Why You Should Automate Your Code Review

Why You Should Automate Your Code Review

hackernoon.com hackernoon.com3 months ago in #Dev Love45

@juli1 Founder of Code Inspector It’s 2020 and there are plenty of tools to help you develop better code. The emergence of DevOps tools and the rise of Artificial Intelligence open up opportunities to automate many aspects of the code review process. In this article, we explain why you should automate your code reviews (even if you develop solo), what are the limitations of these tools and what comes ahead! No matter how experienced you are, there are huge benefits to get your code reviewed. Even the best engineers make stupid mistakes, which is why you want to have any new code reviewed, no matter how experienced the author is. Having your code reviewed brings (at least) two main benefits. The first and obvious benefit is to keep code consistent. By reviewing the code (either by an automated system or a human), you apply a control that guarantees that the code complies with certain standards. It can be about style (number of spaces used before a parenthesis) but also about semantic restrictions (for example, enforcing profiles such as MISRA-C). In addition, each programmer works under their own assumptions. They might have read the specifications incorrectly or have missed a particular constraint (for example, ensure that all functions use the same types in case you do not use a strong typing system). Having a code review helps to catch such mistakes: the reviewer questions the structure of the code against the requirements, which can lead to the discovery of some bugs. There are many other benefits to code reviews and the objective of this article is to focus on automating them. But you should not underestimate the value of code reviews: they are extremely useful to learn a system by reading code from other developers, detect code that could just reuse existing functions (and maximize reusability) or just find big issues (such as buffer overflows).  Unfortunately, code reviews come at a cost. It takes time to complete a code review. Tech companies estimate that engineers dedicate 10% to 20% of their time to code reviews. With a median pay of $105,590 per year, companies pay developers between $10k and $20k just to review code. However, not reviewing code is not an option. Not reviewing code means that more errors are introduced. When tech companies such as Stripe estimate that developers spend 30% of their time fixing bad code and technical debt, you quickly realize that it is better to spend 10% today to fix code than 30% later (without accounting for all the side effects on bad code on maintenance, velocity or reliability). In order to mitigate the cost of code reviews, a good strategy is to automate them. It can offset the cost of code reviews and still provide the same benefits to programmers. Our platform, Code Inspector, automatically analyzes your pull requests and reports all potential issues by annotating or commenting on your pull request. This automation helps the review process and alleviates the cost of code reviews while ensuring code quality. Finally, since integration is at the heart of what we do, our platform is fully integrated with GitHub and Bitbucket! Example of a comment produced by the Code Inspector engine.  » Read More

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