7 Myths About Code Review

June 28, 2022

7 Myths About Code Review: A blog about code reviews and why they are an essential part of software development.

Software developers use code reviews every day as an essential part of their workflow. However, there are some myths about code reviews that might prevent you from getting the most out of them. This blog post will debunk these myths and show you how to get the benefits of code reviews without any negative side effects.

Myth 1: Code review slows down the development process

It's a misconception that code review slows down the development process. In fact, it actually speeds up the process because problems are found sooner than later. Oftentimes, developers are too close to their own work and have trouble figuring out what is wrong because they don't know all of the features of their project. Reviewers on the other hand will notice things that you may not have seen.

Here is an example. When I first started learning how to program, I would type my code into the same file that was being edited by someone else. This led to a lot of merge conflicts and because I didn't know all of the features of the editor and git, it took me a long time to resolve those conflicts and merge my changes back into their work.

Even if something isn't wrong with the code, review will further your knowledge because you are forced to read through all its features. And if you do come across something that is wrong with the code, then it is better to find out sooner than later so you can fix or refactor it before shipping your project.

Myth 2: Only senior developers should do code reviews

In the tech industry, there is a common myth that only senior developers should do code reviews. This idea implies that junior programmers must always be supervised by somebody more experienced. However, this is not true.

As long as you know what you're doing and communicate your sources clearly, junior coders can and should still code review others’ to ensure a high quality product without fear of being judged solely on their skillset.

Myth 3: Code reviews are only necessary for big projects

Some people believe that code reviews are only necessary for big projects, or when your code will touch the outside world. This isn’t true, though. You should regularly create and check in code reviews on all projects, even those that won’t be used by other workers down the line.

Not only can code reviews help you better understand what needs to be modified in your project, but it also helps you catch bugs and other problems before they get in front of more users.

One of the worst mistakes that prolific open-source developers make is to not give their code the feedback it deserves. Many of them don’t proactively seek feedback from their peers, so they’re never really sure if there are any bugs in their code.

Code reviews are a great way for programmers to review each other’s work and uncover any problems before they affect others. Usually there will be certain individuals who will be involved with your project from the beginning, and they will become your first checkers when others later start working on the project too.

Myth 4: Comments in a code review are always negative

This is a common misconception. A few "negative" comments can actually make for the best feedback. In fact, feedback is meant to be constructive and helpful, not to tear your code down. If you're caught off guard by a bunch of critical comments, it's easy to feel like your work is under attack and that you've failed as a developer.

But remember that these are just suggestions! They're trying to help you improve your code, so try to see the comments in their objective light and ask yourself what they could possibly be suggesting instead.

Myth 5: Automated code review tools can replace human reviewers

As software developers and project managers, we have all come across the mythical automated code review tool that could replace human reviewers. These tools promise a faster turnaround time, less paperwork and administrative overhead, greater productivity of a smaller staff, and most importantly: less cost.

The reality is that these tools are still in the early stages of development and are geared more towards automating basic tasks with manual review requirements rather than replacing humans altogether.

And with their limited capabilities, they can be easily outperformed by full-time employees who take the time to learn about what's happening with their code as well as how to write good quality code for themselves in the future.

Myth 6: Reviewers must have perfect coding knowledge

There's a lot of seemingly ungrounded beliefs about reviewers and how they judge code, some of which you might have heard or even believed. But if you're wondering whether reviewers must have perfect coding knowledge before they can give you a good review, the answer is no! If there are specific aspects to your code that are hard for reviewers to grasp, it's up to you to clarify them in your project description, but in general it’s not necessary that they know every nook and cranny of the language.

Myth 7: Code reviews are a waste of time

Many software developers believe that code reviews are a waste of time, but they are actually very important. Code reviews can catch mistakes and security vulnerabilities that would be missed just by looking at the code yourself. A recent study found that 100% of critical issues were caught in code reviews!

A code review may take up to two minutes per line, or roughly 25 minutes per hour. The study however found that only two people needed to do the review for all critical issues to be caught. This equates to 12 hours of work which is well under a typical work week.

Conclusion & Suggestion

Going from feeling that code reviews are inefficient and painful calls for try on our side. However, as we've seen, following review steps actually are very beneficial, efficient and vital. They aren't difficult in any respect and also there are lots of benefits of the code review process.

Information Sharing - Updating other people's code helps us learn. Not only when we look at code for performance that we've never touched before, but because it gives us a different perspective on how things are done, it makes us wonder: why would you? using this model? wouldn't it be better to apply this?. But we won't just learn, if the  person is new to the team, it will help them incorporate all the information they've learned into the project document.

Maintainability, extensibility and clean code. - We like to use these three words when talking about our development. But we must remember that the code is not just ours. Any development you do will be part of the entire application. And this application must be maintained by everyone.

What you do today must be understood by the person who will in turn edit that code in the next few months. We all define the Clean Code standards and practices to be used. Therefore, code reviews will help us keep these standards together. four eyes see extra than .

It helps us grow.- Suggesting alternatives in our comments compels us to think of these solutions. It also makes us put ourselves in someone else's shoes and wonder why they decided to do it this way and not another someone else. In short, it takes us out of our comfort zone and helps us to have a broader and richer perspective. 

Content Credit: Krishna Battu

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