The Software Engineer’s Complete Guide to Code Quality

By Alex Omeyer

Code reviews are of paramount importance in ensuring good code and providing a way to locate problems so that they can be fixed as early as possible. They can also ensure the consistency and reliability of the software you’re building. For companies who have adopted a DevOps way of life, code reviews are par for the course and are already embedded in the process as early as possible. The earlier you find errors, the faster, easier, and cheaper they are to resolve.

bar chart of responses to SmartBear survey question on the most important benefits of code review
bar chart of responses to SmartBear survey question on the most important benefits of code review

SmartBear Software conducted a global online survey over the course of ten weeks during the months of June and July 2020, with responses from over 740 software developers, testers, IT/operations professionals, and business leaders across 20 different industries. The respondents rated code reviews as the best way to boost code quality.

bar chart of responses to SmartBear survey question on the business drivers of code review
bar chart of responses to SmartBear survey question on the business drivers of code review

The survey also showed improving code quality as the topic business driver to influence the need for code review tools.

Additionally, more than 80% of developers surveyed said satisfaction with code review processes is directly tied to confidence in the overall quality of software releases.

Besides code review, respondents cited unit, continuous, and functional testing of code as among the best steps for improving quality. Continuous integration and integration were also cited as best practices for software development.

In terms of cadence, roughly 63% of respondents participate in some form of code review, at least on a weekly basis. When it came to frequency and which approach is used, 27% of respondents cited tool-based code review on a daily basis and 19% noted a weekly basis.

Overall, code review ensures code meets the attributes that were mentioned earlier as markers of good code. A code review ensures code is efficient, bug-free, and adheres to standards. Overall, it aims to catch problems early before problems multiply.

Code reviews can be conducted in a variety of ways, including manual reviews, pair programming, mentoring, and the use of shared documents for easy review. However, all of these methods can be time intensive, and code review tools provide a way to automate the process.