ReTune Code Clinic: Launch

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January 5, 2023

ReTune Code Clinic Launch

We are very excited to inform you that ReTune is launching the Code Clinic within our consortium. The aim is to support and encourage one another in improving the quality and reusability of our code, with benefits for the quality and replicability of our research.

Every researcher, regardless of programming experience, is invited to actively participate by signing up. For everyone interested, we will explain the concept further.

What the heck is a “Code Clinic”?

Regardless of formal training, research topic, or software of choice, neuroscientists nowadays are spending large amounts of their time writing, interpreting, or debugging code.

Although programming code is like writing scientific texts, with everyone having their own style, certain best practices promote “better code”. This means the code is e.g. faster, easier to read, easier to debug, or easier to reuse by others. Becoming better at all of this takes time and good supervision, and that’s why we are launching the Code Clinic.

What does the Code Clinic offer?

To facilitate effective code improvement, we provide guidelines on best coding practices and how to perform a Code Review. Furthermore, participants will be matched by us based on experience and field of expertise.

Because reviewing code can be very beneficial at different points in a scientific project, we introduce two initiatives for promoting code quality.

 

Code Review

When a person has written a substantial piece of code for a project which they want to make available e.g. as part of a publication, or for a package, they may wish to request a code review. The purpose of this is to increase the quality of pre-existing code, such as through checking for errors, providing feedback on the usability, improving the structure of the code, etc…

Coding Buddy

On the other hand, if a person is continuing to build on their project, waiting until their code is in a near-complete state before getting feedback may not be the best approach. Instead, it may be desirable for the person to engage with an experienced programmer, meeting every few weeks for ongoing feedback and discussions: a coding buddy! This approach allows the quality of the code to be improved as it is written, rather than after the fact with a code review.

Whether you are a complete programming novice looking for guidance through the basics, or an experienced programmer looking for help with more complex matters, you are welcome to request a coding buddy!

 

Interested? Let’s review!

We think all scientific projects and researchers can profit from code reviews and coding buddies.

If you want to sign up to request or provide a Code Review, sign up for a Coding Buddy, or are generally interested and want to learn more, leave your contact information in this google form: https://forms.gle/91e5Mt54unWYxju97 .

In case you have any questions, doubts, or comments, feel free to contact us personally via Teams or email.

 

Wishing you all the best and good coding,

Thomas Binns, Moritz Gerstner, Jeroen Habets, Esther Florin

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