Code review makes your code stronger, reduces the risk of overlooking major bugs and supports the culture of feedback. The process constitutes an inherent part of best practices in web development, so skipping it in your projects might be a big mistake. Luckily, it can be easily and effectively conducted thanks to numerous automated code review tools that are available on the market. Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of providers! With our in-depth analysis, you’ll find a solution to fit your needs.
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Code Review at Netguru
Our developers used to test the correctness of our code with CodeClimate. However, with increasing needs and expectations, we decided to seek a better alternative that would have more advanced features. Our R&D team conducted an in-depth research, and that’s how we found CodeBeat, a tool nearly tailored for our business. However, we are aware that your dev team might require different features from the code review provider. Therefore, we share the results of our research so that you can pick the solution which is right for you and save time on doing your own research.
Codebeat is a dynamically growing tool that covers major technologies and programming languages. It has evolved substantially within the last few months and it’s worth noting that the team is open for feedback and implementation of new features suggested by their users. However, there are still some things missing. The tool does not allow performing any security checks (perhaps a “simple” integration with Brakeman would do the job). It also does not support any open-source tools or linters (in fact, we are still using Hound) and does not support analysing CSS/SCSS.
support for most of the languages we use (Ruby, JS, Swift, Objective-C),
Codacy has an awesome UI, lots of features and it’s very flexible thanks to dozens of options. There is also a tool (in beta) which allows you to define your own patterns and implement it to be checked automatically. Frankly, it wasn’t easy to find disadvantages of this tool or any clients’ complaints. However, there is still some area for improvement and potential to grow for Codacy.
used by big players like Paypal or Adobe,
great and intuitive UI,
the possibility to define issue-based goals to improve the codebase,
checking lots of security issues (like assigning strange values to private APIs which may lead to unexpected app behaviour),
a nice feature of browsing commits and monitoring related issues,
huge flexibility thanks to disabling/enabling patterns or whole packages and ignoring certain patterns in the selected files,
time to fix estimation for each issue,
small company growing fast, delivering fresh features frequently,
well-described issues with examples right below each case (no need to browse the documentation to find out why the issue occurred).
incomplete documentation in some parts (some images are hard to read and the amount of information is insufficient sometimes),
unintuitive one-page charts to track code quality changes over time (it’s a new feature, maybe not fully implemented yet),
no `hotspots` or `quick wins`,
no issues searching, only a few drop-down filters.
we don’t know how the support works there,
we also don’t know how flexible they are in terms of implementing clients’ suggestions into their product.
CodeClimate is a well-developed and very stable solution with a great number of features. It has many advantages over its competitors and many big players recommend it as the best option. However, it lacked some crucial functionalities that we required for the Netguru code review process, so we switched to an alternative solution.
a great number of supported languages, technologies and frameworks,
used by the biggest players, including Pivotal, New Relic for enterprise and Rails, jQuery for open-source,
Scrutinizer doesn’t stack up well against other solutions. Actually, it seems to lack basic attributes that are necessary for code review. Analysing the code using different a Ruby version than defined in the repo is actually what disqualifies it. It shows `tests failed` even when the tests passed on CircleCI and locally. You can not reliably test the repository if you’re using a Ruby version other than the ones available through the dashboard. It shows lots of issues and errors with the “parser could not interpret the code” message. Really strange for a tool that you’re supposed to pay for.
seems to have a very good API,
it’s actually one of the cheapest solutions if we ignore the performance,
automatically detects code changes in the dashboard,
feature of filtering issues by users,
dedicated site with the current status of the services,
extended team management, possibility to create organisations.
available only as a predefined version (e.g. no option of running tests in 2.3.0 version),
CodeClimate: many existing, open-source tools like Rubocop, Brakeman, CSS/SCSS Lint, ESLint, Flog, etc. full list here; Codebeat: their own algorithms and implementation written from scratch see how it works; Codacy: many existing, open-source tools like Rubocop, Brakeman, CSS/SCSS Lint, ESLint, Flog etc. full list here; Scrutinizer: closed-source codebase with a possibility to use open source tools. OS tools list here.
CodeClimate: $16,67/user/month (when billed yearly - otherwise $20); Codebeat: $20/user/month, but you can probably negotiate; Codacy: $15/user/month; Scrutinizer: EUR200/month for unlimited number of users. 2 containers in the plan, where 1 is just 1 task at a time, extra container costs EUR50.
CodeClimate: very good and comprehensive; Codebeat: still some things missing; Codacy: not bad, not too much text and some images are not clickable so the readability is limited; Scrutinizer: good.
CodeClimate: yes, still in beta version; Codebeat: yes, simple but usable; Codacy: yes, not described perfectly in their docs; Scrutinizer: seems to be really good - read more.
After a deeper look at all the tools described above, I can disqualify Scrutinizer as it doesn’t support all Ruby versions, has many issues which don’t allow to do the metrics reliably and sometimes makes it actually impossible. On the other hand, Codebeat seems to be a comparable tool to CodeClimate or Codacy. In case of these three solutions, the pros seem to overweigh the cons and a particular feature might clinch the final choice, which would stem from individual needs. Just like it did in case of Netguru.