Common Code Review Approaches And How They Work

Why do you need code reviews

Code reviews are crucial when writing code within a team. If one developer writes something that works but it’s not understandable to everyone, that’s a problem. Code reviews ensure that everyone can understand, edit, debug, and enhance code over time following industry standards.

Common code review approaches

• Pull requests • Test-driven development • Tool-assisted review • Pair programming

Pull requests

Once the review tool has done its job reviewing code for lower-level issues, developers can flag any prospective changes and send them into a “pull requests” repository.

Test driven development

While a standard approach is to write code and then unit tests it to ensure it’s solid, test-driven development works the other way around. The unit test is written first, and then the code is iteratively developed until it passes the test. There are several benefits to test-driven development. For starters, it requires developers to think about requirements upfront, which ultimately leads to code that’s more robust and less buggy.

Tool-assisted review

Common types of tools in the tool-assisted review include: • linters and other static analysis tools • unit testing tools • code coverage tools. These tools typically look at the code’s syntax, structure, and layout to ensure consistency: improper indentation, unused variables, missing semicolons, and inconsistent naming conventions among others.

Pair programming

Pair programming, also called over-the-shoulder programming, is a dance of two developers that offers a simple yet powerful code review approach.  One craft the code while the other takes a seat, reading or even modifying it on the fly.

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