Whenever you look for a chance to make the development process as efficient as possible, a code review will appear to be a handy tool. It comes as an essential part of application development letting you proceed with the most accurate product quality measurement and analysis. This time, we will talk about using GitLab merge requests to enable code reviews and improve the workflow.
But firstly, we will speak of some pitfalls that may occur during the development process in case ignoring the code review.
Developers’ team travel level of expertise
As a rule, developing a product may require from 1 to 3 developers. They are not of the same level and traditionally divided into three main categories in accordance with their level of expertise. Those categories include:
- Junior developers;
- Middle developers;
- Senior developers.
This classification does not mean that a junior developer is not able to write a high-quality code while a senior developer does not always mean professionalism and necessary experience level.
On the other hand, every person is different when it comes to creativity and approach. At the same time, they may have different working habits and preferences. Programmers may write the same code in a different way making it possible for other programmers to figure out their piece of code.
Many factors may influence the quality of code. They include not only the level of experience and expertise. A programmer can suffer from headaches or a lack of sleep. He can fail to find a new source of inspiration for creativity. Motivation also matters when it comes to working stimulation. The most important thing is that every person has individual and unique brain structure as well as features of character.
A code review will let you solve various problems and can appear to be a good starting point when increasing the efficiency of the development process.
In case you ignore doing a cod review:
- A programmer may not fit the goals of the team and start writing a personal code. It can appear to be a huge disadvantage if he is assigned to write only a part of the code. Cooperating with other developers means working in a team unless a developer works on his own project. Every programmer should consider the possibility to create huge problems for other developers who will later review the code. Moreover, such approach may result in higher costs for the client who will desperately spend time to figure out some hidden in the line issues;
- Not all teammates will benefit from a full and clear picture of the entire code. You will hardly appreciate the product acting like a blind kitten in a dark room;
- You will never be able to find some hidden pieces in the code. Only the author is able to determine those issues;
- You will hardly be able to fix the code at once and find its weak points;
- The programmer is not responsible for any errors and bugs in the code;
- There are no chances for developers to gain additional valuable experience and essential code writing skills to develop their background;
- The longer you work on a bad code, the more problems it will bring in future including the QA testing stage;
- Junior developer will be eventually accused of all coding crimes in the world;
- A new developer in the team may turn into the biggest threat for the entire project;
- Imagine that you leave the code out of control for three months. How do you think, is it possible to refactor the project? Of course, not.
All the above-mentioned factors are another witness in favor of code reviews. Neglecting them means facing numerous problems in future during the process.
What are code review basic principles?
Doing code reviews means following some general issues and basic principles. They traditionally include:
- Displaying code parts on the wall of blackboard so that every team member could see it;
- Avoid using huge parts of the code when doing reviews. Take some small pieces and divide them into groups like improvement, bug fixing, task, etc.;
- Send the code to the testing stage only in case it successfully passes the review;
- Involve all programmers and developers to the review in spite of their level and position in the team.
It’s high time we got acquainted with GitLab code review tools.
Code reviews via gitlab merge request tools
Whenever you merge the code from one branch to another, you use a merge request.
Here are some basic parameters necessary to consider:
- Title & Description;
- Source & Target Branch.
Follow these steps when using merge requests:
- Push a newly written code to a separate branch.
- The next stage includes creating a merge request for the main branch. Indicate everyone necessary in the description field to be notified as well as the assignee. Enter the “@” symbol to mention a needed developer.
- Developers may leave comments, accept or decline the request.
- Discuss all bad code pieces and think of an efficient bug fixing strategy.
- Fix the bugs.
- Add all necessary changes to the branch.
- Inform all other developers about the changes made in the code. You can use the commenting tool as well as a report about any changes directly or via messenger.
Gitlab merge requests fail to respond
Error 500 may occur when using GitLab tools. Whenever you face such problem, it means that server needs a thorough reconfiguration. The problem can be solved with the help of your system administrator. Unfortunately, the error may appear due to various reasons. There is no magic formula to fix it. At the same time, there are some basic ways to solve the problem:
The first thing you may do is to implement a bigger than default value for timeout and max_size parameters. The first one refers to the time of the response. It also defines a time necessary to complete a merge request.
The second parameter is necessary to set the maximum size pf the GitLab repository.
Reset the GitLab satellites repository. You will need to clean and generate it again.
Whom should you assign to a merge request?
It all depends on the number of developers in your team as well as some other factors. You need to consider their skills and expertise level. On the other hand, you can be the only programmer. In this case, you should indicate only yourself in the field. Moreover, it is always easier to find errors and bugs in your own piece of code. Never stop searching and you will always find them!
If two or more developers working on the project, GitLab lets you assign the merge request to each of your teammates. You are free to choose from a number of developers you want to assign the request as well.
Whenever you want to benefit from a high-quality code, the best bet is to review it at least two times a day. Do it before starting the work and at the end of the working day. Discuss the most appropriate time with other developers. The key to success is constant cooperation of every programmer in spite of his or her rate and level.
A constant code review will let you:
- Detect and solve any problems in the code;
- Divide all responsibilities among your teammates according to their contribution to the project;
- Share skills and knowledge to write the code better and faster;
- Provide junior developers with more operation practice;
- Send only high-quality code [pieces to the testing stage;
- Avoid accumulation of the bad code;
- New developer in the team is no longer a threat to the project;
- All developers are well-aware of their own code pieces as well as the entire code;
- Deliver a high-quality product to the market.
Hope those were handy tips. Good luck!