Code review and pair programming are effective and well-proven programming methods to improve the quality of the code as well as exchanging knowledge between software developers. Both of these methods have many followers who appreciate multiple benefits that they bring to software development teams. If you want to get a deeper understanding of these concepts, the key differences between them and see when and why it’s the most beneficial to use these methods, continue reading!

What is pair programming?

Code review vs pair programming – which one to choose? – What is pair programming?

Pair programming is a method where two programmers work together on the same code using one common computer. While one of them writes the code, the other one observes his work, suggests changes and informs about possible mistakes. The primary purpose of this method is creating high-quality code, the effect of which will involve the work of two developers.

Read more about pair programming in this article: 5 Key Benefits of Pair Programming in IT projects

What is code review?

Code review vs pair programming – which one to choose? – What is code review?

Code review is the practice of checking the code by a programmer other than the one who created it. Code review concerns both its correctness and functionality and takes place before sending it for testing.

Read more about code review in this article: Code review – learn from experienced programmers in IT projects!

Pair programming and code review – common benefits

Code review vs pair programming – which one to choose? – Pair programming and code review - common benefits

Despite many differences, pair programming and code review have many similar features and benefits. It is worth to mention the following:

  • improving quality of code
  • reducing the number of errors in the code
  • better readability of the code
  • knowledge sharing
  • the unification of coding style
  • increasing efficiency and commitment
  • increasing responsibility for the code created
  • improving the quality of teamwork

Pair programming vs code review – the key differences

Pair programming vs code review – the key differences:

PAIR PROGRAMMING:

1. the code is being checked in real-time,
2. the two programmers are equally responsible for the code quality,
3. the two programmers are equally involved in working on the code,
4. the discussion on the code is conducted during its writing,
5. consists of programming by two developers in turns,
6. works well in the onboarding process of new employees,
7. contributes to the integration of team members,
8. errors are corrected more quickly and at a lower cost,
9. can provide valuable tips for juniors from more experienced developers,
10. helps to achieve the best possible final result and it is beneficial to two developers

CODE REVIEW:

1. the code is checked after it is finished,
2. the developer who wrote the code is responsible for its quality, while the person who checks is only responsible for the review,
3. here is only one person involved in working on the code – its creator,
4. the reviewer can only see the final result of the developer's work
5. consists of programming by one developer who is checked by another one at the end,
6. requires autonomy and skills,
7. usually has no impact on building relationships within the team,
8. the bug fixing is usually slower and more expensive,
9. can contribute to improving the knowledge of juniors due to code analysis of more experienced colleagues,
10. identifying other people's mistakes can be problematic and have a negative impact on relations between employees.

Code review or pair programming – which one to choose?

Code review vs pair programming – which one to choose? – our advice

Now, we know both the common features and differences between these two methods. So the question is – which one to choose to get as many benefits as possible? If you have the possibilities, you should consider using… both methods. How about making sure that the result of two developers’ work is additionally checked by another person who was not involved in creating the code? It may take a lot of time, but if you need to create the highest quality software – it is really worth it. 

Otherwise, if you cannot implement both methods, try to find something that will be best for your team. If you are a team leader – organise a meeting, present all the pros and cons and then ask the team members for their opinion. The optimum method would be choosing the solution that makes everyone on the team feel fully involved in their work and provides an opportunity for self-development.

Summary

Code review vs pair programming – which one to choose? – Summary

Both code review and pair programming, are methods that are worth implementing. They can not only improve the quality of the code but also increase employee responsibility for their work and contribute to the knowledge exchange within the team. When another person reviews your code – whether that person is sitting next to you at the moment or checking it when it is finished – it will undoubtedly help to create better software. Therefore, whatever solution you choose, you can be sure that it will bring numerous long-term benefits.

And what programming method do you prefer? Do you agree that the best solution is combining both of them? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook page!