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Gerrit: Google-style code review meets git

Nov 19, 2009, 12:03 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Don Marti)

"HTC, Qualcomm, TI, Sony Ericsson, and Android originator Google are all running Gerrit, project leader Shawn Pearce said in a talk at the October 2009 GitTogether event, hosted at Google in Mountain View.

"The Gerrit story starts with the progressive escape of an in-house Google process and tool. Google requires code review for any change to company code or configuration files; there are a few exceptions, but those are subject to review after deployment. The code review process started out using lots of email, but for the past several years it has been automated. When Guido van Rossum, creator of the Python language, began working at Google in 2005, he started developing a tool, in Python naturally, to coordinate code reviews. The result, called Mondrian, lets users view the proposed change as a side-by-side comparison, and participate in comment threads attached anywhere in the code under review. An overview page shows a to-do list of incoming changes to review and reviewers' comments. Van Rossum presented Mondrian at a public talk in 2006. (video).

"Mondrian has been a huge success inside Google, Pearce said. "Almost every engineer uses this as their daily thing." But Mondrian is heavily dependent on Google's internal infrastructure, including the in-house Bigtable non-relational table store and the proprietary Perforce revision control system. Google is a huge Perforce shop, and has built its own highly-customized IT infrastructure, including Perforce-dependent tools."

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