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ICSE 2019
Sat 25 - Fri 31 May 2019 Montreal, QC, Canada
Fri 31 May 2019 16:00 - 16:20 at Laurier - Code Reviews Chair(s): Alexander Serebrenik

Test-Driven Code Review (TDR) is a code review practice in which a reviewer inspects a patch by examining the changed test code before the changed production code. Although this practice has been mentioned positively by practitioners in informal literature and interviews, there is no systematic knowledge of its effects, prevalence, problems, and advantages.

In this paper, we aim at empirically understanding whether this practice has an effect on code review effectiveness and how developers’ perceive TDR. We conduct (i) a controlled experiment with 93 developers that perform more than 150 reviews, and (ii) 9 semi-structured interviews and a survey with 103 respondents to gather information on how TDR is perceived. Key results from the experiment show that developers adopting TDR find the same proportion of defects in production code, but more in test code, at the expenses of fewer maintainability issues in production code. Furthermore, we found that most developers prefer to review production code as they deem it more critical and tests should follow from it. Moreover, general poor test code quality and no tool support hinder the adoption of TDR. Public preprint:, data and materials:

Fri 31 May
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16:00 - 17:20: Papers - Code Reviews at Laurier
Chair(s): Alexander SerebrenikEindhoven University of Technology
icse-2019-Technical-Papers16:00 - 16:20
Davide SpadiniDelft University of Technology, Netherlands, Fabio PalombaUniversity of Zurich, Tobias BaumLeibniz Universität Hannover, Stefan HanenbergUniversity of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, Magiel BruntinkSoftware Improvement Group, Alberto BacchelliUniversity of Zurich
DOI Pre-print Media Attached
icse-2019-Technical-Papers16:20 - 16:40
Adam AlamiIT University of Copenhagen, Marisa Leavitt CohnIT University of Copenhagen, Andrzej WąsowskiIT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
icse-2019-Journal-First-Paper16:40 - 16:50
Vladimir KovalenkoTU Delft, Nava TintarevDelft University of Technology, Evgeny PasynkovJetBrains GmbH, Christian BirdMicrosoft Research, Alberto BacchelliUniversity of Zurich
DOI Pre-print
icse-2019-Journal-First-Paper16:50 - 17:00
Shade RuangwanNara Institute of Science and Technology, Patanamon ThongtanunamThe University of Melbourne, Akinori IharaWakayama University, Kenichi MatsumotoNara Institute of Science and Technology
DOI Pre-print
icse-2019-Paper-Presentations17:00 - 17:20