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I don’t scale

Two years ago, I was still employed as team leader of an architecture team in a mid-sized company. The pay was good (this is Belgium, so not stellar, but clearly good), we had our share of interesting projects and the colleagues were nice. That team leader position has arrived as a “natural” evolution from junior developer to senior and architect.

My days were less and less about building software and more and more about helping people build software. That was great as I could impact the delivery of multiple projects, not only my own. Now this had limits too - there is only 8 hours (or 10, or 12, but anyway) in a day.

We started 8th color with the idea of making it a company “by developers, for developers”, but also a product company - as a product was the only way to scale.

Because, I need to confess: I don’t scale.


We started to work on PullReview in February of this year. We got our first alpha users in June and opened it to the world last October, so it is more like 3-6 months of usage. Anyway, I found interesting to extract some stats from our database.

During this period:

  • We’ve generated 22 988 code reviews
  • We’ve identified 40+M violations based on 266 different rules
  • Our 453 users have viewed 1357 code reviews (875 on feature branches, 482 on integration branches)
  • Among the rules, the most violated were as expected style rules: The infamous “prefer single quoted string when you don’t need interpolation”, of course, but also a lot of Ruby 1.8 hash syntax remaining. Be careful: style matters.
  • Two non style issues were quite prominent: missing documentation and duplicated code. We spoke previously about how duplication is a rampant disease.
  • Our top security concern identified is still Mass Assignment. For all the publicity it received, looks like it is still a danger today. Hopefully this will get better with more people migrating to Rails 4.0 and strong parameters.
  • Speaking of Rails related issues: we found that usage of instance variables in partials is still common. We talked about abusing partials in a previous post.

PullReview does scale

Not in the “let’s get 100M ruby developers here” sense. This is just the beginning for us and those numbers are still quite low.

But in my previous 8 years of software development, even with a good amount of it dedicated to coaching/helping people, I don’t think I managed to do 1 000 code reviews.

Summary: I’m happy to contribute to the quality of the code that our users are writing. To them - thanks for trying us.

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