Spotlight on Spira 6.7.1 - Source Code Pull Requests & Code Reviewing

January 11th, 2021 by inflectra

We are excited about the next release of Spira 6.7.1, due to be released in early February. This new version includes new source code Pull Requests functionality that lets development teams leverage the existing tasks feature in Spira to more easily track the different code branches. The Pull Request tasks are used to help teams review the code before they are merged into the main development branches (develop, master or main depending on your branching and merging methodology).

Creating Pull Requests

The Developing menu heading that was added in Spira 6.7 is now extended to include a new Pull Requests menu entry along with the options for viewing the source code file system and commits list. This is the place where developers can create new pull requests when they have finished working on a specific feature or hotfix branch and now want to request that it be merged into the main development branch (typically develop, master or main).

To create a new pull request, users simply need to click on the New Pull Request button in the main toolbar:

The New Pull Request dialog box is then displayed. This is where you can choose the name of the branch you want to merge from and the branch you want to merge to. In addition you can specify the Spira release that the merge/pull request is associated with (to aid filtering and tracking) and the person who is assigned to perform the code / merge review (called the owner).

Spira will then create a new special type of task called a Pull Request. This task is used to track the work needed to review the request to merge in the changes from the source branch into the destination branch. These pull request tasks can be filtered and sorted by any of the fields in the pull request list page:

Pull Requests as Tasks

In addition, these pull requests are in fact Spira tasks, so they can also be viewed with all the other product tasks in the main task list pages:

This is useful when you want to see all the work in a specific release or sprint, including development tasks, management, infrastructure and code review tasks. You can also view the pull requests in the other task views - Scrum board and Gantt chart.

When you click on a pull request task, it has an additional special tab Commits:

This special tab is automatically populated by Spira with the list of source code commits that are in the source branch but not in the destination branch:

This makes it easier for a developer to review the source code changes before the merge takes place. This is useful for code reviews, pair programming and code auditing.

Code Reviewing Before Merge

When you click on any of the commits in the pull request, Spira will display the list of files that have changed in the commit:

Finally, clicking on any of the files will show you the code changes that have occurred to this file as part of the overall commit.

As developers review these changes, they can use the standard Spira task workflow and comment tracking system to capture the feedback and review notes on the source code. That way there is a central place for all code reviews and merge reviews, simplifying distributed collaboration:

spotlight roadmap devops source code continuous integration commits pull requests