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How to Review Software Codes

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Software code reviews or peer review as it is also known as an operation executed by one or more reviewers to assure and check the quality and efficiency of a software. It is done through reading and viewing the source code of a program.

Reviewing software codes is an imperative aspect of software building. It aids in spotting and identifying defaults and malfunctions before the testing phase.

Although software code review is not regarded as vital while building, it is an efficient assurance strategy as proven by various studies. Apart from that, code review as a service is lucrative.

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Guidelines for Software Code Review

Below are some essential guidelines that a developer must take note of before reviewing software codes for an excellent result. 

Less than 400 lines of Code should be Reviewed at a go

For a perfect outcome, the lines of code that should be reviewed at a time should be between 200 to 400.

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To be practical, the review of lines of codes of 200-400 under the time frame of 60 to 90 minutes should identify up to 90% defaults.

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For instance, if 20 defects are existing in a code, the result of a well-conducted review would show about 16-19 of them. 

The Identification Rate should be below 500 Lines of Codes in an hour

Reviewing is an operation that should be executed painstakingly. Sometimes, one may be lured to depend on another person to find defects you do not find.

It is wrong, and however, statistic proves that at a rate quicker than 500 lines of codes checked per hour, there is a reduction in defect density. 

Additionally, just as it is not advisable to review too fast, taking too long should also be avoided.

This is because the performance level of a task that requires maximum attention reduces after 60 minutes.

So, taking breaks at intervals or conducting reviews consistently is better than a lengthy review. 

Establishing a solution to the defects detected

After figuring out the defaults of software codes, a key review step that reviewers should be concerned about is how the defects would be fixed.

The reliable way of fixing defects is by using the collaborative code review tool. With this, reviewers can log bugs to corrects defects with the consent of the author. 

What Code Review entails

There are various methods in which software code reviews can be done, but from the general view, it involves the coming together of developers or reviews to check and figure out defects in software code.

For carrying out this task, they use tools such as software repository and collaborative code review. Other tools are Gerrit, Collaborator, Helix Swarm, GitHub, GitLab and many others.

Various approaches to Code reviews 

Starting since 1976, when Micheal Fagan’s “Design and Code Inspections to Reduce Errors in Program Development,” was published, the idea of software code review was a systematic, and formal process that involved a group of reviewers around a table in a room studying dots meticulously from a computer till there aimed is achieved.

But now, it has evolved, and there are various methods available to choose as the method of reviewing software codes. 

1. Tool-Assisted 

This is a simple and efficient way of reviewing codes. It is carried out through software-based review tools that are browser-based.

Through software tools, tracking peers’ solution to defects are seamless, reviews can be done at different times and non-locally, and issuing notifications to the original coder is easier, which makes the process more effective. 

2. Over the shoulder 

This is another comfortable and easy approach for developers. It is an old technique that is intuitive and easy for peer code review. 

When the code is set, qualified reviewers unite at a site to review the code. During the reviewing process, the original coder explains the method of development he uses and the reason.

This approach requires the method of tracking and documentation. Hence, notepads are needed. 

3. The Email Thread

With this approach, once the code is ready, reviewers are sent the file through email. So, each of them starts reviewing when their workflow permits.

This is a more adaptative flexible method than the traditional one. With this method, different suggestions and perspectives are derived to find solutions to defects.

4. Pair Programming

This is the best of extreme programming. With pair programming, developers work side by side on the same code. This enables checks to be down easily by the reviewers.

It is a nice method for senior reviewers to check the junior ones. This method requires more time and workers, unlike other techniques.

 

Conclusively, the art of software development is filled with constant development which positively affects software code review. Learning is important as it helps software development, and as a service, it is best for business.

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Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article How to Review Software Codes was written by NaijaTechGuide Team. The article was last modified: December 5th, 2019

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