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How we use GitHub for code reviews

GitHub has a really great feature in commit comments that is perfect for a small, loose team like ours to do code reviews. We can look at a given commit and provide comments on a line or the commit as a whole. The committer gets notified, and conversation continues.

Let me explain a bit more about our review process. We’re a small team without much hierarchy, so we don’t have specific rules or guidelines about how a review should function. Basically, when we’re ready for someone else on the team to look at our code, we send them a message with a reference (like a GitHub link) to the relevant code. It’s more like “hey look what I did!”

To make that process a bit more streamlined, we’ve built a little tool called It acts as an endpoint for a Post-Receive Hook from GitHub that parses every commit message. If it sees a #reviewthis hashtag, it’ll take every GitHub username (signified by @username) or email address and send a nice email with all of the important information.

So, our process has gone from:

  • finish really great bit of code
  • commit and push
  • grab the commit URL from GitHub
  • write an email to the right team member(s) asking to take a look
  • code gets reviewed, commented on, and maybe updated


  • finish a really great bit of code
  • commit and push (with a slightly revised message)
  • code gets reviewed, commented on, and maybe updated

Minus 2 steps! Awesome! Feel free to use our hosted version at We’ve also open sourced the code, so you can fork it and roll your own.

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