The Importance of Code Reviews

The Importance of Code Reviews

Understanding the Critical Role of Code Reviews in Software Development

Code reviews first became a standard practice back in the 1970s when Michael Fagan, working for IBM, began writing journals on software inspections. His methods were known as the Fagan Inspection. His process was long and would probably make our generation force merge out of frustration.

Code reviews have evolved meticulously over the years but their purpose remained the same. They help foster a sense of collective code ownership, improved code quality, and team collaboration.

Collective code ownership

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Martin Fowler details the various schemes of code ownership here

Code reviewing as a team ensures that there is continuous knowledge transfer throughout the team and helps to foster the sense of collective code ownership. This is especially true in the world of microservices. In my day-to-day work, I work in a team that is responsible for over 20 microservices. I rely on code reviews to be up-to-date with most of them.

Improved code quality

The code review process can uncover potential bugs. It is surprisingly very easy for a developer to make a mistake that could turn out to be a bug in production. Code reviews ensure that there is a chance for such bugs to be caught and squashed before they go rushing into production. Less bugs == less bug fixing == more time shipping new shiny code.

The process also ensures that code standards are followed and maintained. With collective code ownership, it is important to follow agreed upon coding standards and maintain those. It ensures that the code is readable by anyone and new developers can begin making changes sooner.

Team collaboration

Code reviews provide a platform for sharing knowledge and feedback, and discussing coding standard and practices. Due to its continuous nature, it facilitates a culture of constant improvement and knowledge sharing amongst the team. There have been countless times when I learned more efficient methods or better solutions for specific domain issues through code reviews.

Conclusion

Code reviews play a crucial role in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), ensuring high code quality, fostering team collaboration, and encouraging and maintaining collective code ownership It continuously drives improvement and learning so don't shy away from it :)

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with code reviews. Feel free to share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading my first blog post!