Google’s internal code review tool

Recently at my work, someone asked, why do we keep lacking unit tests? Now there are many varied reasons for this and the discussion can go on forever, but I should say, that there is an understanding amongst us that unit tests as well as other tests (ie user acceptance) needs to be done after an item is completed.

The problem as I see it, is the lack of review at the end of the completion of the item. If we do not review each others work, not just the code, but the process, the checks have been followed, verify the user has reviewed and is happy with the work, verify the work against the user spec, SUFFICIENT TESTS EXIST, etc, then we cannot ensure quality.

We are a small team, there is no assigned quality manager who is responsible for the above quality controls being followed.

The point of this blog then, is to introduce a tool Google wrote for themselves, they name Mondrian. It’s purpose is to do web based code reviews. Ok, so my intro above was a little disjointed to the subject, but it does reduce the barriers in doing code reviews, in my opinion, what should be a strong quality control feature. It provides an audit trail of these said features also.

Look at the attached video of the presentation of Mondrian. The first 15 mins serve as a great introduction into the problems of code review (emails flying around, finding someone to do the review). I like that the presenter makes the distinction: Some places do pair programming, others do code reviews. Both are in XP, but it seems that one or the other are both strong quality controls and in a place where there aren’t the staff to devote to pair programming, increasing the importance of code reviews sounds like a pretty sound manoeuvre.

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