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How about a new section for code reviews?

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I just felt like what if we have a separate section for code reviews. This section is strictly meant for code reviews in domains like DSP, VLSI( for instance "Verilog" programming) ,Embedded systems etc.The rules for posting should be similar to any other question posted in this site.

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4 comments

FYI, the Software Development community has a category for code reviews. I don't know if the things you're asking about are EE-specialized enough that folks on a general software-dev community wouldn't be able to help, but perhaps try asking a couple review questions there to see how it goes? Monica Cellio‭ about 1 month ago

@ Monica Cellio Embedded systems programming is currently off-topic at Software Development but on-topic here. Lundin‭ about 1 month ago

@Monica Embedded programming was proposed in Area51 twice. The second time it almost made it to private beta. Nick Alexeev‭ about 1 month ago

Whoops, sorry -- didn't remember that embedded systems were off-topic on Software Dev. I guess that's pretty different from other software. (Not my field, sorry.) Monica Cellio‭ about 1 month ago

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Regarding scope of embedded systems/firmware

When we released Software Development, I made a push to make all forms of embedded systems programming off-topic and re-direct such to this site.

The reason for this is is my experience from the "embedded" tag over at SO, where I'm one of the top users and pretty much the only one that has been consistently moderating that tag over the years. That tag attracts a whole lot of bad or off-topic questions.

Embedded systems trouble-shooting or review questions asked at a pure software site almost always end up in the borderland between software and hardware. It is very common that you don't know if the reason for the problem is located in software or hardware. And then it is not sufficient just to view the source code to find the problem, you'll need datasheets and schematics too. Quite often the problem is related to how a certain data bus is used.

Also, if the problem happens to be the software, the question is on-topic for the programming site. But if the problem was hardware, then suddenly it is off-topic.

So these kind of questions were always best to ask at the Electrical Engineering sites, where firmware development (microcontrollers, HDL, PLC etc) is on-topic.


Regarding reviews

This means that code review questions of firmware are also best asked at the Electrical Engineering site.

I've been participating in SE's Code Review site too, and whenever embedded systems questions pop up there, you tend to get confused PC programmers chiming in, coming up with advise that ranges from mildly useful to horribly wrong.

Generally, I think all forms of design review of electronics should be on-topic here. Schematics, component choice, PCB layout, real-time requirements, source code.

(Take for example someone asking for a review of their switch debouncing. They are using RC low pass filters as well as a software filter. How do you review that overall design without viewing schematics + code both?)

So if we are to make a new category, it should perhaps be named Design reviews and not just restricted to source code, but to any form of design reviews. I'd love to see more design reviews of schematics and layouts on this site too.

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4 comments

I agree with what you said, but don't think a new category is necessary. These questions can already be asked in the main Q&A right now. The volume there is quite low now. If we ever get overrun, we can think about a new category then. Olin Lathrop‭ about 1 month ago

@Olin Lathrop The benefit of a different category is that we can apply different posting rules there. For example if someone wants help to trouble-shoot their program, we'll want a minimum code example and/or the relevant schematic page only. However, if they are looking for a design review we might want all of it. Lundin‭ about 1 month ago

What documentation you need is already dependent on individual posts. If this site was getting 10s of questions per day, I wouldn't mind a new category. However, with the current volume it will only highlight the fact that there is low activity here. Look at what too many categories did to the Photography site. They really emphasize how nothing is going on there. Olin Lathrop‭ about 1 month ago

@Olin Lathrop‭ I don't think there's any relation between the number of categories and the site activity. That site like several others struggles because it had too few veteran/enthusiast users from the start. That being said, we aren't exactly drowning in new posts either, so yeah maybe we should wait with adding new categories. Lundin‭ about 1 month ago

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Personally I wouldn't want another category (what you seem to mean by "section"). I also don't think this should be a code review site.

However, asking for validation and advice on small and specific pieces of code is already on topic, if that code is somehow related to hardware.

For example, this isn't the site to ask about a general C sorting function. But, you could ask people to look over a small section of code that sets up the UART on a particular microcontroller to make sure that specific hardware is managed correctly. An assembly routine to perform a floating point to fixed point conversion on a specific micro with limited instruction set might also be on topic.

The main point is, that to be on topic here, there has to be some aspect of the code that is tied to hardware or the peculiarities of particular embedded processors.

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