Code reviews are an essential part of software development. Check out these pocket-friendly tips and best practices for effective code reviews.
In a software development setup, no person is an island. For a company to launch software successfully, it needs a team of experts working together towards a common goal. In doing so, the success of everyone depends on the reliability of each one. And that is why code reviews are a staple practice.
Guidelines for Effective Code Reviews
Having code reviews in place helps teams ensure their codebase’s quality, reliability, and maintenance. But how do you do it? Let’s dive further. Here are some tips for conducting code review effectively:
#1 Set clear goals and expectations for the code review process.
Each step of the software development lifecycle process has its own significance. This includes having code reviews. Like each development activity, the code review has a goal: to produce clean and understandable code.
As such, it’s important to communicate to team members the goals of code review and the requirements during the process. How can you do this? First, you must establish the standard code style and structure within your team, so it is consistent across each team member.
Then, the team must implement the necessary security protocols needed for development. The team must also identify the points where to apply security. Finally, the team can agree on the parameters the reviewer will cover during code testing.
#2 Use a tool that supports collaboration and commenting.
Code reviews are a part of the collaborative activities within a software development team. As such, you need to use tools that allow your team to implement collaborative practices along the way. Your team will be using tools that allow them to collaborate digitally, especially when working remotely.
Many tools available make it easy for team members to review code and leave comments on specific lines or blocks of code. Some popular options include GitHub, Gerrit, and Phabricator. Using these tools makes it easier for team members to perform effective code reviews collaboratively. Moreover, these tools provide historical dashboards on comments and edits to easily track changes after every review.
#3 Follow a consistent review process.
Establishing a clear and consistent process for code review helps ensure that all team members are on the same page. This practice will also foster a working dynamic of consistently conducting efficient code reviews.
In this part, you need to highlight the specifics of what goes into the actual code review. For example, you might establish guidelines for who should review which types of code and how feedback should be provided. You can also define the allocated time for doing the code reviews and their expected turnaround to streamline the entire process.
#4 Make sure that the code being reviewed is well-written and easy to understand.
As a developer, it is essential to write readable code. This is especially important in working with teams where each one will depend on the other’s code. With your team’s defined coding standards, you need to write code that aligns with it. This makes it easy for the reviewer to check your code and for you to do the same.
It’s much easier to review code that is well-written and easy to understand than code that is poorly written and difficult to follow. So for every software development team, each member should write clear, concise, and well-documented code to make the review process more efficient.
#5 Do not overload code review coverage.
Reviewing code is an intricate process. So, each team member should keep in mind that having a boatload of lines of code to review at a time can be exhausting. When that happens, developers may not be able to catch the nitty gritty and, instead, decrease productivity.
To avoid such a situation, developers should only review a reasonable chunk of code at a time. A study found that developers should process 200-400 lines of code at a time. The brain’s ability to detect defects will waver when it goes beyond the benchmark.
#6 Provide constructive feedback.
Communication is a pivotal element in software development. And in such a high-pressure environment, it’s easy for words to get thrown out loosely. In this case, each reviewer must provide constructive feedback based on objectives and facts.
One must remember that reviewing code is not just about pointing out problems. Doing effective code reviews is also about helping team members improve their skills and grow as developers. When providing feedback, focus on offering constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement rather than just pointing out problems. This would also be a great avenue to discuss solutions and identify areas of improvement.
#7 Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you have questions or concerns about the code being reviewed, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and can help avoid misunderstandings or errors.
In this way, you ensure that there is transparency within the team. Asking questions also helps the project move forward faster since issues are addressed on the spot.
Hire A Software Developer Today
The success of a project lies in the capable hands of talented software developers. And these software developers are also reliable when performing effective code reviews. So, it is a must to invest in software talent that would increase your productivity and quality.
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