Code review

ba.pngBy Becky Arnold, University of Sheffield 

Coding is now the backbone of much of scientific research. Despite this in many cases the coding education of researchers is nonexistent, or doesn’t extend far beyond how to use a for loop. As a result we largely learn tips, tricks and best practice the hard way, and in small fragments. The solution- teach each other! If everyone knows a little then put together we know a lot.

The approach of the Sheffield astrophysics group

Since May 2017 we have held lunchtime code review and collaboration meetings every two weeks. These meetings are very informal to encourage discussion, and as well as reviewing one anothers code we use these sessions to exchange information. If you spent the week figuring something out, read an interesting article, or picked up a new trick here is the place to tell others about it. People can also opt to give short tutorials if they wish, for example we’ve had ones on version control, wrapping one language with another, and best practice.

These sessions have had numerous benefits:

1. Save time and frustration

Researchers have a vast array of administrative and research responsibilities which leave little time to spare. But how many days of that valuable time have you spent knocking your head against coding issues, scouring stack overflow, and crying into coffee cups at 2 am about the code that just won’t work. An hour every week or two…

Continue Reading

Regular Institute collaborator Dr. Jeffrey Carver of the University of Alabama is conducting a couple of studies relating to the way that people develop research software. These will help provide the community with a better understanding of how different practices, including code review and software metrics are being used in the development of research software.

If you'd like to provide input into these studies, please participate in the following web surveys (each of which will take approximately 15 minutes to complete): 

Code review survey (in conjunction with Nasir Eisty of the University of Alabama) : https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bBdeMr08ix8YbXL

Software metrics survey (in conjunction with Dr. George Thiruvathukal from Loyola University-Chicago): https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_darjzw2JlY3OXY1

 

Your participation is completely anonymous and voluntary.  You are free not to participate or stop participating any time before you submit your answers. Both research studies have been approved by the University of Alabama Institutional Review Board.

Subscribe to Code review