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May 30, 2011

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Dglushko

I think that keeping everything focused and in proportion is the key here.
Real and competent code review can be done by team mates that understand the topic.
People from outside can talk about coding style and generic approaches.
Knowledge sharing, looking for new ideas etc. called brainstorming, not code review.
However it might be an interesting approach, to initialize brainstorm not before, but in the middle of development, when you have better understanding of what you are doing and can better understand what are you looking for.
The only issue is to keep the timing right, when it's still possible to make changes in the developed code. :)

Tom

I think it could be nice once in a while but nothing more. You can use for it a fictional exercise that everyone code in advance and then share each way of doing it for discussion - much less objections and no one is “on the pyre”.

Eugene Jorov

@David: You are right to interpret public code reviews as part procedure, part sharing, part brainstorming. Yet, I don't think brainstorming is the main thing here. The point is still to have a proper review. It is quite possible the net efficiency will be lower than with an old-school code review. What I'm suggesting is that the overall effectiveness of code development will go up. Don't throw away the normal code review stuff - just sprinkle some of the public discussion spice - but only once in a while. You definitely want to spark an occasional technical meeting of the team, because the only alternative is loss of communication, professional isolation, and eventually - a bunch of developers who share nothing of their precious know-how.

Eugene Jorov

@Tom: I believe public code reviews can be more than just nice. In my (limited) experience with this technique, every single time such a discussion was held, the outcome was about real, actionable conclusions. We have also managed to uncover some pretty sharp solutions to a handful of common problems. All in all, it was both fun and productive. Naturally, you wouldn't dismiss the classic code reviews, just enhance them with a townhall review once in a while.

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