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What Are Common Code Review Pitfalls And How To Avoid Them?

What Are Common Code Review Pitfalls And How To Avoid Them?

Reviewing the developed codes is like a routine process that is followed in all organizations and businesses. The process of code reviewing, the frequency at which codes are reviewed, and the importance given to the process depends on each organization. These criteria do not have fixed and standard values as each organization work in its own unique way. Before going to other factors, understanding what exactly code review becomes important. Well, again, the understanding and definitions of code reviews may change for different organizations and individuals but the below mentioned is our version of the understanding of code reviews.

WHAT IS CODE REVIEW?

Code review is a method of software quality assurance in which the source code of the software is reviewed manually by a team or by using an automated tool for code review. The motive behind this process is to purely lookout for bugs, fix mistakes, and boost code quality much of the time. Reviewing the codebase ensures that the high quality of any program or new feature created within the business is high. Code review is an important method that must be practiced by any software company and so understanding the best practices of the same is important. The next section of the article includes the best practices of the code review process.
Recommended Read: Best Practices For Reviewing Code

CODE REVIEW: BEST PRACTICES 

  • Use Checklists 

It is likely that the same 10 errors are made over and over by each person on your team. In fact, omissions are the most difficult defects to identify because it is difficult to review anything that is not there. Checklists are the most productive way to avoid mistakes that are often made and to combat the difficulties of discovering omissions. Code review checklists can have specific expectations for team members and form of review and can be useful to monitor for purposes of reporting and process enhancement.

  • Instead Of Giving Orders, Make Suggestions  

During code review, when you see a flaw in the source code, it sometimes happens that a better solution instantly pops into your head. You should then be tempted to write it in a comment unceremoniously and suggest to the pull request author how they can fix it in a certain way. The adjustment will be made by the author of the pull request, but the comment itself may discredit the person, like a patronizing slap in the face, pointing to an “obvious” mistake. Here is where the thin line between an order and a suggestion comes into the picture.

  • Foster A Positive Code Review 

Peer review may put pressure on relationships between impersonal teams. It is hard to have any piece of work criticized by peers and to have management in your code analyze and calculate defect density. In order for peer code review to be successful, it is therefore extremely necessary that managers create a culture of peer review communication and learning. Each error is actually an opportunity for the team to improve code quality, although it is easy to see bugs as strictly negative. Peer review also helps members of junior teams to learn from senior leaders and to break poor habits with even the most experienced programmers.

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COMMON CODE REVIEW PITFALLS AND WAYS TO AVOID THEM 

1.The Impersonal Nature Of Code Reviewers Leads To Tension And Problems 

Reviews of code are almost always carried out by text contact between the reviewer and the creator. The two of them seldom sit together and study the code. This may result in problems with contact between the two parties. Developers are especially protective of their jobs because it is, after all, creative work that took energy and effort. A statement viewed by the developer as harsh will spell catastrophe and conflict between the two sides.

It may be difficult to solve this, but it is not impossible. Next, developers are advised to pursue in-person code reviews for discussions, which will strengthen both parties’ awareness of body language.

If it is not available in person, do so via video conference or telephone call. In these formats, you can miss something, but they’re still not as bad as text-only communication. And developers should also pair programs with other developers and learn their coding patterns and styles. This gives context for feedback received on proposed changes because when reading the written response, they will remember the style of the reviewer.

2. Delays In Code Reviewing 

Since the difference between a developer and a reviewer is typically just their connection to a specific proposal for a change, potential reviewers frequently get distracted and miss open patches. And so, for weeks, or even months, review requests can go unanswered. This slows down progress and can even contribute to bitrot, that is, a situation where the patch is no longer relevant to the project or where the patch cannot be applied to the project has changed to the point.

Every organization should include time reviewing outstanding requests and make sure that all reviews are processed. Code reviewing is a long process that will get completed overtime. Certain delays in the process are possible but one should not avoid it as it is an important process. Moreover, make it a point that no code would stand un-reviewed and no pull request should stand ignored after a certain time frame like a week.

3. Code Reviews Are Highly Subjected Based On Who Is Reviewing It

Developers also re-examine code differently from other developers. They have distinctive nits, diverse styles, and views of their own. For various purposes, the same code may be kept up by five different persons and accepted unchanged by a 6th. Clearly, this is sub-optimal. This code review pitfall is hard to avoid because you cannot fix the subjective nature of individual developers.

This is where a checklist comes into play. To ensure that different individuals execute the same operations in the same manner, several different fields use checklists. Pilots, surgeons, judges, for this reason, all use checklists. Lastly, in a pull request, create guidelines on what is completely unacceptable. Security flaws, code that breaks checks, apparent glitches, code that doesn’t follow requirements and code that doesn’t compile are several examples. As you would like, you can add the criteria. These criteria should be things that cannot be automated, but that trained developers can see.
Must read: CTOs outlook on code review process and how to optimize it for your team?


Conclusion 

Software reviews are good for improving performance and keeping dumb mistakes out of the code. And yet, to ensure that they continue to be productive and successful devices, they need care. They can become more of a drain than a help, like any instrument, and it’s up to us to ensure that we address the issues and maintain their usefulness.

 

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