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Peer Review Across Docs and Code

SmartBear has extended its code review tool and testing product family this week with its peer review-focused Collaborator product. Described as an extension to the already-existing CodeCollaborator, SmartBear says it wants to incorporate team review from all members of the software project team including product managers/owners, QA, support, documentation, and marketing by enabling them to share, edit, and comment on documents in a shared environment.

Program director at IDC Melinda Ballou suggests that such collaborative review can benefit a range of team members beyond coders who create work that helps drive software quality.

"Product owners create user stories, testers create test plans, technical communicators create user documentation, and other team members — from development to operations to business — are required to provide feedback on these deliverables. Having a tool that all members of the DevOps team can use to share and collaborate on these deliverables will help assure the quality of the final product."

Collaborator works then by allowing all "reviewers" (whoever they may be) to provide their feedback in a centralized tool, tracking each comment until resolution. This should allow all reviewers to see each other's comments and to interact using a chat-style interface if they happen to be reviewing the artifact at the same time.

"CodeCollaborator's review methods have consistently led to greater adoption of code review as a practice, improved collaboration among developers, better code quality, and have helped increase the skill of developers and development teams," said SmartBear's James Wang.

NOTE: Collaborator currently has support for reviewing Microsoft Word and PDF documents. SmartBear plans to offer the same functionality for Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and other documents in the near future.

Wang also suggests developers should note that Collaborator includes all of CodeCollaborator’s features for code review, including support for 16 SCMs, integration with major IDEs, customizable workflows, defect management, and reporting through its audit trail capability.

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