Code reviewing is the process of systematically examining and testing code in the early stages of development to catch elusive bugs, logic problems, and uncovered edge cases. Besides ensuring that you continuously ship quality code to production, code reviews also provide a second opinion on how to implement a solution and a way for developers to understand the company codebase better.
Establishing a strong code review strategy in your software development workflow can also strengthen collaboration, enhance security and help your team develop a standard coding style. Simply put, code reviewing is a great practice with immense benefits, irrespective of your development methodology.
Depending on the size and structure of your team, there are different approaches you can adopt in your code review process. Traditionally, code reviews were done over the shoulder, where a more experienced developer would read through the code and verbally provide suggestions. For distributed teams, the reviewer would initiate a conversation, provide suggestions or point out bugs through a public mail list to the rest of the team. Code reviews can also be performed through pair programming.
While the above methods have worked over the years, the modern workplace recognizes digital collaboration, technology, and tools as the way to create a more agile work environment. Modern code review tools have automated most aspects of the code reviewing process, increasing efficiency and collaboration.
In this article, we will explore what code review tools are; and how they can help you or your team of developers improve the quality of your code without much hassle.
We have already pointed out that code reviewing is an integral part of the software development life cycle, whose primary goal is to minimize bugs and improve code quality.
Code review tools make the code reviewing process efficient by providing a clear structure, automating tasks, and an easier way of integrating code review into your software development process. Code review tools also facilitate code review collaboration and make the entire process transparent and consistent.
Tool-assisted code reviews also streamline communication between developers involved and support documentation of the process. These features could save time, allowing you to focus on creating more features.
A wide range of code review tools are listed on the internet with different features that can meet the needs of just about any team. However, some have overlapping functionalities; thus, choosing the ideal one can be overwhelming. To help you get started with your search for the perfect code review tool below is a highlight of the most popular code review tools and their functionalities.
Crucible by the Atlassian team is a lightweight, collaborative web-based code review platform that enables developers to review code, discuss changes, share knowledge and identify defects across different version control systems such as Helix Core, Git, SVN, and Mercurial.
Its key features include the following:
Crucible has two payment plans tailored for small teams of up to 5 and enterprises with large teams. Both plans have a 30-day trial period. For small teams of up to 5 users, you’ll need to make a one-time payment of $10, while large teams need to make a one-time payment of $1100.
Gerrit is an open-source web-based code review platform by Google with Git-enabled SSH and HTTPS servers compatible with all Git clients. With syntax highlighting and colored differences, you can easily identify old and new files and easily change specific sections.
Other key features include
Gerrit is an open-source tool and is therefore available for free.
Github is the world’s most popular code-hosting platform that lets developers collaborate on projects. With over 83 million reportedly using the platform as of June 2022, Github is perhaps the most popular code-reviewing platform. Beginning with a simple pull request, you can comment on the changes, approve the changes or request further changes before a pull request is merged.
Other notable features.
Sprkl is a Personal Observability platform that provides individual developers with telemetry data and insights about every code change right in the IDE. Powered by OpenTelemetry, we instrument every code change and analyze it upon execution.
We recently launched Sprkl for CI to shorten code review and debugging time by providing a focused, personalized report for every Pull Request. See more profound into the effects of your code diff, including hidden errors, app ripple effect, performance and security insights, diff coverage, and more.
With Sprkl for CI, team leads can benefit from
With Sprkl for CI, dev teams can benefit from
Sprkl Personal Observability platform can also help:
The new personal observability platform currently works with GitHub Actions. You can join the free Beta release of Sprkl for CI here.
Gitlab is an open-source collaborative software development platform providing a range of features such as continuous integration, issue tracking, and team support.
GitLab also enables distributed teams to review code, comment, discuss changes asynchronously, and identify bugs. Using GitLab, you can streamline your development team’s code review and approvals through the approval workflow and inline comments.
Other key features:
GitLab offers a free plan for individual users and a premium package starting at $19/month.
Collaborator by SmartBear is a code and document review software that allows teams to collaborate and produce high-quality documents and code. Using Collaborator, developers can peer-review code, design documents, documentation, test plans, and user stories and easily keep the rest of the team informed on the changes made.
Since every project may have unique requirements, customizable templates and checklists allow you to build peer-review frameworks that work best for your team.
Other Key features:
Embold is a static code analysis platform that allows developers to monitor and manage the quality of their software projects. Embolden analyzes code issues, design issues, metrics, and duplication.
Through integrated and automated workflows for pull requests and commits, you can save time on every code review by quickly viewing the effect of every code change on the quality of your code.
Other Notable Features:
Embold has a free and premium version starting at $4.99/month.
Bitbuckets code review is a code first that allows you to collaborate, find bugs, and merge with confidence. Bitbucket’s code review process allows you can take control and significantly reduce the time to approve using the features below:
Bitbucket offers you a free and standard plan starting at $3 per user per month.
JetBrains space is an all-in-one software development platform integrated with JetBrain’s IDEs. Space has incredible features, such as code review, git hosting, CI/CD pipelines, orchestrating cloud dev environments, chats, and file storage.
Space’s code review feature allows you to establish a customizable and robust code review process that works for you with or without formal rules. With this feature, you can review code before it is merged or after merging a couple of commits to the main branch.
Other features include
Space offers a free and paid plan starting from $8 per user per month
Review Board is a web-based, open-source collaborative tool for reviewing code, PDFs, documents, and graphics all in one place. Review Board has a straightforward interface but can scale to thousands of repositories of all kinds.
Other notable features include
Review Board is an open-source tool and is therefore available for free.
CodeScene is a behavioral code analysis AI tool that helps software development teams identify hidden code risks and provide feedback on code quality and potential issues. Unlike the traditional static code analysis tools that focus on low-level coding verification, CodeScene focuses on helping teams manage technical debt, improve efficiency and make sound architectural decisions.
CodeScene offers standard and pro plans with Cloud and on-premise hosting options for €18 and €27, respectively.
A web-based free code review tool that unites teams to perform effective code reviews, share files, tasks, and comments, and submit final work with this tool. Helix swarm streamlines your entire code review process by helping you ensure that the right people review code on time.
Helix swarm integrates with Helix core for automated code reviews while supporting a collaborative environment that allows users to build, test, and release products faster.
Helix Swarm is free.
An open-source web application that supports online code reviewing. Codestriker will minimize your paperwork by recording all issues, comments, and decisions in a database. Codestriker also supports traditional document reviews, diffs generated by Source Code Management (SCM) systems,s, and plain diffs.
Other notable features:
CodeStriker is an open-source tool under the GPL license and is freely accessible.
Rhodecode is a web-based platform that provides a unified interface for team collaborations on code reviews, discussions, and source code changes to improve code quality. Rhodecode integrated well with SVN, Git, and Mercurial, allowing you and your team to conduct code reviews across all your repositories. You can also use intelligent commits to trigger comments and changesets, share gists and provide feedback with inline code reviews.
The Rhodecode community edition is free and open source. However, the cloud-based version costs $8 per user per month, while the on-premise version costs $75/per year per user.
A code review solution that specializes in server-side code. Visual expert integrates well with the following three major DBMS: SQL Server, PowerBuilder, and Oracle PL/SQL. Visual expert allows teams to collaborate on projects, for instance, during migration or when maintaining a large application.
To further enhance collaboration, once code is reviewed and analyzed on the server side, other team members can access it from a shared repository. Alternatively, any team member can create a project and share it with the rest of the team.
Visual Expert also has a task scheduler that lets you define when to perform code analysis. The Visual Expert server also generates your code documentation. Using the task scheduler, you can define when, how, and where to generate it.
Visual Expert has a free trial. However, a year subscription for the standalone license starts at $495.
Veracode is the leading SaaS applications security company providing multiple security analysis tools on a single platform. Alongside cloud-based enterprise-class application security, seamless integration, and agile security solutions, Veracode also provides cutting-edge automated code-review tools that speed development.
Veracode code review tools help improve your application security from inception to production using a combination of deep expertise, best practices, and cutting-edge technology.
Other code review tools by Veracode include
Codacy is a DevOps intelligence program that automates code reviews and monitors the quality of every pull request and commit. Codacy supports over 40 programming languages, meaning you can integrate Codacy into your workflow.
If you have an existing code review process, Codacy is flexible and can easily adapt to your process. Once you’ve added your git repository, Codacy will automatically detect issues and notify you to take action.
Using Codacy, you can also get visibility into the health of your projects, track their quality over time, know the amount of technical debt and make informed decisions.
You can set up Codacy to run on the cloud by setting up your repository with just a few clicks. Alternatively, you can also opt for the self-hosted plan packed with first-class security on your servers.
Codacy has a Teams package for individual developers and small teams starting from $15/month per user and an enterprise plan whose pricing can be discussed with their sales team.
Reviewable is a lightweight code review and analysis tool to help you and your team get through code reviews quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly. Reviewable seamlessly integrates with Github and Github Enterprise, helping you start your code review immediately.
Other notable features.
Reviewable has a free and open-source plan that is free and an organization plan going for $39 per month for 10 contributors.
CodeFactor is a code analysis and review tool that gives you a glance at the quality of code in your whole project, recent commits, and bug-prone files. CodeFactor also allows you to track fixed and new issues for every pull request or commit you make.
Other features include:
CodeFactor offers a free community plan; the pro plans start at $19 monthly.
Code reviews play a very important role in any software development lifecycle, regardless of the technologies you’re using. Choosing the right code review tool will help you or your team catch elusive bugs, improve code quality and potentially save money and time. In this article, we have highlighted some of the most popular code review tools giving you a good starting point for your search for the right tool for you and your team. However, even a less popular code review tool not listed here can also be the right tool that meets your needs.
A code review tool is a software application that enables a team of developers to automate the process of reviewing code for bugs and vulnerabilities, improving the quality and consistency of the code in the process.
The code review process begins by identifying individuals responsible for reviewing the code. In most setups, experienced developers review code and provide suggestions. However, this can also change depending on the workload of the individuals, project timelines, the size of your team, and the project’s requirements. Finally, you also need to create guidelines on how your team should objectively critique each other’s code and provide constructive feedback.
Every organization can benefit from a streamlined code review process regardless of the existing workflows. Some of the benefits that can be realized through code reviews are:
The most efficient way to conduct code reviews is by leveraging the code review tools we discussed above. However, this can also be coupled with other code-reviewing methods, such as pair programming, walkthroughs by an experienced developer, or using an email to share feedback on a certain piece of code.
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