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Published on February 6th, 2013 | by toptech

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Effective Code Reviews Without The Pain

Developers usually find the sessions of code reviewing highly strenuous. Further, they may not be able to segregate the important ones from the unimportant. Developers may also wait for opportunities to find possible issues in the codes of other developers. But, these sessions don’t need to be strenuous at all.

The purpose of code reviews is to ensure that the codes have quality. If the codes are found lacking in this aspect, they have to be improved or promoted so that the expected quality is infused into them. In fact, with the help of code reviews, all types of errors including poor structure, issues in matching, etc. can be detected.

If developers use the review sessions judiciously, they can improve their competence that may ultimately improve the quality of the code, its consistency and also its maintainability. Developers can learn the ways to code in a better manner also. But, instead of viewing code review as a way to determine the competency of a developer, it should be used as a group-task to learn and improve the abilities of programming.

Ways to make code reviews effective and painless

- Instead of making accusing and sarcastic statements, as a partaker in code review sessions, you should ask questions if you need more information. The other provider will not feel offended if you adopt this approach. This may trigger the thinking process in the other provider so that he may improve gradually.

- You must re-word your questions so that the mood of the other developer is not spoiled. In general, “why” questions may upset anyone.

- Liberal doses of praise will do a world of good in reducing the laboriousness and stress involved in code reviews. So, you must never miss a chance to praise the developers for their good work, however small it may be. You should never forget the fact that the task of code reviews involves a lot of creativity and if the mood of the developer is spoiled, he may not be able to utilize the full potential of his creativity.

- You must ensure that coding standards that are available for reference are of the highest standards. When developers have such standards as their benchmark, their output will certainly improve. In fact, review codes are meant for making sure that developers produce high-quality and maintainable codes.

- Whenever discussions take place about review codes, the focus should be on the codes that are being reviewed and not on the personality of the developers who have produced them. The aim is to have codes of the highest quality.

- You must never forget the fact that there may be more ways to accomplish a thing or for finding a solution. So, you must encourage those developers who do out-of-the-box thinking for producing codes.

- Similarly, if you are producing codes yourself, you must look at things from a third person’s perspective. This will reduce the pain in the process. If you take things personally whenever other developers point out the flaws in your codes, that may make software code review sessions painful. So, you should detach yourself from the criticisms, if any, and focus only on improving your efficiency.

This is a guest post by Tom Rhoddings.

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