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Subject: Re: [boost] Improving review process
From: Jeff Garland (jeff_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-01-14 09:13:26

Dave Abrahams wrote:
> At Fri, 14 Jan 2011 06:29:16 -0700,
> Jeff Garland wrote:
>>> In my vision, the reviews for a library are comments on a wordpress
>>> article, and the library's documentation links to the review article.
>> I'd actually like to suggest something that might be more direct.
>> Based on a recommendation from fellow boosters at BoostCon last year
>> we acquired and have been using a web based code review tool for the
>> last 10 months. The impact of this tool has been a dramatic and
>> radical increase in review quality over the email system we had been
>> using -- in large part because all comments/discussion are attached to
>> the actual source code directly for all to see. The tool provides
>> supports the longer review model since someone looking in week 3 of
>> the review can trivially look at all the review comment discussions to
>> that point directly in context with the code. Authors can also update
>> code during the review to address issues and the comment context (and
>> prior versions are maintained). Registered reviewers can also receive
>> email notification when other reviewers comment, etc, etc. Point is,
>> it's a collaboration tool built for code reviews and it works well.
>> The company that provides the tool allows for free use of the tool by
>> open source projects -- so it's something should be possible for
>> boost. That said, there will be work here to coordinate with the
>> company, setup the boost space and review users, etc. The tool is
>> also highly configurable so we'd have to establish some usage policies
>> and such. All items that we would have to address, but I doubt any
>> are a show stoppers. Course we likely would have to allow folks that
>> want to provide email reviews to continue that way, but overall once
>> you go down this road you won't go back to email.
>> Note that I'm not mentioning the name of the tool just yet because I
>> don't want to violate our 'advertising policies' on the list.
> I think you're being overly cautious. Atlassian?

Fair enough:

>> If there's interest, I can make initial contact with company and
>> get/post the details on how it would work. I was planning to
>> propose this at BoostCon, but now that it's come up we should start
>> the process now if folks agree.
> Using a code review tool is an awesome idea. Many reviews are not
> attached to code, but you can put review comments in documentation
> just as well.

Documentation is a bit harder unless you are annotating the document source
directly -- that is, I haven't see a mode in the tool to annotate against
'rendered html'.

> A couple of things to consider:
> 1. We'd still need a place for overall assessments that don't pertain
> to specific details.

There's an 'overall comments' section at the top of each review for these
kinds of comments.

> 2. I know this is a bold predicition, but I think we will be
> transitioning to GitHub. It has an enormous momentum in the open
> source world, is responsive, and will continue to make a lot more
> sense as Boost is modularized. GitHub already supports code
> review. I think I'd rather go with a tool that requires absolutely
> no sysadmin on our part, is a known quantity to many already, etc.

I haven't used the github review capabilities here -- so we'd have to evaluate
what works best. As for the admin -- it's truly minimal -- basically the same
as giving someone sandbox access today -- registering an email address so that
  comment discussions are tracked, etc. And the author has to upload code to
the tool -- but a simple paragraph should be about enough to explain it.


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