Code review plays a crucial part in the process of software development. It helps in identifying coding errors, checking hidden inconsistencies, ensuring the quality of code and checking gaps in the product.
What is a Code Review?
The code review is a process of verifying the source code against standards and goals. It guarantees the code health of an application and varies from team to team as it an approach derived by projects and members that are involved in the development of project. You must be skilled technically to review the code, but you also require soft skills to provide your feedback in a gentle manner after all it is all about feedback.
Standards and Goals
This is the most crucial step before doing a code review. You must have a set standards and goals for your project and organization. You need to decide the important matrices and factors to be followed by members. Ideally, you also must have a common baseline that needs to be considered and practiced for all the projects. This may include but not limited to on how to make reusable components and functions, which architecture is going to be followed, number of logical layers, what can be done to minimize the programming and reuse the existing functionalities.
Experienced Architects write codes that communicate itself. Similarly, whatever the expectations you have from your team, you must communicate them. If you do not pass on the information about goals and standards and keep it to yourself, your team would probably catch a different track and developed something which is not the requirement of a project. Therefore, there must be no ambiguity in conveying your objectives and have a transparent expectation with everyone.
Code Review Process
The code must follow an architecture that is already been defined by the software architects to bring a consistency in the project. All the referenced design pattern must be recognized. If there is any change in required after reviewing the code, it must be analyzed, document and make wise decisions before implementing the change.
The main aim of doing a code review is to bring the quality in the program and ultimately to the product for end users. The code must follow the four principles to ensure high-quality code, i.e., readability, testability, debuggability, and configurability. The code must be self-explanatory and readable, comments must be there to give a proper understanding of nested and complex logics, easy to test without failing the core scenarios, and use interfaces to have a communication between two logical layers.
This refers to the final output of the product. The program must be tested with all the possible scenarios including failure attempts and all the test plans must cover the logical and business processes. If any of the test plan fails, you must address the issue and resolve it before giving it to software quality assurance team or the user.
Reusability is a great concept in programming as it helps in reducing the program files and length, thus keeping the code compact and organized. Before starting any class or function, you need to check whether such things already exist in the code or not. In short, you should follow the DRY principle i.e. Don’t Repeat Yourself and there should not be any repetition of code.
Usability is an essential part of designing and developing a website. All the necessities of a user must be considered, and a mature UI must be given to the users. For a moment, think of yourself as an end user of your software application and ask yourself if the UI is easy to use and understandable. If you find any difficulty, try to bring a change in the UI and make some adjustments to make it clearer and louder. You must not give any UI to the user until you are convinced with it.
While conducting a code review, there are few things must be confirmed to improve the readability and ensuring there are no blockers in the program. The starting and ending point of the code block must be easily identifiable. There should be proper indentation and use of whitespace. The code must be set in a way that the reviewer does not need to scroll horizontally on the screen. Ideally, the code must not contain any commented code as it can be view from version control.
In general, it is necessary to be kind and respectful towards your team members. Along with that, you need to be clear on what you are expecting from the team and their coding. If you are planning to give a feedback, try to explain the reason behind it and provide a solution or any work around rather than pointing out the problems and leave it on the developers. You must try to avoid ‘Why’ as apparently it will give an impression of making comments about the developer. Instead of doing that, you can simply highlight the issue be keeping the standards in mind and suggest an alternative to the existing practice.