Nowadays, software developers have to deal with both complexities of modern software and customers’ desire to keep up with rapidly changing market demands. An enterprise-wide software solution that includes multiple functional modules requires much time and effort for scrupulous testing. It’s essential to ensure that each module works as planned and that different parts of the system can communicate seamlessly. On the other hand, the customer can change the vision of the project during the development process, which will require making some rapid changes.
There are dozens of different ways developers can deal with all these issues. Incremental approaches to software development, such as Scrum, for example, enable flexibility that helps to change the course of things with no substantial time losses and keep the customer satisfied. Likewise, a plethora of testing techniques to choose from allows reducing the probability of bugs appearing to the minimum. But it’s always good to have an extra ace up your sleeve. Today, we’ll learn about a slightly less obvious way of ensuring the software product quality than SDLC methodologies or testing activities. Of course, we’re talking about code review.
You Check My Code And I’ll Check Yours
The process of code review is relatively simple to implement, but its significance shouldn’t be underestimated. During the code review process, programmers check code written by their colleagues to find errors or inconsistencies. As you probably have guessed, this situation is most common for cases when a senior developer reviews the code of a less experienced programmer to ensure that lack of expertise won’t harm the project in the future. But code review is not always a means of compensating for the experience gap. We’re all human beings, and even developers with years and years of experience may sometimes produce not the best possible code.
One of the essential features of software development is that the project can last for months and years. All kinds of changes can happen along the way. For example, new programmers may come to the team, and old ones may leave it. In such cases, it’ll be helpful if the code is easy-to-read so that new developers won’t get stuck trying to understand what a particular line of code is supposed to do. Due to this and many other reasons, code review is one of the essential tests that every developer should run during the development process.
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The code review process has multiple purposes. For example, it allows developers to ensure that the code is well-designed. Programming languages give developers some liberty in their choice of code writing style. However, if you work in a team, following the naming conventions is essential to make your code more readable for your current and future colleagues. Therefore, the code review process ensures that programmers use easy-to-understand names for classes, variables, and methods. In such a case, other specialists will be able to “scan” the code quickly and understand what it does without the need to decrypt each code line.
Commenting is also rather vital since it helps developers to understand the purpose of code. Therefore, comments are necessarily taken into account during code review. As the famous saying says: “work smarter, not harder”. There are different ways you can achieve the goal, and in some cases, developers choose a complex approach to solving a simple problem. Code review helps find if there’s a place for simplifying the code and making it less prone to errors.
Benefits Of Code Review
It may seem that code review is not rocket science, and you can’t achieve more than superficial code improvements by applying it. But despite the apparent simplicity of the code review process, it can bring multiple essential enhancements. Big projects require the involvement of numerous developers. Each of them has a unique style of writing the code, which can, in some cases, lead to collaboration problems.
Say, the Agile approach to software development implies that during the process, the customer can check the intermediate results to decide whether the product should change its initial direction or not. In some cases, the need to re-work the already implemented features or add entirely new functionality may appear.
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In such situations, code review can be an excellent opportunity to ensure consistency in the overall design and implementation. When developers follow a set of recommendations, the collaboration process becomes much more manageable. In addition, source code written with pre-defined practices kept in mind is easier to understand and edit in the future.
During the working process, developers mostly sit before their computers and write code. Code review in this scenario can be an additional impulse to cooperate and share some ideas. Such discussions can serve multiple aims. For example, it can be a good reason to socialize. Developers can talk about what they love most (coding) and build a friendly atmosphere within the team. Besides, it can be a good time for sharing some new ideas, tricks, and techniques, allowing to optimize the code and gain the team’s overall skill. Younger developers who lack experience can also leverage the code review process to improve their skills and learn the difference between software development representation in textbooks and how it looks in practice.
It’s the business analyst’s task to translate customers’ needs into product requirements unequivocally whether the client wants to develop a complex system from scratch or his only need is to find a front end development services provider to make slight UI improvements.
However, programmers may misunderstand the initial requirements in some cases and waste time writing code that doesn’t implement the exact feature the customer expects to see in the product. In such a case, the review process can be an excellent chance to match requirements with the actual code and adjust further development process if needed.
It may seem that code review is not more than a mentoring tool allowing a more skilful developer to evaluate the success of a less experienced young programmer and give some advice. In fact, it can become an irreplaceable tool that helps bring the quality of development to a new level in good hands. The code review process enables communication within the development team, helps to avoid errors, and simplifies the maintenance of your product in the future. Well-written and structured code can become an open book for any developer who will need to implement new functionality months and even years after the product release.
If you want to discuss measures helping to guarantee the quality of your future project, don’t hesitate to contact us.