Mike Hadlow is a Brighton, UK based developer, blogger and author of a number of open source frameworks and applications. Mike is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 88 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

What I look for in a Code Review

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I recently put this bullet point list together for the team I’m currently working with.

Naming Conventions

General Principles

  • The core imperative is to organise complexity.
  • Clarity and readability is central. “Intention Revealing”
  • Do not prematurely optimise for performance.
  • Do not repeat yourself. Never copy-and-paste code.
  • Decouple.
  • Always try to leave the code you work on in a better state than before you started (the ‘boy scout’ principle)

Keep the source clean

  • Always delete unused code. Including variables and using statements
  • Don’t comment out code, delete it. We have source control to manage change.

Naming things

  • The name should accurately describe what the thing does.
  • Do not use shortenings, only use well understood abbreviations.
  • If the name looks awkward, the code is probably awkward.


  • Namespaces should match the project name + path inside the project. This is what VS will give you by default.
  • Classes that together provide similar functions should be grouped in a single namespace.
  • Avoid namespace dependency cycles.


  • Use constants where possible. Avoid magic strings.
  • Use readonly where possible
  • Avoid many temporary variables.
  • Never use a single variable for two different puposes.
  • Keep scope as narrow as possible. (declaration close to use)


  • The name should accurately describe what the method does.
  • It should only do one thing.
  • It should be small (more than 10 lines of code is questionable).
  • The number of parameters should be small.
  • Public methods should validate all parameters.
  • Assert expectations and throw an appropriate error if invalid.
  • Avoid deep nesting of loops and conditionals. (Cyclomatic complexity).


  • The name should accurately describe what the class does.
  • Classes typically represent data or services, be clear which your class is.
  • Design your object oriented schema deliberately.
  • A class should be small.
  • A class should have one responsibility only.
  • A class should have a clear contract.
  • A class should be decoupled from its dependencies.
  • Favour composition over inheritance.
  • Avoid static classes and methods.
  • Make the class immutable if possible.


  • Rely on interfaces rather than concrete classes wherever possible.
  • An interface is a contract for interaction.
  • An interface should have a single purpose (ISP)


  • All code should have unit tests if possible.
  • Test code should have the same quality as production code.
  • Write code test-first wherever possible.

Error Handling

  • Only wrap code with a try..catch statement if you are expecting it to throw a specific exception.
  • Unexpected errors should only be handled at process boundaries.
  • Never ‘bury’ exceptions.
Published at DZone with permission of Mike Hadlow, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Perica Milošević replied on Tue, 2009/06/02 - 2:15am

Nice list. Valid for Java, too.

Natasha Van replied on Tue, 2009/06/16 - 1:14am



Garry Wertu replied on Fri, 2009/10/02 - 4:49am

Excellent list! watch gamer online and watch 500 days of summer

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