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Tips for effective code review


Code review is an essential part of the software development process that helps improve the quality and maintainability of code. However, it can be a sensitive process that requires careful consideration and effective communication.

In Software Engineering field, everyone is busy and if you want someone to review your code then that person will have to pull up some time from their busy schedule and review your code.

Here are some tips which you can use for a faster and effective code review.

Make sure to add a description of the code changes along with code changes

In addition to sending your code changes for review, it's important to provide a detailed description of the changes you made. This includes outlining the problem you solved and the steps you took to solve it. Adding a description along with your code changes helps the reviewer better understand your modifications. Be sure to include the following points in your code change description to ensure a comprehensive review.

Make sure to add the below points about your code changes.

  • Test plan for your code changes

  • Impacts of the code changes

  • Purpose of code changes

If you include these details then the reviewer will be easily able to understand why you made these code changes and what problem did you solve and eventually it will lead to a faster and efficient code review.

Make sure to send the code review to the appropriate person

Typically, we send our code changes to the tech or team lead for review. However, this may not always be the most efficient approach. Instead, it's helpful to check the file's history and see who has recently made changes or is listed as the author. This person can provide additional context and may be the most suitable reviewer for your changes. By selecting the appropriate reviewer, you can expedite the code review process and avoid unnecessary delays. It's important to note that choosing an inappropriate reviewer may result in longer wait times for the code review.

Build and test your code before sending for review

Before submitting your code changes for review, it's important to build and test your code. This involves making sure that your code compiles without errors, passes all the necessary tests, and meets the project's acceptance criteria. By doing so, you can save time and avoid receiving unnecessary feedback.

Make small commits

Instead of a large 1000 line code changes if you can break it down into small commits , then it will better for the code reviewer to understand your code and this way we can break the large code changes into smaller chunks that can be reviewed separately.

Whenever you are working on a large feature request or a large defect, make sure that whatever code changes you are doing instead of a single commit having 1000 lines of change, you should break it down to some more smaller commits so that they contribute and understand what changes you have done.

✅ Focus on the code, not the person

Critique the code, not the person who wrote it. Provide constructive feedback that focuses on improving the quality and maintainability of the code, rather than criticizing the developer. You should consider code review as an opportunity to learn best practices and new techniques from your peers. Be open-minded and respectful of different opinions and approaches.

✅ Use consistent format

Use a consistent format for code review, such as a template or checklist, that covers the main aspects of code quality, such as functionality, readability, performance, security, testing, documentation, etc. This helps to ensure that feedback is organized and easy to understand and it can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the review process.

✅ Be respectful while providing feedback

Respect your colleagues and their work by avoiding personal attacks or criticism. Provide constructive feedback that is focused on improving the code, rather than tearing it down. Don’t just point out what’s wrong, but also explain why it’s wrong and how it can be improved.

✅ Be patient and double check if required

When someone is checking your code, it's important for both you and them to be patient. If the person checking your code is in a hurry, they might miss important problems with the code. This could cause problems later on. Also, the person checking your code might be very busy, so they might need some time to get to it. So, it's important for you to be patient while they do their work.

✅ Consult with a second level reviewer if required

Consult a second level code reviewer if you’re not convinced by the feedback or if you have a disagreement with the author. Seek a third opinion from someone who has more experience or expertise on the topic.

✅ Follow up with the developer after providing feedback

Follow up with the developer after providing feedback to ensure that they understand the feedback and to address any questions or concerns they may have. This can help ensure that your feedback is acted upon and that the resulting code is of the highest quality.