Application Review Process – Part 5: Are there any fundamental issues with the implementation?

by newuser09876 4. March 2014 21:46

This section is where the detailed code review resides. If a system has been in production for a period the code base will start diverging from the originally envisaged enterprise architectural pattern. Common issues include:

  • In a layered architecture some new components might bypass layers and connect straight to the database
  • A system that used to be solely messaging based might start using files or direct database access instead
  • Multiple systems might connect directly to the database as opposed to going via a shared service

As for the detailed code review there are simple checks to do up front:

  • Use a code duplication tool to determine the amount of “Copying and Pasting” has been used
  • Use Resharper to see how many issues it can find
  • Determine if there are any unit and integration tests
  • If the tests are excessively long
    • Is “Arrange” step is overly complex
    • Are tests focussed on one problem or do they contain dozens of “Asserts”
  • Are there an excessive number of solution files and projects
    • Team might be confusing logical and physical separation
    • Design doesn’t include Aggregate roots and trees of interrelated objects and instead is modelling at the database table level
    • May include unnecessary abstractions and layers that could be collapsed
  • Run NDepend or another tool that checks for cyclomatic complexity
  • Review the 10 largest methods in the application
    • Do they look reasonable?
    • Are they factories that populate Data Transfer Objects and could be replaced with AutoMapper?
    • Are they mixing data access with rending code?
    • Is the code generated?


How are transactions handled in the application?

  • Enterprise Services/COM+/XA
  • In stored procs

Is it consistent?

  • All service methods create a TransactionScope
  • AOP injected
  • All components hosted in COM+

Is data integrity ensured?

  • NOLOCK scattered throughout the code base
  • NoSQL database utilised and service writes to multiple documents without mutual exclusion strategy
  • Summary tables aren’t consistently populated and thus can drift out of sync


Logging is consistent across application?

  • All service method write parameters to a log
  • All use same logging framework
  • Write to the same logging repository

Is application support team able to resolve issues by utilising the logs?

Will the application fail in production if logging sink goes down?

  • Logs are written to database table and if that is down application cant start
  • Audit Web Service fails and orders can’t be processed

System provides data changes auditing?


Role based security is used?

  • Users are assigned roles in the application
  • Accounts that run the Web Services and Application Servers are assigned roles in the database and not given rights directly

Authorisation checks are made in a consistent manner?

  • MVC custom attributes used
  • AOP injects authorisation check into all Web Service calls
  • Security Context is assigned to user at login and is then passed into each subsequent request

Active Directory or LDAP utilised

  • Internal enterprise applications should not develop a custom user authentication module
  • Integrated security preferred to connection strings including username/password

Presentation Layer

What presentation patterns are used?

  • Where does rendering occur
    • On server
    • On client
  • Two way data binding used

Client code follows best practices?

  • CSS and Javascript in files so that they can be cached on client
  • CSS used over inline styles
  • ViewModels used over events


Is data movements minimised?

  • Sorting, paging and filtering occurs in the database and not in the application server
  • Aggregation operations are performed only once
  • Session data is minimised to reduce copying to and from repository
  • SELECT N + 1 anti-pattern does occur


  • Is cache centralised?
  • If local and distributed caches are used does invalidation logic work correctly?
  • Is it possible to invalidate cache items easily?
  • Are inputs cached?
  • Are results cached?
  • Is cache utilised to protect application from external component failures?
    • HR system contains staff home addresses and when it goes down application stops
    • Each hour all addresses are loaded into cache if HR system not contactable leave stale items in cache

Does the system utilise asynchronous operations?

  • The majority of business operations should be performed asynchronously using a message queues
  • Under heavy load queues can be throttled to reduce work on application servers
  • If external system is down application can continue working by pushing commands onto local queues

Load balancing

  • System is stateless and doesn’t require sticky sessions
  • Load balancer is intelligent and allocates work to the least busy server as opposed to simply using Round Robin scheduling
  • Load balancer doesn’t route traffic to web server if it is off i.e. should not use a ping check
  • SSL encryption is done on Load Balancer to reduce load on the web servers

High Availability

  • Multiple servers in each physical tier in the application
  • Physical tiers are known by Virtual IPs and not by machine names
  • Each servers installation within a physical tier is identical
  • Manual intervention is not required when a server fails
  • Not Highly Available
    • Multiple application servers but some clients only connect to a single machine
    • File shares not redundant
  • Licensing issues meant implementation is Hot/Cold (Active/Passive) as opposed to Hot/Hot (Active/Active)

Resource Management

Are resources cleaned up correctly?

  • Database connections released to pool programmatically and not by garbage collector
  • Events are detached so that views are able to be collected when no longer used
  • IDisposable/using statement used throughout the code
  • LINQ statements that connect to the database are evaluated immediately and not by the caller
  • Code is exception safe i.e. if exception is thrown in middle of method the data structure isn’t left in a corrupted inconsistent state

Locking strategy is consistent and modern?

  • Active Object pattern and producer consumer queues used over lock statements
  • If Optimistic locking strategy is utilised are summary tables correctly written to


  • Comments should not replace source control
    • Defects or changes should not be marked with developers name
    • Changes should not be dated
  • Prefer informative variable, method and class names over comments
  • Prefer “Extract Method” refactoring to comments
  • XML comments
    • Are they used?
    • If so are they populated or empty?
    • Prefer no XML comments to empty comments

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3/22/2014 5:18:51 PM #


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