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Code Reviews

Do you hold regular code reviews at Fog Creek Software? If so, what format do they follow?

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Thursday, February 26, 2004

We've tended to do three things that count as "code reviews":

* As products get closer to shipping (e.g. after the first beta goes out), check-ins to fix bugs are reviewed by another programmer. This is very easy to do because of the way FogBUGZ integrates with souce control systems.... when a programmer fixes a bug, they resolve it in FogBUGZ, commit the change, and link the check-in to the bug by typing "BUGZID:1234" in the commit log. Then they assign the bug to another programmer with the comment "for review". The other programmer gets the bug and clicks on the checkin to see side-by-side graphical diffs of the change.

* If a product is already shipping and we are rolling out a live change (e.g. an emergency fix to the ecommerce system), we do pair programming to get "continuous review." This happens about once a month -- don't get me wrong, I don't think pair programming is right for all code, just code where you don't have a safety net.

* New programmers, interns, etc.--- whenever they check something in it is exhaustively reviewed by a more senior developer who gives them copious feedback.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Thursday, February 26, 2004

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