You are a software developer who loves to be the architect of complex codes and create various innovations. Most of the time you might have the code structure in your mind but it is when you test the code, you realize the shortcomings and the bugs present in it. It is a healthy practice to keep reviewing and testing codes from different angles to better understand how to make it error-free. In various IT and software industries, thousands of lines of code are created, fixed, and streamlined every day to cater to customer needs. The ritual of code review is a must to preserve the objective of the program and improve the quality of services offered to the clients. This article will shed light on the code review best practices and its importance.
Why Are Code Reviews Needed And Why So Many Top Tech Companies Use Them?
Major IT companies and top software development organizations cater to various technical requirements of their clients. These technical requirements are fulfilled through thousands of lines of codes that help in the functioning of various services. Any glitch in the code can cost the client a lot of money. Most importantly, IT and tech companies will incur huge expenditure for code fixes.
This is why code reviews are introduced to avoid any such situations. Quality Assurance is a very important factor in any business. The code needs to pass through acceptance criteria to see if it fulfills the requirements of the clients but that is not enough. The companies have to walk the extra mile and conduct code reviews to test the program from all possible angles.
Code review involves a thorough check of the program structure by various software developers and Quality Assurance professionals. The code review team follows a set of industry protocols to check every line of the program and find out the presence of bugs, structural flaws, or basic code hygiene adherence. The original code developer might have had a specific vision while constructing the code that would give a particular result. The code review team views the code objectively and helps in providing suggestions and corrections.
Here are some of the advantages of code review:
- Helps catch costly bugs that would be detrimental if they made their way into a production system.
- It reduces the wastage of time and money by streamlining the code and improving the program structure. Just imagine finding a code glitch after the service would have been launched publicly! The client company would experience loss of face. Also, a huge amount of time and money will have to be spent on fixing the code when it is in the public domain.
- Code review offers huge scope for peer learning. A lot of brainstorming goes behind testing and evaluating the program from scratch. This aids in opening up robust communication channels between the software specialists and the junior coders. It provides a feedback loop and a way to mentor younger developers in the teams coding practices.
- Code review helps in increasing the knowledge of the team. The review team will take extra care to understand the perspective of the original developer and spend more time to know the product well. So not only is the reviewer able to make the changes objectively, he or she is gaining a lot more insight into the product.
- Code review helps in improving the quality of service provided to the client. The idea of code review motivates both the original developer and the reviewer. The original developer takes extra care to craft an error-free code and the review team minutely evaluates with a keen eye to spot errors. This improves the quality of the code and the service that goes to the clients.
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
A code undergoes various phases during the software development life cycle. Starting from formulating functional requirement draft to creating a high-level design document, and finally do a code review; these exercises should be completed during various stages of SDLC.
- Functional Requirement Draft
This draft consists of all the client requirements that are to be fulfilled by the software developers. The program architects, testers, and reviewers find out the static defects present in the structure. These defects and other queries raised by the programmers are resolved by Business Analysts.
- Design Documentation
The software programmer crafts this document which consists of the program structure. The high-level design documents are forwarded to the test teams who look into the technicality and feasibility of the structure.
- Code Review
Finally, the program is sent for a code review where the quality assurance professionals and software developers start assessing the code on the basis of certain parameters.
Parameters of Assessment During Code Review
The review team leaves no stone unturned to examine the code line by line. There are certain parameters that are taken into consideration while reviewing:
- Whether the code is plagiarised
- Whether the industrial coding standards have been followed
- Whether the code is too complex
- Whether the process of debugging or root cause analysis can be done easily
Best Code Review Processes
You must have got an idea about the importance of code review and the various parameters that are taken into consideration while reviewing the program. This segment will guide you about code review best practices that will help in streamlining the process.
- Establish a routine for doing code reviews and responding to code review feedback
Have a proper schedule for doing the code reviews. Try not to review more than 400 lines at a time. Also, ensure that you divide the code into segments and not wrack your mind behind it for more than an hour. You wouldn’t want to suffer from coding fatigue that could block your mind. Hence, it is essential to set a routine and respond accordingly to review feedbacks.
- Don’t continually push new code reviews while there are other code reviews in the process.
Overburdening the review team with new codes while the existing review is still going on is a big no. It takes time to understand the product and its structure. You wouldn’t want to disturb that flow by piling some other new code reviews.
- Thoroughly read the code to check for bugs, errors, and hard to understand code that would be difficult to maintain.
It is advisable to break the code into segments of 400 lines for easy reviewing and testing. It is important that the coding should be done in a simple language that can be maintained well.
- Does the code follow your teams coding guidelines, commented thoroughly, and has sufficient unit test coverage
Comments are very important to indicate the functionality of the code snippet. It helps the other programmers to understand what work will be performed by various segments, classes, or functions. Make sure that the hygiene of the code is maintained.
- Does the code improve the overall code base or is it additional code spaghetti.
Code spaghetti can give a harrowing time to the reviewers in decoding the complexities. Care should be taken to simplify the coding as much as possible so that in future even if the original developer is not available, other software professionals can understand the code and make the required changes.
The aim of this article is to make you understand the importance of program reviews that helps to avoid costly bugs. So whenever you are tasked with evaluating any program structure, you now have a fair idea about the code review best practices.