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Writing reviewable code

One important aspect of our team’s culture is the same, regardless of language or platform: code review. All non-experimental code we write as a team goes through code review before it can be landed in any shared git repository.

Pre-reading: Phabricator’s “Writing reviewable code” article.

Summarizing the important points:

Make many small commits

Good examples:

  • A single line fix for a bug.
  • A new class with stub APIs. Follow-up diffs flesh out one feature at a time.

Write documentation early

Much of what we build is designed to be used by other developers. While self-documenting logic is a good thing to strive for, APIs rarely, if ever, are truly self-documenting.

Include documentation with any new API.

Break big changes in to smaller changes

Phabricator makes it possible to mark a diff as depending on another diff.

Here’s one workflow for doing work on two dependent diffs:

git fetch # Get the latest from origin
arc feature foo  # Start a new feature, "foo", based off of origin/develop

# make changes

git commit -am "Some commit"
arc diff # Creates diff 1

# Code is out for you want to make more changes

arc feature bar foo  # Start a new feature, "bar", tracking the "foo" branch

# make changes

git commit -am "Another commit"
arc diff foo # Creates diff 2

If you need to make changes to foo:

git checkout foo

# make changes

git commit -am "Additional changes
arc diff # Updates diff 1

# bar is now pointing to an old sha, let's update it
git checkout bar
git rebase foo
arc diff foo # Updates diff 2