When it comes to websites, the codebase has often been touched by many hands over many years, whether internally or by another agency. That’s why when clients want to engage us on a project, we recommend starting with a code audit. This is to ensure that we—both C2 and the client—understand what’s going on in the codebase and how we can ensure it is maintainable and sustainable moving forward.
As your website grows with different features and functionality, so does your codebase. And we want to be sure we know what’s there and how it’s structured before we perform any enhancements or simply even add a single line of new code.
A code audit is a straightforward analysis of your website or application’s source code including the front- and back-end code, in addition to the site architecture. The intent is to discover opportunities for improvement and assess the current risks and sustainability of the current solution. Regular code audits ensure your codebase is mature and solid, revealing any root issues or errors, quickly.
This kind of engagement lets both teams familiarize themselves with the structure and overall functionality of your code. The goal is to gain an understanding of the code and catch any glaringly obvious bugs, inconsistencies, and potential causes of security breaches or violations of programming conventions. We also check to see if it’s optimal for SEO, page speed performance, accessibility (we can exclusively audit for this as well), along with other usability and best practice guidelines.
Then, we review and compile the audit into a document listing all of the discovered issues and suggested fixes from high-, medium-, and low-risk along with best practices for moving forward. This is a great way for client teams to see how well their software is equipped to support and scale business needs long-term.
As best practice, we recommend a code audit every 6-12 months. Think of it like spring cleaning. You need to review what you have regularly to understand what’s good, no longer needed, or could be repurposed for better use.
There are several other signs that may lead you to wanting to conduct a code audit:
Code audits can seem daunting, since projects can have thousands of lines of code. To avoid being overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to perform code audits or reviews regularly. In fact, a study found that every hour spent on code inspections avoided an average of 33 hours of maintenance! Code audits are a great opportunity to:
Code audits help you find any issues or potential threats as soon as possible, making the fixes easier and cheaper to manage in the future.
Code audits are a great way to determine if it makes more sense to clean up what’s there or to start with something new. By auditing the frontend, back-end, and infrastructure code, you can determine how well you will be able to implement system upgrades, add features, and improve security of your codebase. Consider hiring a third-party to perform your code audit, since your developers may be too close to observe existing issues objectively. It’s also a great way to fact check the audit work your team has already done.
Code audits can be an intensive process, depending on the size of your project, but save time and headaches in the future, allowing teams to focus on refactoring clunky code for better use and adding new features and functionality to your project instead of trying to patch up code for bug issues.
A secure, clean codebase provides a solid foundation for the growth of any business. If you’re finding your codebase to be a challenge or pain point as you scale your web presence, get in touch with us here.