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Automated Code Review: Some Processes You Can Automate

Automated Code Reviews: Some Processes You Can Automate

As a developer, it frustrates us when someone uses something manually. And as someone who focus on improving code quality, it frustrates us when someone uses manual code review processes. The code review process as a quality assurance method is a standard set for building software to increase code quality. With automated code review tools usage increasing every year by software developers, we mention some manual checks of a basic code review process that you can automate to boost your productivity.

Before we move on to figuring out what all you can automate, let us address the point of why are developers and CTOs using the manual code review process. Looking at the facts and features of an automated code review tool versus the manual code review process that is tiring, long and inefficient. We can arrive at the conclusion that automated code review is the best practice for code review

According to a survey conducted by The State of Code Review, almost 75% of companies are participating in Ad Hoc or Synchronous code review process as compared to 60% participating in tool-based code review. The number is a bit lower from these for automated code review tools. These numbers surprise us because we, as developers, thrive on automating possibly everything around us. Software developers suggest methods and codes make any manual process by companies automated and frown upon people who try to use manual methods.

meme shows discussion on code review between two coders

Why would someone waste so much time, money, and energy every time to do a piece of work that could have been done more efficiently, right? Then why don’t developers think about themselves for one bit and try to find a solution to one of the highly important jobs that get ignored for the same reasons – time, money and energy? Well, the truth is finding a tool that satisfies the developer’s standard is difficult to find. An automated code review tool must be comprehensive, efficient, and highly statistical while being more comfortable to use and understandable by all types of developers and CXOs, advanced or rookie. The inability to find such a tool prompts people to rely on peer code review methods.

Combine manual and automatic code review

Wait! Don’t automate everything. We mean not for now, at least, as creating a lot of change and dependencies on a tool will affect your team’s productivity. Like any other method, product or practice, try to bring small changes and look for positive results. Having results will give you the momentum to extensively try all the features of an automated code review tool. With all this said, we can conclude that we need to find a collaborative trade-off between the manual code review process and an automated code review tool to make our hunt for better code quality easier.

You can start automating those processes that are not interesting to you and your team. Letting tools do this job will make you focus more on the exciting bits of code review. Other code review processes that you can automate are those that consume most of your time or require more than one person to do it. Automation is all about increasing productivity, so setting your eyes down to a job that would need individual attention and spending your valuable time and energy on it makes sense, but wasting the same on processes that a tool can don’t. We will talk about what manual checks are and the process you can automate by taking reference to our tool, CodeGrip.

What to automate using a code review tool?

Process of Reviewing

The starting process of code review is when the developer and reviewers sit down together, look at the lines of code, trying to figure out errors and issues. Most of the bugs and smells that developer make are easy to resolve and is something that one should not spend much time on. But it is time-consuming and has a high probability of ignoring errors that the reviewer is not able to figure out. 

Codegrip automates this process by reading and analyzing your code from line to line. It finds smells, errors, bugs, and vulnerabilities and mentions these findings collectively for an overall view. It also states the time the developer would take to resolve the problem on the code. What makes it easier is classifying the issues according to the severity they possess and the amount of technical debt they add.

A screenshot of the Codegrips dashboard after performing code review

Problems related to class and methods

Every company and development team should follow specific design standards that bring the best out of the project as well as promotes team development through learning. Code smells like class-type smells, and method-type smells make your program slow in execution. 

If your method or class is too long, it will make your application heavy and the code harder to read. Having god classes who look to do everything makes editing them a harder job with manipulation made in many variables. Developers do seem to forget the principle of single responsibility, which is the need for various classes and methods to be small and focus on one thing.

Another design error developers make is over excessive dependencies in class and nesting done in it. Class dependencies can be nested too deep, and it becomes hard to figure out to which level they go.

Class is heavily dependent on other classes’ signals that you are breaking the single responsibility principle. Codegrip on analysis displays such type of Code Smells, which can also be sorted under filters. It shows detailed messages for class or method errors and the number of lines that need amendments, ensuring that developers do not compromise with code quality.

Resolving Time Management 

In the code review process, especially tool-based, developers tend to make amendments in the code once the whole code is reviewed and comments or discussions are made. We all know that in a competitive software world, time and money constraints do not give us enough moments to complete all our tasks, and a compromise is needed. But the settlement should be such that it creates the least harm to the software and adds negligibly to the technical debt of the code. 

For this compromise, we need two parameters for each error – the severity and the time to resolve the error, both of which are subjective from developer to developer. But CodeGrip does that using its data from numerous projects by many developers. 

A screenshot of an overview of the code review done on Codegrip

Once the errors are analyzed, it lists them down according to severity. It also mentions the estimated time to resolve those errors. A reviewer or developer can determine which error needs to be addressed first using both parameters so that they get the most out of the code review process, if not all.

Now you can get started with automating your code review process.
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Automating code review is a necessity to increase productivity and efficiency while developing software. Hence a shift from a manual process to an automated process is needed. Some of many automated processes are mentioned above. Developers can use tools to automate the code review process according to their needs. Codegrip, a free-to-try automated code review tool, achieves this automation effortlessly.

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