There are various methods to improve an existing code. It can be refactoring code, performing tests, validating adherence to design patterns, code review, and others. Code Review is one among the others that are always in a software engineering team. Without a proper code review, you can not achieve better code quality.
It is an essential practice in software engineering that helps identify and correct code defects. This eventually leads to better code quality and also improves collaboration among the team members. Finding proper techniques and methods to do code reviews takes time. But you can be open and try different ways in your workflow to see what suits the best.
Today, we are going to look into some of the techniques that can help Senior developers/testers in reviewing code. These techniques can also be used in reviewing open-source code as a maintainer.
Now, let’s get started.
First things first, you should know the goal of the code review. It can vary depending on the requirement and code base. Understanding the purpose and will lead to the approach that you will take to do the code review. There can be various goals, such as identifying bugs, improving code quality, enforcing coding standards, or enhancing maintainability. Most of the purpose of the code review revolves around these.
These will definitely give a clear idea about the path/standards to follow while doing the code review.
Breaking down the large codebase into small sections of code for review. As it will be easier to review and understand small chunks of code rather than review the large codebase all at once. This will help you in focusing on a specific area and will help you in providing better suggestions to the developers. In this way, you will not complicate the process of code review by taking note of many things at once.
Some maintainers do also have a particular number of lines of code to review. They mostly complete one session of code review around that line. You can also have such a fixed number of lines to check in one code review session.
You can create your own checklist that you can look into while doing a code review. This checklist should contain common issues or best practices that you need to check during a code review. This will help you by not miss anything that might get commonly ignored. It can be your first thing to do during code review. So that code at least passed through that test.
You can add some known common issues and something that the specific code base required the most. You can add the following to your checklist if you want:
- Naming Conventions
- Performance Optimization
- Proper Comments and Documentation
- Error Handling
- Security Measures
Code review is not a one-way process where developers write code and maintainers find bugs and errors. It is a collaboration between both the parties involved. Allow the author to explain their reasoning behind certain design choices or code implementation. This exchange of ideas can lead to better solutions and shared knowledge.
Sharing knowledge and reasoning between the code implementation and bugs will help in better understanding the code reviewers. It will also help the developers to understand how the review can elevate the code quality.
While providing feedback, be specific and explain the reason behind your suggestion and feedback. Don’t provide generic comments such as “This is bad code”, “This will not work”, “You should change” or any other comments. Provide specific comments on the code. So that the developers can understand and work on it.
Make sure that you also provide a solution to the problem. This will help in the exchange of views between you and the developer. Also, make sure when you provide feedback you should sound like supportive and motivating to the developer. Otherwise, it will create a bad environment for the developers.
Managing the time for the project is a crucial part. So, you should set realistic expectations for the code review process in terms of timelines. Don’t delay the code review to the end. Do code review in parallel to the development. So that, there will not be any time bound in reviewing the code. Don’t rush through the review process either. Otherwise, it will be lacking in the code review quality. Find a perfect balance between the both that suits the project timeline.
You should provide a detailed review and scope of the changes while giving feedback. This will give a proper idea to the developer about the issue. Bad reviews sometimes create confusion and need more clarification which will eventually waste time in finding the understanding between the developer and maintainer.
Without any doubt, code review is an essential part of the development cycle. Without this, there will be a lot of bad code and bugs that might get unnoticed. Eventually, it will be pushed into production. This will cause more problems. That’s why Code Review can not be ignored. In this article, I have tried to give you some techniques/methods that you can integrate into your workflow for better code review. This technique can be smoothly integrated into your workflow. This will cost you less time and better results in code review.
I hope this article provided you with better ideas for code review. Thanks for reading the article.