The Dos and Don’ts of Code Reviews

Martin V.
Martin V.
Oct 16, 2018 · 2 min read

Code reviews are a lot more than just a process of checking a program’s source code nowadays. Modern development teams have started to extensively leverage them for delivering higher quality products based on well-structured codebases and for sharing knowledge and feedback between its members.

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This article will focus on the core principles of what it means to provide good, meaningful and constructive code reviews while trying to keep our inner desire for refactoring crusades and personal preferences aside.

The Dos

First things first. Before we start reviewing the code, we should try to get a first glimpse of what the code is about to do and trying to solve, either by looking at the Pull Request’s title and description or by taking a quick look at the specification. This prepares us for the work ahead and lets us better understand the implemented solution from the very beginning.

As we are more or less familiar with the code’s surroundings, we can finally start looking at the code itself, which hopefully comes in a for humans readable format. Depending on the used language, the syntax is very important and setting parentheses at the right place or indenting code appropriately can be essential for a program to run, something we should carefully pay attention to — at least to some extent.

Using correct indentation (e.g. Python)

Developers often spend more time on finding a solution for a problem than on the actual implementation itself, which could sometimes lead to very complicated and confusing code, not only, but often caused by not so well or wrongly chosen variable, function and even file names.

Moreover, functions might have grown too much over time which is why…

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