We sat down with Jake Hiller, Head of Engineering at Codecademy, to find out how they use Code Climate’s automated code review tool, Quality, to maintain their quality standards while rapidly growing their engineering team.
"Code Climate keeps our process for creating PRs really low-effort so we can quickly test ideas and ship sooner."
Why Code Climate Quality
Like many rapidly developing teams, Codecademy was running into growing pains for both engineering onboarding and code review. They had tried using local analysis tools but found them cumbersome to integrate as development environments varied across the team.
With an engineering workflow centered around pull request reviews, and a desire to reduce friction in committing and testing code, they needed a solution that would optimize their pull request review process and enable new team members to quickly become productive.
Codecademy had been using Quality for their Ruby stack since 2013. When Head of Engineering, Jake Hiller, joined in early 2015, he saw an opportunity to alleviate their code review and onboarding issues by rolling it out to the whole team.
“We wanted to avoid anything that blocks engineers from committing and testing code. Other solutions that use pre-commit hooks are invasive to both experimentation and the creative process. Code Climate’s flexibility helps us maintain rules that are tailored to our team and codebase, while offering standard maintainability measurements. Plus it enables us to defer checks until code is ready to be reviewed, so we can quickly test ideas and ship sooner.”
“Code Climate helps us transfer knowledge to new engineers – like our coding standards, why we’ve made decisions over time, and why we’ve chosen certain structures and patterns."
Increased speed and quality
Since rolling out to the whole team, Hiller says Codecademy has seen an improvement in the quality of their code reviews and the ease with which new team members get up to speed.
“Code Climate helps us transfer knowledge to new engineers – like our coding standards, why we’ve made decisions over time, and why we’ve chosen certain structures and patterns. New engineers can look through the Code Climate issues in their PR, ask questions, and propose changes and suggestions to the team.
“It’s also increased the speed and quality of our pull request reviews. We’ve been able to spend more time discussing the important functional aspects of our code, and less time debating smaller issues. There are a lot of issues that can’t be fixed with an auto formatter, which is where Code Climate will always be really helpful for our team.”
Codecademy was founded in 2011 as an immersive online platform for learning to code in a fun, interactive, and accessible way. They’ve helped 45 million people learn how to code, covering a wide variety of programming languages, frameworks, and larger topics like Data Analysis and Web Development. Their recently released Pro and Pro Intensive products provide users with more hands on support and practice material to help them learn the skills they need to find jobs.
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