Good Code Review Etiquette

8 January, 2023


Code review is an essential part of the development process, as it helps to ensure that code is of high quality and adheres to coding standards. However, it's important to remember that code review is also a conversation, and as such, it's important to follow some basic etiquette to ensure that the conversation is productive and respectful. Here are some tips for good code review etiquette:

Be respectful and constructive

Code review can be a sensitive process, as it involves criticism of someone's work. It's important to remember to be respectful and constructive in your feedback. Avoid personal attacks and focus on the code itself. Offer suggestions for improvement rather than just pointing out problems.

Be specific and clear

When providing feedback, be specific and clear about what you're suggesting. Avoid vague comments like "this could be better" or "not sure about this." Instead, provide specific examples and explanations for your suggestions. This will help the author understand your perspective and make it easier for them to make changes.

Focus on the code, not the person

Code review is about the code, not the person who wrote it. Avoid making personal comments or attributing problems to the author's ability or skill level. Keep the focus on the code and how it can be improved.

Keep an open mind

Code review is a two-way conversation, and it's important to keep an open mind. Be willing to consider the perspectives of others and be open to the possibility that your own suggestions may not be the best solution.

Be timely

Code review can be a time-sensitive process, especially in fast-paced development environments. Be sure to review code in a timely manner and provide feedback promptly so that the development process can move forward efficiently.

Follow the style guide

Most projects have a style guide that outlines conventions for things like naming conventions, indentation, and commenting. It's important to follow the style guide when reviewing code to ensure that the code is consistent and easy to read.

Avoid nitpicking

While it's important to pay attention to details, it's also important to keep the big picture in mind. Avoid nitpicking minor issues that don't significantly impact the functionality or readability of the code.

Don't let code review drag on

While it's important to be thorough in code review, it's also important to keep things moving. If you have extensive feedback or suggestions, consider breaking them up into smaller chunks or discussing them in person to avoid dragging out the code review process.

Thank the author

Finally, be sure to thank the author for their work and effort. Code review can be a challenging process, and a little appreciation can go a long way.

By following these tips for good code review etiquette, you can ensure that the code review process is productive, respectful, and ultimately results in better code.