20 Jul 2022

LGTM is an acronym that’s often part of GitHub code reviews. Many code authors and reviewers are familiar with it. The problem? Sometimes, these four letters aren’t enough to provide full context. You need to have a solid process in place to be able to use the acronym well. Keep reading to learn what LGTM means, and how you can leverage it as part of an effective code review process for your next project.

What does LGTM Mean? 

The letters LGTM stand for "looks good to me." Those working in software development often use it after reviewing code. It indicates that the code is ready for testing and that it doesn't appear to contain any errors.

 

While this is a common acronym that most people in the software space are familiar with, some teams have more success with it than others. Even the best developers still make mistakes when writing code. That’s why it’s so important to be thorough when reviewing any code that a person completes.

 

Failing to do so can be a costly mistake. In fact, a report by CISQ estimates the cost of bugs at $607 billion for the United States alone. This includes costs that come along with unsuccessful projects, maintaining legacy systems, and software failures in operational systems. Bugs also become more costly when they exist for a long period of time before anyone ever detects them. It’s best to catch them before they make it into a release.

 

The key to avoiding this problem and the costs is to make sure that everyone understands what the process looks like for code reviews and at what stage a piece of code is ready to get approval. Now, let’s look at what you can do to create an effective code review workflow for your organization.

 

LGTM workflow in code reviews

The concept of leaving a comment that reads "looks good to me” is simple. However, there’s a process that teams have to go through to get to that point. Here’s a quick overview of the code review workflow, and how reviewers get to “LGTM.”

 

  1. 1. When a code author is done working on a piece of code, they can open a pull request to start a discussion about what they submit.
  2. 2. After they open that pull request, the person (or people) on the team in charge of reviewing the code can open it and leave their comments for the code author.
  3.  
  4. 3. If there is an issue or a bug in the code, a developer can then make changes to it to implement the fix or meet requirements. Once that happens, they can push up the change for further review.
  5.  
  6. 4. At this point, the code will go back to the reviewer. If all fixes have been made, the reviewer can comment “LGTM” to confirm that the code is satisfactory.

 

If you’d like to read more about streamlining the code review process, you can read this blog post written by one of Unosquare’s software development engineers: Beyond LGTM: 3 Tips for Effective Code Reviews and Short Pull Requests

 

LGTM git pull request workflow

If you’re looking for a way to implement an effective LGTM workflow, there’s a solution available for you on GitHub. These are the details you need to know about this resource and how your team can begin using it.

There is a pull request approval system that uses GitHub-protected branches and maintainers files. Pull requests are locked and can’t be merged until the minimum number of approvals are received. Project maintainers show their approval by commenting on the pull request and writing “LGTM” in the approval text.

 

This offering is largely considered feature-complete, it’s actively used by thousands of repositories as part of their code review process.

 

A closer look at LGTM software

Finding and fixing software vulnerabilities is a necessary but tedious process. The people behind LGTM.com understand this, and that’s why they created a solution to help teams speed up the process and increase their accuracy. 

 

According to software documentation, LGTM is a variant analysis platform that automatically checks your code for real CVEs and vulnerabilities. By combining deep semantic code search with data science insights, LGTM ranks the most relevant results to show you only the alerts that matter. It offers insights from a large community of top security researchers to help developers ship secure code.

LGTM.com processes the software development projects with source code stored in public Git repositories hosted on:

These are the programming languages that are currently supported by LGTM.com:

  • C and C++
  • C#
  • Go, also known as Golang
  • Java
  • JavaScript/TypeScript
  • Python

This solution works not just to help you find bugs that will impact the quality and function of your software, but to go beyond the original bug. It helps you investigate how often the mistake is repeated in a codebase, or across multiple projects. This will make it easier for you to notify code authors, make them aware of common mistakes, and fix any similar vulnerabilities before they are able to make an impact.

 

Bottom line

 Effective communication is the key to success in any software development project, and the right tools and resources can make the entire process even more efficient. When both the code author and the code reviewer understand the workflow, they can collaborate to improve the quality of code. This may always be something that’s in progress, but you should encourage your team to communicate and make the most of their resources.

If you want to outsource development, the team at Unosquare can help. We focus on finding the best talent globally and putting together a delivery management practice that you can trust. Our distributed agile software development staffing solutions provide the best expertise for your teams in a way that’s fast, transparent, and efficient. Collaborating with a trusted partner like us makes projects easier, which decreases micromanagement! To find out more about outsourcing software projects with Unosquare, check out our
blog.

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