Code-change reviews are a critical part of the software development process at scale, taking a significant amount of the code authors’ and the code reviewers’ time. As part of this process, the reviewer inspects the proposed code and asks the author for code changes through comments written in natural language. At Google, we see millions of reviewer comments per year, and authors require an average of ~60 minutes active shepherding time between sending changes for review and finally submitting the change. In our measurements, the required active work time that the code author must do to address reviewer comments grows almost linearly with the number of comments. However, with machine learning (ML), we have an opportunity to automate and streamline the code review process, e.g., by proposing code changes based on a comment’s text.
Today, we describe applying recent advances of large sequence models in a real-world setting to automatically resolve code review comments in the day-to-day development workflow at Google (publication forthcoming). As of today, code-change authors at Google address a substantial amount of reviewer comments by applying an ML-suggested edit. We expect that to reduce time spent on code reviews by hundreds of thousands of hours annually at Google scale. Unsolicited, very positive feedback highlights that the impact of ML-suggested code edits increases Googlers' productivity and allows them to focus on more creative and complex tasks.