Code Review editor for Eclipse

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I'm a big fan of peer code reviews. I don't think anything helps raise the average code quality of a project than requiring each line of code be reviewed by at least one other developer. When we know that what we're writing is going to be reviewed, we all write better code.

But I've never really found a code review tool for Eclipse that worked how I wanted. The holy grail of review tools (well - my holy grail anyways) was to have a tool that works much like MS Word's review feature. Where you can add and see comment in a margin on the right of the document. At ElementRiver, since we didn't find one that had that feature, we wrote one ourselves.



This editor is currently part of our beta SourceMate plugin for Flash Builder 4, but we plan on pulling it out into an independent product. It is designed to work with any language that Eclipse supports.

Features:
  • Comments are added and updated all on the right margin. You never have to switch contexts (i.e. switching editors, looking down at a view, etc). It all done with your code front and center.
  • Comments are color coded by reviewer and each color can be customized.
  • Comments are shown in the code itself, in the right hand comment margin, and in the smaller overview ruler.
  • Comments can be marked resolved. When resolved, comments are still shown but they're faded out.
  • and more

21 comments:

  • Peter Friese

    This is pretty cool! I like the idea a lot.

  • David Green

    Looks really neat. Are you aware of ReviewClipse? They've recently made a project proposal: http://www.eclipse.org/proposals/mylyn-reviews/
    I'd be interested to see how this differs from ReviewClipse, and if it makes sense for you to collaborate with them?

  • Chris

    @Peter thx!

    @David I've seen the proposal and there appears to be a few screenshots of the tool in the linked powerpoint. From what I can see it doesn't focus on the comment UI like we have done. It it might still be interesting to collaborate - but of course we're a commercial company and don't want to release everything as open source.

  • Pat

    Looks great! How do reviewer comments get into your Eclipse session? Is there a central server that collects and distributes them (and, perhaps, review requests)?

  • Chris

    No central server. Review information is stored in an xml file and you simply check it in/out from your source control system.

  • Pat

    @Chris. Simple and low-tech. I like it!

  • ekkescorner

    really cool, Chris.

  • Hi,

    just fantastic ... it sounds really interesting.

    is there any more concrete plan than "we plan on pulling it out into an independent product" ?

    So will it be

    a) a pure Eclipse plugin
    b) open-source or free available

    and is the timeplan something like "oh we really should do it sometimes" or like "ok - shipping next week" ?

    Thanks and cheers

  • Chris

    Yes it will be a pure Eclipse plugin. No server, no other special requirements.

    We don't intend to release it as open source. We will make it commercially available, but likely for a rather low price point.

    As for when it will be available, likely within the next 6-12 weeks.

  • Alan Plante

    Love it! Local xml files that you can put into SCM is a great solution. I've looked at/demo'd some web-based tools, but imo much better to be simpler and avoid the server piece and corresponding deployment and complexity.

  • ggrell

    Well done, looks great!

  • Chris

    Thanks guys.

  • Sebastian

    Simply awesome!! I'm really looking forward to see you releasing the stand-alone version. That's exactly what we were looking for for a long time.

  • Have you thought about ReviewBoard integration?

  • Chris

    We haven't thought about integration with any other tools as of yet. Right now we're focused on making it a.) have a great UI and b.) be as simple as possible (i.e. just a plugin installation, no server, no other requirements).

  • Mark

    Hi,

    that's exactly what we are searching for... when/where can I get it? ;-)

  • Viko
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  • chris

    This plugin is available at www.elementriver.com/reviewmate

  • yarns inspection
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  • Novoline

    Pretty cool, when will the code review editor be available? Will this be a free plugin for eclipse?

  • Teds

    hey chris, i just want to say thank you for the tool. it easy, and it work.

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