The Evolution of Code Reviews: A Better Tomorrow
In this second part of the evolution of code review, we explore the impact of emerging trends in application development. Discover the significance of the shift-left approach, the challenges posed by microservice architectures, and the rise of DevOps-related concepts like GitOps. Embrace change management and explore tools like ReviewPad that automate and streamline the code review process, ensuring swift and confident deployments for your applications.
This is the 2nd part of a 2-part series on the evolution of code reviews. If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 here. In the first part of this series we saw how code reviews were performed in the early days of application development, and how the process if stressed could result in major issues and disruptions. The story of the London Stock Exchange and … is just a couple of examples from a long list of stories where companies suffered because of their outdated or faulty code review process.
In this second part, we will go over some of the trends that have come up in the world of application development. By understanding these trends we will be able to understand the needs for the future of the code review process. So lets continue on our journey.
Emerging Trends and Their Impact on Code Reviews
Over the past decade, with the DevOps revolution kicking off, we have seen many emerging trends that have redefined how applications are developed and how code goes through development to review to production. Many of these trends, coming, have had an impact on the overall code review process, and it's necessary to understand these trends to understand what lies next.
The Whole Org Shifts-left
Shift-left advocates for quality control measures of code to occur sooner in the development process, near the time code is being written. This approach enables teams to quickly spot and address any issues, reducing the possibility of defects and enhancing the general standard of the software. As a result, code reviews became essential to software release as the QA testing phase merged into the code review phase. No longer was it enough just to ensure that the code was compliant and met set standards but also that it worked and did not result in any regression.
The Rise of Microservice Architectures
Microservices architecture became popular due to its ability to allow for more flexible, scalable, and agile software development compared to monolithic architecture.
However, with the microservice paradigm, it does become difficult to track how different services are related to one another, especially as your application scales. As a result, a change in one service could affect and even disrupt another.
So it became necessary that these dependencies are realized during the code review process. Some of the related services to the service experiencing the change may be extremely sensitive to disruptions and downtime as per the business goals set. Putting more significance on an effective and clean code review process.
DevOps, GitOps, NoOps…Why?
With the rise of the DevOps concept, concepts under its umbrella also emerged. These included concepts such as GitOps, AIOps, and even NoOps. Whatever type of “Ops” you may adopt, the goal is the same. Increase the velocity of product development while maintaining the availability and stability of the application.
Overall, what is expected is the use of automation wherever possible, combined with the shift-left mentality, to aid in the two goals mentioned. We have seen now how the significance of code reviews increased due to other emerging trends. With the “Ops” trend, we tried to lessen the pressure on the code review stage using automation to ensure that changes could roll out quickly but also safely with high confidence that it's not going to break anything.
The Future of Code Review
Considering the various trends in the application development space, one thing that becomes clear is that pushing changes with a high degree of confidence is key. This is where the concept of change management arises.
Change management is identifying, planning, and implementing changes in an organized and systematic way. It helps organizations deal effectively with change, minimize disruption, and maximize the benefits of change initiatives. Change management includes various activities, such as identifying the need for change, assessing the impact of change, communicating change to stakeholders, implementing change, and monitoring the results.
By realizing the need for change management, it becomes clear why new paradigms, such as Fluid Pull Requests, are gaining momentum when it comes to adoption.
Fluid Pull Requests are an advanced form of the Pull Request method utilized in software development. In the traditional Pull Request system, a developer submits code modifications for review and evaluation by the repository managers. Fluid Pull Requests attempt to resolve these challenges by modifying the code review process based on the risk of the change.
Risk could depend on multiple factors such as how the service being affected is related to other services. The type of change of whether it is a config change or a change in the front, and the number of incidents reported by the team performing the change.
Depending on the outcome of this assessment, various code review procedures can be established and automated to either lessen or increase the rigor of the code review process. For instance, if an important security patch is added, it might be necessary to include the security team in the code review process.
This is exactly the methodology that a team performing change management needs. Any tooling employed could instill confidence in accepting the change, and even automatically merge the pull requests when the risk score is lower below a certain threshold. Increasing both velocity and stability of the application development life cycle.
This is why we are seeing increased adoption of tools such as ReviewPad that automate the review process and instill confidence in code changes. Reducing the need for manual intervention and overall reducing the time it takes for customers to see value in the applications you are developing.
The rise of various trends such as DevOps-related concepts, developing in the cloud, and new architecture paradigms such as microservices greatly increased the importance of code review, making it a possible bottleneck to the entire application lifecycle. As a result further is tools such as ReviewPad, which enable you to perform change management with the speed and confidence required.