Book Review: Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review

Last time I did a book review of what I will tentatively call a bookvertisement, Intel’s Ho w to Use VTune and Compile Better For Pentium Processors. It was a poor show and I left with but a few nuggets of knowledge. This time I gave Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review a shot. It was a risk, I know, but again it was free. This time, I was very pleasantly surprised. This bookvertisement promotes Code Collaborator, a code review tool by Smart Bear. However, this book has taste. It contains ten essays promoting various aspects of code review. It goes over common problems, metrics involved, best practices, and, of course, how their product solves all your problems. The first nine essays are tasteful enough to merely mention Code Collaborator in a footnote or on sentence saying something like, “This is what inspired us to write this feature.” Yes, still an ad, but at least a bit more classy.

All About Format

A Collection of Essays

The book really is a collection of various essays. Ten of them, in fact, if you count the Code Collaborator User Manual at the end. Most of the essays are written by someone who occupies a position at Code Collaborator. This reads just as you’d imagine. Each essay covers a topic that was probably pulled from a hat full of code review topics, but since they’re all basically an aspect of code review there is a bit of overlap. This isn’t too bad, but it definitely is noticeable.

The Content

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Collection of Essays.

Okay, have I driven that point home, yet? There are a range of topics, however. Most of them are very interesting and contain a good deal of information. There is a case study reviewed in great depth, an essay on the collection of code review metrics, a brief coverage of the Personal and Team Software Process, and more. Even though some of the articles do overlap a little bit, they each have a body of knowledge in their own right. My personal favorite is a discussion of the social effects of code review.

The only thing that I really feel is missing is HOW to code review. I’m sure there are great debates on the subject. Still, it would be nice to get something on the subject even if it’s just another opinion.

My Take

The Summation

Do I recommend this book? Definitely. It is an interesting read, even though it is a nudge towards the Code Collaborator tool. (Side note: Code Collaborator isn’t bad. I’ve used it and it works, but it just didn’t fit with our process.) Like the book, I’ll keep this brief. There are interesting articles. For a free booklet, the value proposition is favorable! Get your copy today.

See you, Space Cowboy.

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