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Showing posts from February, 2012

My love affair with code reviews

One of the most life-altering events in my move from academia to industry was the discovery of code reviews. This is pretty standard fare for developers in the "real world", but I have never heard of an academic research group using them, and had never done code reviews myself before joining Google.

In short: Code reviews are awesome. Everyone should use them. Heck, my dog should use them. You should too.

For those of you not in the academic research community, you have to understand that academics are terrible programmers. (I count myself among this group.) Academics write sloppy code, with no unit tests, no style guidelines, and no documentation. Code is slapped together by grad students, generally under pressure of a paper deadline, mainly to get some graphs to look pretty without regard for whether anyone is ever going to run the code ever again. Before I came to Google, that was what "programming" meant to me: kind of a necessary side effect of doing research,…