On the understanding of programs with continuous code reviews


Code reviews are a very effective, but effortful quality assurance technique. A major problem is to read and understand source-code that was produced by someone else. With different programming styles and complex interactions, understanding the code under review is the most expensive sub-task of a code review. As with many other modern software engineering practices, code reviews may be applied as a continuous process to reduce the effort and support the concept of collective ownership. This study evaluates the effect of a continuous code review process on the understandability and collective ownership of the code base. A group of 8 subjects performed a total of 114 code reviews within 18 months in an industrial context and conducted an expert evaluation according to this research question. This study concludes that there is a clear positive effect on the understandability and collective ownership of the code base with continuous code reviews, but also limiting factors and drawbacks for complex review tasks.

Talk: 21st International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC 2013), San Francisco, USA; 05-20-2013 - 05-21-2013; in: “Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Program Comprehension”, H. Kagdi et al. (ed.); Conference Publishing Consulting, Passau, Germany (2013), ISBN: 978-1-4673-3092-3; 192 - 198
Thomas Grechenig
Thomas Grechenig
Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.