Code review is an integral part of the development process. It is used to find out bugs and errors at an early stage of development itself.
The code review tools are so designed that it automates the whole process of reviewing the application development process. Thus, it has become an important tool for the development team.
This code review process helps improve the quality of the software. To help you out, we have listed out the top eight free and open-source code review tools that you might want to take a look at.
Software 1: Codebrag
Codebrag is one of the best open-source code review tools that are quite simple to use. It is mainly used to review inline comments and likes, smart email notifications, non-blocking code, and more.
It is a light-weight review tool that makes the whole process of review entertaining and structured. Furthermore, it offers an agile code review that helps deliver a high-quality application.
- Lets you easily track your tasks with a simple to‑do list
- Offers full IDE integration and also allows it to be installed locally
- Easily manage all comments and commits in one place
- Perfect keyboard navigation
- Easy to install
- No syntax highlight
Software 2: Gerrit
Gerrit is another free and open-source code review tool that can help you review code on a web browser. It is a self-hosted and light-weight solution. It enables all the committers on a project to keep track of all the changes made.
The most significant advantage is that it gives you the chance to review the changes before accepting the codebase. Besides, the change facilitator can open conversations about the changes by leaving comments and notes.
- Can be integrated with Git — a distributed Version Control System
- Can use it to discuss a few detailed segments of the code
- Offers repository management for Git
- Easy to fix compilation errors
- You can manage version history for future references
- Fine-grained access control
- Has 2-level gates to give a green signal to the code
- Works only with Git
- Slower than other collaborating tools
- UI is very native
- Takes time to get hold of the software by the developers
Software 3: Reviewable
Reviewable is one of the best open-source code review tools in terms of both functionality and appearance. It offers a clean and interactive UI that enables you to perform advanced functionality with ease. Using the device, you can perform actions like comparing the diffs of any two revisions of a file or installing customizable logic that enables you to know if the review of code is complete or not.
- Enables seamless integration and minimal admin work
- Improves the code quality by highlighting the syntax
- Lets you map line comments across file revisions and stays in place until it is resolved
- Batch commenting is possible
- Easy incremental reviewing
- Language agnostic
- Made on modern UI elements
- Integrates with only GitHub
- Doesn’t have a simple interface
- Houses some unnecessary functionalities
Software 4: ReviewBoard
ReviewBoard is a simple yet powerful free code review tool that makes the whole process of reviewing thoroughly. It provides functionalities like diff and the ability to make comments.
Besides, it is relatively easy- and- quick to learn and provides a clean interface. ReviewBoard is the best option for developers who are looking for a no-frills code review. It has 1.2K GitHub stars and 369 GitHub forks.
- Provides syntax highlight that makes it highly readable
- Supports pre-commit and post-commit reviews
- Seamlessly integrates with ClearCase, CVS, Perforce, Plastic, and more
- Unified review queue with detailed information
- Reviews are composed of multiple comments, not just one
- Extensive remote API
- Might increase manual steps to your workflow
- Not a part of the mainstream GitHub workflow
- Emails formatting is complicated
Software 5: Phabricator Differential (Open Source)
Phabricator Differential is a free code review tool that enables you to download and install it on your own hardware or launch a hosted instance with them. It is considered the best code review tool amongst the top open-source code review tool.
What’s more, you can use it HG, Git, and SVN. And if that wasn’t enough, this free code review tool also allows for easy team discussion, planning, testing, and coding. The plus point is that it is scalable to multiple servers.
- Enables developers to leave comments and notes
- Allows you to publish all repositories to mirrors
- Easily host the repository locally
- Powerful and fast
- Highly scalable
- Interface is clumsy
Software 6: Rhodecode
Rhodecode is a popular open-source code review tool that makes it easy to handle code management. It is well protected, enterprise source code management system that serves as an integrated tool for Mercurial, Git, and Subversion.
It offers two editions. The first one is licensed per user named Enterprise Edition, and the other is Community Edition — a free and open-source version.
- Automates the workflow for faster collaboration
- Allows for team collaboration for better code quality check
- Enables you to integrate with the existing code base with new issue tracker tools
- A secure code review tool
- Centralized user management
- Support 3 major version control systems: Mercurial, Git & Subversion
- Open-source and highly secure
- Online editing with preview
- Hard to maintain
Software 7: CodeStriker
The last on our list is Codestriker, which is an open-source code review tool. Using the device, you can easily record issues, leave comments, and notes in a database. It supports reviews of traditional documents and diffs generated by an SCM system and plain unidiff patches. There is a plug-in architecture for supporting issue tracking systems.
What’s more, it minimizes paperwork and provides a clean interface for performing code inspections.
- Can be easily integrated with Bugzilla, CVS, ClearCase, etc.
- Enables you to record code inspection metrics as a part of the process
- Runs on all of the important platforms and browsers
- Easy integration
- Highly-configurable metrics subsystem
- Not much used or talked about
- Complex interface
Software 8: SmartBear
This Smartbear’s software allows reporting and analysis of key metrics along with reviewing design documents related to your code review process. With SmartBear, you can reduce your rework and get answers quickly.
- Track and manage defects
- Build custom review templates
- Collaborate on documents and software artifacts
- Improve processes with reporting
- Integrates with most of the version control systems
- Save reviews to a Zip file
- Takes less than a day to set up the software
- The administration panel is easy to navigate
- The reporting feature seems canned
- Customizing a report is complex
It’s pretty clear from looking at this list that there aren’t all that many legitimate open source code review tools out there. Still, I hope that all of us (especially devs who aren’t familiar with these tools) will keep these options in mind when searching for a new code review tool for our organizations. At the end of the day, we can all benefit by committing to better code review practices, and hopefully by doing so, producing better software.