Best practices for doing a code review.

Feb 12, 2023 |
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A code review is a process in which developers review and evaluate code written by their peers to ensure that it meets established standards and best practices. The goal of a code review is to identify and fix any issues or bugs in the code, improve the overall quality of the codebase, and ensure that the code adheres to the team’s conventions and guidelines. Code reviews can be done through manual inspection of the code, automated tools, or a combination of both. They are an essential part of the software development process and can help to catch potential issues early in the development cycle, making them easier and cheaper to fix. Code reviews are also a great way to share knowledge and expertise within a team, and to encourage collaboration and learning.

  • Always start the review with positive feedback. This will help the author feel good about their work and make them more receptive to criticism later on in the process.
  • Make sure everyone understands what’s being reviewed before starting the review process so you avoid duplicating work or overlooking something important during your review. If multiple people are reviewing a piece of code together, ensure that everyone has access to all relevant documents before beginning (such as requirements documents).
  • Be respectful when giving feedback; don’t assume anything about an author’s abilities or intentions when providing criticism–just focus on what needs improvement without making assumptions about why those issues exist in the first place (this will help avoid arguments later on).
  • Be specific when providing feedback; if possible, provide examples from other projects or past experiences where similar problems have occurred so authors can learn from these mistakes rather than repeat them over again!

We’ve been focusing on code review and how it can help us build software better. We looked at why code reviews have become the norm but also talked about the difficulties in actually doing them. Today, we’ll put all those pieces together to talk about best practices for doing code reviews.

The importance of code review

Code reviews are a critical part of the software development process. They help ensure that code is written correctly and does what it’s supposed to do, which can save time and money in the long run.

Code reviews should be done by more than one person, and ideally by people who are not familiar with the code being reviewed. This helps catch mistakes that might not be obvious to someone working on the same project for weeks or months.

Code reviews need to be done regularly–at least once per week–and should be scheduled in advance so everyone knows when they’re happening. It’s also important that everyone involved in code reviews takes their job seriously and keeps an open mind during the review process so that all parties feel heard and understood!

The steps of code reviews

Conducting a code review is a process that involves reviewing code written by others to ensure that it meets established standards and best practices. Here are the steps to conduct a code review:

  • Set up the review: Before starting the review, make sure that you have a clear process in place. This should include guidelines for how code should be submitted for review, who is responsible for reviewing it, and what the expectations are for the review process.
  • Prepare for the review: Before reviewing the code, make sure that you understand the requirements and design of the code you will be reviewing. This will help you to better understand the code and identify any potential issues.
  • Review the code: Use a systematic approach to review the code. This can include reviewing the code line by line, running automated tools to check for issues, and testing the code to make sure it works as expected.
  • Provide feedback: As you review the code, make sure to provide specific, constructive feedback. Instead of just saying “this code is bad,” provide specific examples of what can be improved and how.
  • Collaborate: Encourage the coder to ask questions and discuss any issues that come up during the review process. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the code is of the highest quality.
  • Document: Keep a record of the feedback provided, issues found, and any action taken. This will help to ensure that the review process is efficient and effective.
  • Close the review: Once the review is complete, make sure that any issues identified during the review are resolved and that the code meets established standards and best practices.
  • Follow-up: Follow up with the coder to ensure that the issues identified during the review have been resolved and that the code is working as expected.

It is important to keep in mind that the code review process should be efficient and effective, but also respectful and collaborative. The goal is to improve the codebase, not to blame the coder, and the review process should be seen as an opportunity for growth, learning, and collaboration.

Maintaining a checklist

You can ensure your code consistency by using a review checklist. This way, you will know that nothing is missed as you assess code using the same standards. The list needs to be updated as your team’s experience increases.

Here’s an example of how your code checklist could look like:

What to have in mind while reviewing a code

When reviewing code, there are several things that you should look for to ensure that it meets established standards and best practices. Here are some of the key things to look for while code reviewing:

  1. Code quality: Look for clean, well-organized, and easy-to-read code. The code should be readable and maintainable and should follow established coding standards and conventions.
  2. Functionality: Check that the code meets the requirements and that it functions as expected. Test the code to make sure it works as intended, and verify that it does not contain any logic errors.
  3. Security: Check for potential security issues, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, or cross-site request forgery. Make sure that the code adheres to established security best practices.
  4. Performance: Check for potential performance issues, such as inefficient algorithms or poor memory management. Make sure that the code is optimized for performance and that it does not introduce any bottlenecks.
  5. Scalability: Check that the code is designed to scale and can handle an increase in traffic or data. It should be able to handle the expected load and not crash or become unresponsive.
  6. Reusability: Check that the code is written in a way that it can be reused in other parts of the application. Make sure that it adheres to solid principles of Object-Oriented Design.
  7. Compliance: Check that the code adheres to any industry-specific regulations or standards that apply to the application.
  8. Comments: Check that the code is well-documented and that comments are included where necessary. It should be easy to understand the intent and purpose of the code, even if the coder is not available.
  9. Error handling: Verify that the code handles error conditions in an appropriate manner, such as throwing exceptions when necessary, and providing useful error messages.
  10. Code coverage: Check that the code has adequate test coverage and that the tests have been written with good practices, such as testing boundary conditions and error conditions.

Best practices for code reviews

Code reviews are an essential part of any software development process. They help to ensure that code is of high quality, maintainable, and adheres to established standards and best practices. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best practices for doing code reviews.

Have a clear process in place
Before you begin reviewing code, it’s important to have a clear process in place. This should include guidelines for how code should be submitted for review, who is responsible for reviewing it, and what the expectations are for the review process. Having a clear process in place will help to ensure that code reviews are efficient and effective.

Be objective
When reviewing code, it’s important to be objective. Don’t let your personal preferences or biases influence your review. Instead, focus on the code itself and whether or not it meets the established standards and best practices.

Focus on the code, not the coder
Code reviews are not an opportunity to critique the coder, but the code they wrote. It is important to remember that code reviews are not personal, but rather a way to improve the quality of the codebase.

Review early and often
The earlier a problem is caught in the development process, the cheaper it is to fix. This is why it’s important to review code as early and often as possible. This will help to catch potential issues before they become bigger problems down the road.

Use automated tools
Automated tools can be a great way to help with code reviews. These tools can check for things like code style, adherence to established standards, and potential security issues. They can also help to automate some of the more tedious parts of the review process, freeing up time for more important tasks.

Be specific
When providing feedback on code, it’s important to be specific. Instead of just saying “this code is bad,” provide specific examples of what can be improved and how. This will help the coder to understand what needs to be fixed and will make the review process more efficient.

Be respectful
Code reviews can be a sensitive topic, and it’s important to be respectful of the coder’s work. Avoid using negative or critical language and instead focus on providing constructive feedback that will help to improve the code.

Encourage collaboration
Code reviews should be seen as an opportunity for collaboration. Encourage the coder to ask questions and discuss any issues that come up during the review process. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the code is of the highest quality.

In conclusion, code reviews are essential to any software development process. By following these best practices, you can ensure that code reviews are efficient, effective, and beneficial for everyone involved. With a clear strategy, an objective approach, focus on code rather than the coder, early and often review, use of automated tools, specific feedback, a respectful attitude, and encouraging collaboration you can make sure your codebase is of the highest quality and maintainable.

Code challenges

A code challenge review is a way to assess the skill of a programmer. It is also known as a technical interview or coding test.

Code challenges are usually given to applicants for software development jobs, but they can also be used as part of an internship or apprenticeship process. They’re intended to test your ability to write code in the language(s) that you claim to be able to use.

Review standards are, but are not restricted to:

  • The capacity to comprehend the provided specifications,
  • The method for problem-solving,
  • The core architecture and design of the suggested solution,
  • The complexity of the initial setup—it should not be OS-dependent and should work out of the box
  • The choice of technology stack utilized,
  • The caliber of the proposed code

You should always remember that these code challenges are not a competition while doing a candidate code review. You shouldn’t blame a candidate for coming up with a solution that is less remarkable than another applicant’s code that you have already seen.

Conclusion

Overall, code review should be a comprehensive process that checks for all aspects of the code, including functionality, security, performance, scalability, reusability, compliance, documentation, error handling, and test coverage. The review should not be limited to the code itself, but also the design and the requirements it aims to fulfill.

We hope that our guidelines have provided you with a solid framework for conducting a code review. By following these steps and applying them in your practice, we believe that your team and your code will be poised for success in the coming months and years.

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