Thursday, 24 September 2009

Crowd-Sourced Code Reviews

In a post yesterday, I bemoaned the lack of a clean syntax in NUnit for testing whether events fired from an object under test, and set to work at writing my own helper methods. I posted on the NUnit discussion group, to see whether there was a better way. And there was. A really obvious way. Here’s how my tests could have been written without the need for an Assert.Raises function, or for any code outside the test method:
public void TestRaisesClosedEvent_Improved()
    Blah blah = new Blah();
    EventArgs savedEventArgs = null;
    blah.Closed += (sender, args) => savedEventArgs = args;

public void TestCanCheckRaisesMany_Improved()
    Blah blah = new Blah();
    var savedEvents = new List<openedeventargs>();
    blah.Opened += (sender, args) => savedEvents.Add(args);
    Assert.AreEqual(5, savedEvents.Count);
    Assert.AreEqual("Message 3", savedEvents[2].Message);
Of course, I was kicking myself for missing such an obvious solution, but it left me pondering how often this happens without me realising it.
Earlier today Clint Rutkas tweeted:
i feel like i'm doing such bad things in WPF right now
… and I know exactly how he feels. In a couple of WPF applications I am working on, I am trying to use the MVVM pattern. It often ends up with me writing code that might be a really cool piece of lateral thinking, or it might be a pointlessly overcomplicated hack. For an example, here’s an  attached dependency property (usage here) I created to let me bind to Storyboard completed events.
What I need is another person to look over my shoulder and tell me whether I am missing the obvious, unaware of an API, or ignorant of a best practice. But all too often, that person doesn’t exist.
In a commercial environment, hopefully there is at least some kind of provision for code reviews to take place, or maybe even pair programming. But what about the lone programmer working on open source projects?
Maybe we need some way to “crowd-source” code reviews. Some way of getting lots of eyes on your source code, even if it is only for a couple of minutes, and an easy way of getting hold of that feedback. A bit like fivesecondtest but where you help out an open source developer by code reviewing a changeset. I’ve asked for this as a feature on CodePlex.
What do you think? Could it work? How do you make sure you’re not missing the obvious in the code you write?
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