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What is Code Review?

Code review is an integral part of modern design and development, helping teams produce better code and better products. By making effective use of code review, your product can be more:

  • Maintainable, by encouraging buy-in on architecture and designs.

  • Consistent in quality, by ensuring conventions are followed.

  • Secure, by making human and automated security checks part of the process.

  • Bug-free, as best as humanly and machinely possible.

Code review dramatically helps in the quality of products. By catching issues early, a lot of potentially expensive problems can be avoided.

High-quality code reviews can lead to high-quality products. Review Board has been helping companies achieve this since 2006.

Approaches to Code Review

There are many approaches to code review. Most companies will make use of a combination of these approaches to achieve the highest-quality code:

  • Peer code review / human code review: Code is reviewed by another person, usually someone on the same team or someone responsible for the code being modified.

    People are an important part of the code review process, helping shape the architecture and design of the code, spotting usability problems, and making suggestions based on experience and procedure.

  • Automated code review: Code is reviewed through lint, static code analysis, automated testing, or continuous integration tools.

    Automated tools can catch easy-to-miss mistakes, scan for security vulnerabilities, ensure code compliance, and make sure all your tests pass. This is best paired with peer/human code review.

    Products such as Review Bot or services such as CircleCI or Travis-CI can help manage your automated reviews.

    See Automated Code Reviews.

  • Pre-commit review: Code is reviewed before being pushed to a central codebase.

    The code is developed locally, put up for review, and is only pushed to the repository after approved by reviewers.

    See Using Pre-Commit Review.

  • Post-commit review: Code is reviewed after being pushed to a central codebase.

    The code is committed to the repository first. Then, at some point later, the code is reviewed. Any fixes that need to be made are then pushed back to the repository later.

    See Using Post-Commit Review.