Code reviews are an important part of the development process for many teams. One of the big reasons teams use them is to give reviewers the chance to identify mistakes in code before it is merged into the rest of the codebase, but they’re also a great way to share knowledge about the application with the team and boost productivity.
Increasing Code Consistency
There are a ton of ways to write good code. That being said, software development is a complex process, and the complexity increases when not everyone is speaking the same language.
Code reviews provide a quick way to identify patterns that developers on the project are using. This can show the reviewer how a certain type of problem can be solved. When that developer goes on to implement similar functionality, he or she will already have seen the patterns used and will be better equipped to write code in a similar style.
Consistent code makes it easier to transition to different pieces of a codebase. With consistent and clearly defined testing patterns, levels of abstraction, use of libraries, and language features, it’s much easier to dive into someone else’s code–even if it’s not code you’ve previously seen.
Using Code Reviews as a Tool for Learning
Code reviews can also be used to share knowledge. When I implement a piece of functionality that differs greatly from the rest of the codebase, I like to have the whole team review it as a way of showing them how it works.
I’ve found that reviewing others’ code on my project can be a really efficient way for me to learn how each piece of the application works. Another team member implemented the first endpoint on an API? I get to see how it was done. Someone brought in a new dependency? I see how it’s used.
When the whole team plays a role in code reviews, knowledge is shared, and consistency increases. The review itself may feel like overhead, but the long-term value it provides makes up for the time it takes to review.