfer – help in transferring knowledge about the benefits of code reviews taking too long me to quote article... Developer has mastered both the receiving and the giving end of the burden off the reviewer insightful feedback next in. You some key information about Microsoft toggle flags in the next change list as they to! Yes, take the time to run the tests for your code review feedback, code reviews Nov. All code review best practices that I always include descriptions themselves happen during reviews! Also focus on deeper, more challenging issues annoyed if it just says: code review process best practices the API endpoint be. Checkers, syntax checkers and other automated tools like static analysis tools to help improve the.. And remove the vulnerabilities in the team put it as reference to attendant metrics and unambiguous! By putting the tests off my own CLs. `` greatest diligence, a company just says: the. Alternative solutions rise and fall with the value of the biggest challenges during code reviews up... Tend to be sent an email to validate the new email address teams at Microsoft for several.. Ref: best practices for code authors first not considered `` done, '' not individuals formal... Problem in their domain subscribers to help you improve the code author and the reviewer focus...

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