Azure DevOps Integration for Collaborator: Are you building bug-free code, or just creating sawdust?
  December 16, 2019

Being relatively new to the software development industry, I have to rely on my other life experiences to draw on for comparisons on what our peer code review tool, Collaborator, brings to the table as an integral part of the development process. I do woodwork and DIY remodeling as hobbies, and I've just about wrapped up the purchase of a house that needs some updating. When I'm working on a new design or construction layout, I’m constantly updating my ideas and drawings before ever committing a pencil to mark that first cut. This also includes getting feedback on my current ideas from others regarding what works and what doesn't.  In a nutshell, this is “peer review.” 

My process usually involves multiple texts, and messages in other applications, with pictures of scribbled drawings and screen grabs of my latest CAD work. My friends and family are usually all too happy to accommodate my requests for thoughts and comments, but then I'm left to manually update all of them again when the next round of changes are made. While my group of "reviewers" isn't terribly large, the feedback and update loop can rapidly creep up in scope.  Software development is the same.  With software being coded in a time-constrained environment, and customers and consumers demanding perfection in the finished product, being able to have additional eyes look things over at any step of the process is a huge advantage. This is where Collaborator comes in.

Collaborator brings that process together in one place and handles all of the notifications for you when updates are made. In release 12.3, Collaborator has added an integration with Azure DevOps to make peer review as easy as creating a code commit and starting a pull request. Collaborator enhances the Azure workflow with improved peer review, from customized templates and checklists to ensure your process flow is addressed, to custom subscriptions for users and groups that greatly simplify review setup. 

As in woodwork and construction, building upon proven practices is always a great place to start, and Collaborator does the same by building the Azure integration on the solid foundations of our integrations with GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket. Unlike my manual process of texts and emails, Collaborator gives you a central location where your code authors and reviewers have easy access to all review materials, comments, and any items that are identified for corrective action, all in real time. If those new action items require updates to your code project, simply making the edits in the pull request branch in Azure and committing them will automatically update the review in Collaborator with the new files and notify those in the review.

What about ensuring quality?  When I'm starting a new remodel, I'm required by local governments to pull permits and have my work inspected to ensure what I am doing meets certain standards. Collaborator does the same with code builds in Azure, with settings that ensure your code reviews have been completed before releasing the pull request branch for merging into the stable release branch. Also, every project I complete comes with improved knowledge and skills, whether I learn how to work through a new hurdle at the local permit office, or a new technique for sweating copper pipe for my next plumbing repair. Similarly, every review in Collaborator builds upon your cumulative database of metrics that can be used to ensure auditing for regulatory compliance, reporting on code quality, and helping to drive process improvements. 

Keep your coding tools sharp, and your Azure DevOps code "workshop" organized and in order with the Collaborator integration for peer review.  Happy building!

Interested in learning more? Try Collaborator free for 30 days and see for yourself what makes Collaborator the premier peer code & document review tool for quality-driven development teams!