Adopting code reviews for agile software development

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  • 1. Mario Bernhart, Andreas Mauczka, Thomas Grechenig Research Group for Industrial Software (INSO) Vienna University of Technology, Austria www.inso.tuwien.ac.at
  • 2. Introduction
    • Code reviews have many benefits, most importantly to find bugs early [1, 2, 3]
    • It is commonly accepted that code reviews are resource-intensive [4]
    • Due to the lack of time and resources many (agile) software development teams do not perform traditional code reviews [5]
    • Code reviews support knowledge sharing [18] and collective code ownership [22]
  • 3. Code reviews in agile environm.
    • Formal reviews such as the IEEE1028 [2] tend to be too heavyweight in agile contexts [4, 5]
    • There is a growing interest in code reviews and review tools in the agile community [24]
    • An empirical study [25] proposes a combination of pair programming and code reviews
    •  Q: How to adopt traditional code reviews to support reviews in an agile environment?
  • 4. Indust. case: context & problem
    • EHR exchange service for hospitals
    • Agile software development project, 24 months, Team of 7, sprint length 4 weeks
    • Planned code reviews for 4 days at the end of each sprint :
      • 1d inspection, 2d rework, 1d re-inspection
    •  Reviews were mostly challenged or skipped due to time and resource lack especially at the end of the sprint
  • 5. Adoption strategy
    • Make the reviews a continuous task
    • Make each review task smaller
    • Create review tasks automatically based on individual team rules
    • Make review asynchronous and support distributed reviewing
    • Provide a first-class IDE integration for developers
    •  Continuous Changeset-Based Review CCBR
  • 6. CCBR description
    • Setup = List of (author, reviewer, filter)
      • E.g. (Peter, Mike, *) + (*, Chris, *test*.java) + …
    • Continuous review workflow:
      • The developer commits to the SCM
      • If there is a matching rule: review task is auto-created
      • The review is executed by using the compare-view to the previous version of the change-set
      • The review result is consumed by the author
      • A (negative) review result is followed up and may create a corrective task for the author
  • 7. CCBR attributes
    • Process Coherence
      • Review is done shortly after the development
      • Rework is done shortly after the original work
      •  “ It's All about Feedback and Change” [23]
    • Information Coherence
      • Changes within one timeframe often correlate [15]
    • Task size
      • small, typically <200 LOC per review task
  • 8. CCBR vs. traditional reviews (TR) Inspection Re-work Re-inspection t t Development effort Development effort Inspection, re-work and re-inspection effort TR CCBR
  • 9. Limitations of CCBR
    • TR sees the „whole“ whereas CCBR only refers to a „small piece“
    • Focus on a stable state (TR) vs. the creation process (CCBR)
    • The sum of changed lines in TR < CCBR
      • one line of code may be changed more than once
    • Pre-commit reviews vs. Post-commit reviews
  • 10. Review Tool for CCBR
    • Eclipse integrated easy to use UI
    • Review scope = one changeset in the SVN
    • No additional server (XML/SVN based)
    • Works offline
    • Works with Subversive and Subclipse
    • Flexible filtered review assignments
    • Create Mylyn tasks out of (bad) reviews
    • Freeware , 10.000+ downloads
      • www.inso.tuwien.ac.at/projects/reviewclipse/
  • 11. ReviewClipse Screenshot
  • 12. ReviewClipse Screenshot
  • 13. Planned Empirical Evaluation
    • Research Questions
      • Is CCBR equally effective as TR?
      • Is CCBR equally efficient as TR?
      • Is the rework effort of CCBR < TR?
    • Plan
      • Prestudy with 3/3 and 6 subjects of A and B
      • A: In parallel study 30/30 (targets question 1 + 2)
      • B: In serial study 60 (targets question 3)
  • 14. Future Work – Mylyn Reviews
    • Mylyn Reviews is a task-based code review plugin that integrates with Mylyn
    • Main Features:
      • Do code reviews based on Mylyn tasks
      • Incorporate the review tasks in the Mylyn task list
      • Provide inline-commenting for source code reviews
      • Framework for other review tool integrations
    • www.eclipse.org/reviews
  • 15. References
    • M. Fagan, “Design and code inspections to reduce errors in program development,” IBM Systems Journal , vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 182–211, 1976.
    • IEEE standard for software reviews and audits. IEEE STD 1028-2008, pages 1–52, 8 2008.
    • R. Baker, “Code reviews enhance software quality,” In Proceedings of the 1997 (19th) International Conference on Software Engineering , pp. 570–571, May 1997.
    • M. Ciolkowski, O. Laitenberger, and S. Biffl. “Software reviews, the state of the practice.” Software, IEEE, 20(6):46–51, Nov.-Dec. 2003.
    • L. Harjumaa, I. Tervonen, and A. Huttunen. “Peer reviews in real life - motivators and demotivators.” Fifth Int.Conference on Quality Software , 2005, pages 29–36, Sept. 2005.
    • J. Remillard. “Source code review systems.” IEEE Software, 22(1):74-77, Jan.-Feb. 2005.
    • B. Meyer. “Design and code reviews in the age of the internet.” Commun. ACM, 51(9):66–71, 2008.
    • M. Bernhart, C. Mayerhofer, T. Grechenig, “ReviewClipse - Supporting Code-Reviews within the Eclipse IDE”. Talk at EclipseCon 2009
    • M. Stein, J. Riedl, S. J. Harner, and V. Mashayekhi, “A case study of distributed, asynchronous software inspection,” in ICSE ’97: Proceedings of the 19th international conference on Software engineering , (New York, NY, USA), pp. 107–117, ACM, 1997.
    • L.-T. Cheng, C. R. de Souza, S. Hupfer, J. Patterson, and S. Ross, “Building collaboration into IDEs,” Queue, vol. 1, no. 9, pp. 40–50, 2004.
    • C. R. Prause and S. Apelt, “An approach for continuous inspection of source code,” in Proceedings of the 6th int. workshop on Software quality , (New York, NY, USA), pp. 17–22, ACM, 2008.
    • S. P. Berczuk, “Software configuration management patterns - Effective Teamwork”, Practical Integration. Addison-Wesley, 2003.
    • Kersten, M. and Murphy, G. C. “Using task context to improve programmer productivity.” In Proceedings of the 14th ACM SIGSOFT international Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (Portland, Oregon, USA, November 05 - 11, 2006). SIGSOFT '06/FSE-14. ACM, New York, NY, 1-11.
    • B. W. Boehm, Software Engineering Economics. Prentice-Hall, 1981.
    • T. Zimmermann, P. Weißgerber, S. Diehl, and A. Zeller. „Mining Version Histories to Guide Software Changes.” Saarland University, September 2003. Proc. 26th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) , Edinburgh, UK, May 2004.
    • A. Porter, H. Siy, A. Mockus, and L. Votta, “Understanding the sources of variation in software inspections,” ACM Trans. Softw. Eng. Methodol., vol. 7, no. 1 , pp. 41–79, 1998.
    • M. Stein, J. Riedl, S. J. Harner, and V. Mashayekhi, “A case study of distributed, asynchronous software inspection.” in ICSE ’97: Proceedings of the 19th international conference on Software engineering , (New York, NY, USA), pp. 107–117, ACM, 1997.
    • T. Gilb, D. Graham, and S. Finzi. “Software Inspection.” Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc. Boston, MA, USA, 1993.
    • C. Mayerhofer. “Design and Development of a Module for Change-Set Based Code Reviews in IDEs” Master Thesis, Vienna University of Technology, 2009.
    • Y. Mizuno. “Software quality improvement ,” Computer, vol. 16 , pp. 66–72, März 1983.
    • M.Bernhart, C. Mayerhofer, T. Grechenig. „ReviewClipse@Class - Using a Lightweight Continuous Software Reviewing Tool in Undergraduate Software Development Education“ – to appear in Proceedings of the 23rd Annual IEEE-CS Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training
    • M. E. Nordberg III, &quot;Managing Code Ownership,&quot; IEEE Software , pp. 26-33, March/April, 2003
    • Williams, L. and Cockburn, A. Agile Software Development: It's All about Feedback and Change, IEEE Computer, Vol. 36, No., 6, pp. 83-85, June 2003.
    • W. Seliga, S. Ginter, “Effective code reviews in agile teams” Talk at Agile 2009
    • D. Winkler and S. Biffl. “An empirical study on design quality improvement from best-practice inspection and pair programming.” Product-Focused Software Process Improvement, pages 319–333, 2006.
    • P. Grünbacher, M. Halling, and S. Biffl. “An empirical study on groupware support for software inspection meetings.” Automated Software Engineering, International Conference on, 0:4, 2003.