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From "Till Westmann" <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Improving reviews
Date Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:40:33 GMT
On 6 Dec 2016, at 10:33, abdullah alamoudi wrote:

> Ceej,
> You spoke my mind and I agree with every word. I believe the way to go 
> is smoother code review process (maybe through time limit) and more 
> focus on automated testing. One thing we could do is:
> If the 72 hours period pass with no comments, we look at the code 
> coverage and how much it improved and based on that, either allow the 
> change in or deny it. This will push change submitters to add tests to 
> increase coverage even before the 72h limit passes.

I’ve seen very strange things being done to achieve some desired code 
coverage numbers - I don’t think that that’s a good approach to 
replace a thinking human in the loop.

> This doesn't remove the responsibility of doing the review. The review 
> is still to be done. However as Ceej said: One of the goals of doing 
> the reviews is to catch large scale design errors. Those I think still 
> need humans to look at but they can be caught fairly quickly with 
> minimal effort.

I don’t think that that’s right. If good design was easy to 
achieve/bad design was easy to spot we wouldn’t even need to discuss 
it. I don’t think that anybody would submit something they consider to 
be "bad design" on purpose …

> As for spreading the knowledge, will leave that to a different 
> discussion. I will end this with some tweets about code simplicity and 
> changes taken from Max Kanat-Alexander, author of Code Simplicity:
> 1. You don't have to be perfect. If you make a bad change, just fix 
> it. (mistakes will happen with or without reviews)
> 2. If somebody is improving code quality, don't shoot them down 
> because their improvement isn't perfect. (to reviewers)
> 3. The point is to have a maintainable system, not to show how clever 
> you are. (to submitters)
> 4. Code quality isn't something you fix once and it stays good 
> forever. It's something you learn to do and continue doing.
> 5. Engineers don't beg, "Please let me build a bridge that will stay 
> up." You shouldn't need permission to write good software.
> 6. Anybody who tells you that you can fix years of bad code in months 
> or days is a liar.
> 7. Even huge codebases can be refactored incrementally.
> 8. Sometimes a refactoring will break something. Often, this proves 
> that the code was too fragile and so needed the refactoring!
> 9. If your code "works," but it's an unstable pile of complexity, do 
> you feel good about it?
> 10. Refactoring is often easier and more rewarding than you expect.
> 11. Don't try to write "perfect" code, just write *better* code until 
> you have *good* code.
> 12. Don't worry about how to do the perfect refactoring. Just keep 
> improving the code in small steps.
> I am glad we're talking about this. Cheers,
> ~Abdullah.
>> On Dec 5, 2016, at 11:13 PM, Chris Hillery <> 
>> wrote:
>> It's always been my opinion that code reviews are a very 
>> nice-to-have, but
>> not more than that. The real value in proposing changes for review 
>> comes
>> from the automated testing that can be performed at that stage. I 
>> think
>> we'd be better served overall by shoring up and expanding our 
>> automated
>> testing rather than spending time discussing and implementing 
>> non-technical
>> process.
>> The main benefits of code reviews are catching large-scale design 
>> errors
>> and spreading code knowledge. You can't really have the former until 
>> you
>> already have the latter - if only one person really understands an 
>> area,
>> nobody else will be able to catch design errors in that area. That's
>> clearly a risky place to be, but IMHO at least it's not a problem 
>> that can
>> be solved through rules. It requires a cultural shift from the team 
>> to make
>> spreading code knowledge an actual priority, rather than someone 
>> everyone
>> wants but nobody has time or interest to achieve.
>> If we as a team don't have the drive to do that, then we should 
>> accept that
>> about ourselves and move on. You'll always do best spending time on
>> enhancing the strengths of a team, not fighting against the things 
>> they
>> don't excel at. I'm also not trying to make any kind of value 
>> judgment here
>> - software development is always about tradeoffs and compromise, risk
>> versus goals. Any time taken to shift focus towards spreading code
>> knowledge will by necessity pull from other parts of the development
>> process, and the upshot may well not be an overall improvement in
>> functionality or quality.
>> Ceej
>> aka Chris Hillery
>> On Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 10:49 PM, Till Westmann <> 
>> wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> today a few of us had a discussion about how we could make the 
>>> reviewing
>>> process moving along a little smoother. The goal is to increase the
>>> likeliness
>>> that the reviews and review comments get addressed reasonably 
>>> quickly. To
>>> do
>>> that, the proposal is to
>>> a) try to keep ourselves to some time limit up to which a reviewer 
>>> or
>>> author
>>>   responds to a review or a comment and to
>>> a) regularly report via e-mail about open reviews and how long they 
>>> have
>>> been
>>>   open (Ian already has filed an issue to automate this [1]).
>>> Of course one is not always able to spend the time to do a thorough 
>>> review
>>> [2]
>>> / respond fully to comments, but in this case we should aim to let 
>>> the
>>> other
>>> participants know within the time limit that the task is not 
>>> feasible so
>>> that
>>> they adapt their plan accordingly.
>>> The first proposal for the time limit would be 72h (which is taken 
>>> from the
>>> minimal time that a [VOTE] stays open to allow people in all 
>>> different
>>> locations and timezones to vote).
>>> Another goal would be to abandon reviews, if nobody seems to be 
>>> working on
>>> them
>>> for a while (and we’d need to find out what "a while" could be).
>>> Thoughts on this?
>>> A good idea or too much process?
>>> Is the time limit reasonable?
>>> Please let us know what you think (ideally more than a +1 or a -1 
>>> ...)
>>> Cheers,
>>> Till
>>> [1]
>>> [2] 

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