Coding Critiques: What Matters the Most in Code Reviews?
- December 24, 2020
- Rubab Kazmi
In the business world, it can easily be observed that the organizations and businesses that gave importance to the quality of their products reap the highest market shares, brand reputation, and an infinite number of satisfied and happy customers. Nowadays many businesses have forgotten about the need for quality products. Businesses in today’s age are just concerned about their profit-making abilities. However, they are unaware of the fact that focusing on the quality side of their products and services will help them to be the apple of the market’s eyes. Similarly, the same thing has been observed in the software development business domain as well. When entrepreneurs initiate their business activities, they, no doubt try to serve uniquely and creatively to their users but still lack the quality factor in their products. And resultantly entrepreneurs have to wrap up their business before they get even settled in the market.
The need for realizing the importance of code review services especially for the software development domain is evident. Baking quality from the initial stage of software product development life-cycle is important to come up with an overall good quality product that satisfies the user’s requirements and expectations. For this purpose, code review services are considered to be the pixie dust to your development process. If the codes are error-free then it will be possible not to encounter major errors at the end stages of the software product development life-cycle. Code review is a critical analysis of the codes written by the developers for the sake of making codes clean and pure of vulnerabilities.
Cultivate a culture of cooperation
Before starting, the most basic thing is to understand why you need to review the value of code. Knowledge sharing and team cohesion are good for everyone, but if the mentality is not good, code reviews can take a lot of time and bring unpleasant results. The attitude and behavior of the team should include the value of non-judgmental cooperation, with the common goal of learning and sharing-regardless of the experience of others.
Let us provide you complete information about different aspects of the code reviews that are most important to consider when it comes to providing critiques on the codes written;
Nature of comments – Are the reviews or critics have been written in easy-to-understand language? Are all comments necessary? In general, they are useful when comments explain why some code exists, and should not explain what some code is doing. If the code is not clear enough to explain itself, you should make the code simpler. There are some exceptions (for example, regular expressions and complex algorithms often benefit from explaining their role in comments), but comments are mostly for information that the code itself may not contain, such as the reasons behind the decision. It may also be helpful to see the comments that existed before this CL.
Soft skills and Emotional Intelligence – Programming or coding is comprised of a variety of hard skills. Code writing is not just like you write articles and blogs of different nature. Different codes demand a different set of skills in multiple languages like JAVA, C, C++, etc. This means that developers invest all their technical knowledge just to write effective codes. In this case, if developers come to listen that their codes written are ugly and poorly constructed then the situations will become worse and the results would not be in the favor. However, if these comments are properly provided to developers in a friendly and professional manner that they need some improvement and how they can improve their codes, the situation will never get worsened and developers won’t get hurt also. For this purpose, the reviewers or critiques must have some special soft skills that would help them to understand the reasons behind the bad construction of codes.
Appreciate first before you start criticism – Sometimes abruptly starting anything won’t benefit you. Similarly, if a reviewer will start his/her conversation with the developer about codes just by pointing out mistakes, the chances of the rectification of errors become less as it might hurt the developers and their morale. That is why start your critical analysis with the things that are nicely done. I.e you can make a statement that “Wow, this solves problem X very elegantly, right here,” you are building a little goodwill within your team. This will make your developer happy as you appreciate him/her on the good things. And after that, you can suggest to the developer that “there may seem something missing in the codes of this section, you may look into it to make it better as I think you can surely do”. Such a polite tone and suggestive nature would make your developers feel like you are engaged with them and they’ll feel motivated to rectify the codes.
Always consider yourself as a student – This one is for the developers whose codes are being reviewed by the reviewers. Remember that everyone can review the code written regardless of the seniority level of its job post. As a coder, one should receive any feedback gratefully as an opportunity to learn and to share knowledge. Look at any feedback as an open discussion rather than providing a defensive or harsh reaction. You must have a sportsman spirit to listen to your mistakes and must be competent enough to rectify those mistakes.
Code reviews are considered to be a wastage of time and effort by many organizations as they think conducting software testing would suffice their quality requirements. However, code reviews can not be replaced by any other process. No doubt testing saves a heap but baking quality from the initial stages of the product development life-cycle starts by conducting effective code reviews. Having critical eyes on the codes written is always the best thing organizations can do to ensure the overall credibility of their software products and apps before the products are released in the market. Some of the important aspects that matter the most when it comes to critically evaluate codes are mentioned above for your ease.
Happy Coding! Happy Reviewing!