If you are working in an agile environment, you may have come across the term ‘code review’. It is a strategic operation where you break the source code into snippets in order to audit the code before it is moved to the testing phase.
What Is Code Review?
Short definition: Code review may be defined as two-way communication between a coder and a reviewer. The agenda is to learn from one another, understand the application, detect the bugs, and ensure that the code follows the quality standards.
Long definition: It is a quality assurance process in which a tester analyzes the source code of the application under review. This may be performed either manually or with the help of automated code review tools. The process ensures that bugs are detected and resolved early, and also ensures the best possible code quality.
The Need For Code Review
You may wonder why you would need code review when you have a testing plan in place?
Following are the key benefits that will enable you to understand the importance of code reviews:
1. Find More Bugs: Code review lets you detect bugs at the primary stages of development. As a result, you save a lot of hours and effort during testing. True is the fact that automation testing will help you do the same thing. However, a human perspective is sometimes necessary to find and fix logical errors.
2. Stay Agile: Given the strict quality guidelines and timelines we need to work in, you must have, or would soon be adhering to the agile methodologies. This means you need to deliver the best results while meeting the cost and time constraints. With code review, you can create bug-free prototypes and share them with the stakeholders.
3. Quality Compliance: Code reviews lets you abide by the predefined coding rules and standards.
4. Collaboration: Frequent review sessions will bring out the best of your developers and testers. Team members can discover their peer’s strengths and also assist them in improvements.
Role Of A Software Tester In Code Reviews
A software tester might find the code a bit intimidating in the beginning.
It is best to pair up with an experienced developer for code reviewing. Gradually, when the tester is able to identify the patterns and business logic, things start making sense eventually.
Code reviewing enables the testers to understand the core functionalities of the project and share their wisdom to resolve the bottlenecks.
Getting Started With Code Reviews
Here are a few tried-and-tested ways by which you can begin your code reviewing experience:
1. Synchronous Review: An informal review where the developer stands next to the reviewer.
2. Asynchronous review: Specialized tools are used to review the code.
3. Instant Review: Developer and reviewer pair-up on a single system.
4. Once-a-while: Developer shares the code with the reviewers who meet and discuss the updates.
As a software tester, you would ask the following questions during your code reviewing session:
1. How was this code written?
2. Are there any patterns used for coding?
3. Is the code easy to understand?
4. Are there any logic errors?
5. Is the code secure?
6. Is the log file for debugging available?
7. Are there any third-party integrations?
8. Are unit tests included?
9. What amendments are being made?
The best part is that you don’t have to be an expert in order to take part in a code review session. You can review a code even if you are at the basic level of coding. What would be your role? You need to see what changes have been made to ask questions.
Before you dive in, get used to the process by initiating with minimal changes. Understand more about them and when you doubt any change, add your comments and question the coder. Given the benefits, you would want to include code reviewing as one of the key phases of the process. This will ensure that you deliver a quality product that adds value to your end-users.
Code reviews, if done right, can prove to be an effective way to share knowledge and understand your application. With time and experience, you will eventually start realizing the patterns, know more about the nuts and bolts of the codebase, and have a comprehensive perspective of the application.
Just like code reviews, tests are also reviewed. Manual test cases can be reviewed by peers, developers and managers. Similarly, automated test cases can be reviewed too. Sometimes, the processes for reviews of automated test cases are the same as that for code reviews as automation may also be done via code.
Testsigma, a cloud-based test automation tool has also simplified the process of test reviews. In addition, it also simplifies the process of test automation. Thus, in test automation and reviews – non-technical members of the team can be involved too.