Like modern software development, improving code quality is a collaborative effort – and collaborations need teams.
Each person committing code to your project has the ability to improve, or reduce, the quality of your codebase. With the right information, team members can make better decisions with every commit, adding up to a significant impact on the long-term health of your code.
The first step is ensuring that information reaches your team members. Code Climate recognizes authors who have not yet been invited to your account, and will provide a link so you can invite with a single-click.
Start by discussing with your team what you hope to achieve by adopting a tool like Code Climate. Code Climate offers a wealth of analysis, and can help identify many different areas for code quality improvement, but it will be most effective if there’s a shared understanding and agreement about what you’re trying to achieve.
Sometimes it’s better to start with more modest goals while first integrating the tool into your workflow, and then expanding the scope.
Based on the goals your team has established, identify a rollout plan. Consider starting with one repository or team before applying Code Climate across all of your repos and organization. Teams with members particularly interested in quality analysis are a great place to start.
Starting small affords the opportunity to establish a rock solid code quality workflow in one team. Our most successful customers have found that once Code Climate is incorporated into one team’s workflow, other teams see the benefit and soon follow suit, allowing the process and improved code quality to spread organically throughout the organization.
Consider with which services Code Climate should integrate (chat, issues, test coverage etc.,) and which auto-notifications make sense for your team.
Check in with the team at regular intervals after turning on Code Climate – we recommend at 1 day, 1 week, and 2 weeks to start. Ask questions like:
- What did our code look like at the beginning of this period? What does it look like at the end?
- Did Code Climate guide our development throughout this period?
- Did we meet our quality and style goals for this period?
Use the answers to tune your analysis (by configuring plugins and/or checks) and inform your code review process
At first, don't focus too much on your overall project score or improving legacy code. Instead, focus on the quality of code that is added or modified from this point forward. There are just two guidelines you need to keep in mind to observe your code quality improving, your communication getting easier, and your results coming faster:
- Leave code better than you found it
- Don’t introduce new files that aren’t up to quality standards
When your team focuses on the impact of every proposed change, your project will improve with every commit.
Over time your codebase will become healthier, making it easier to change, more fun to work with, and your features will be easier to implement. As a result your code will be more reliable when it runs, bringing benefits to your business. Enjoy!