Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Code Presentations or Code Reviews

When I sit down and participate in a code review, I get annoyed when the person who's code I'm reviewing just sits back and says "Here you go, have at it." That communicates to me that they are not a participant in the review and they're not taking pride in their work. When someone sits down to review my code, I actually prepare for the review and I think a moment about the best way to present it to them. I almost feel like I'm trying to sell my code to them, although I recognize that it's not about "selling" anything, but sharing knowledge and finding alternative solutions. I am more in the driver seat when someone is reviewing my code because I'm interested in their input and want to know if they see any problems. Part of the problem with poorly executed code reviews may be because they're one sided, and thus the concept of what a code review is and why we have them is not in line.

I'm going to throw myself out there and ask, what if I called it a Code Presentation? That puts more emphasis on the person who wrote the code than the person reviewing it. If someone were to say "Hey, can you come by so I can present my code to you?", they may prepare a little more and think more about how the code looks to an outsider rather than just getting the code to work.

I know, words are words. What you call something doesn't change what it is. I can call the chair you're sitting on an ice-cream cone if I wanted; it's still a chair. However, what you call something may change the perception of what it is, even though it's still the same thing. That change in perception may be enough to close the gap on the reason behind code reviews.

Dumb? Interesting? Pointless? I'd like to know your thoughts on this.

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