A screenshot that contrasts how a code sample looks during normal development with how it looks during self-review


You've tentatively finished a chunk of work and you're intending to submit a PR. (Or to push your changes to any other place where they are going to be conveyed to production.)


Review your own changes using git difftool (or any other side-by-side change viewing mechanism). To reduce author's blindness, make your changes look unfamiliar by changing font, colours and, if possible, the screen you're viewing them on.

The same idea applies to reviewing other kinds of work. For example, when you write a document in Markdown, proofread the rendered page in the browser, not the original Markdown.


Why would you review your own code before submitting it for review by others? Because it's a tighter feedback loop. Tighter feedback loops make everything faster. And it saves others' time if they don't have to point out problems that you could have found yourself.

I haven't looked for data on author's blindness and how much it can be reduced by changing colours, font etc. I've only heard anecdotes. You'll have to see whether it makes a difference for you.


This is specific to how I work. You'll have to find an equivalent that works with your tools. All of this is intended to make the code look as different as possible, while staying easy to read.

Writing codeReviewing code
screen normal pixel density, large external display MacBook Retina Display
font 12 pt JetBrains Mono 15 pt Courier
viewing mode normal Vim Vim in diff mode
colorscheme Vim light background defaultgithub (from GitHub: cormacrelf/vim-colors-github)
  • delta is great for viewing diffs. I use it in unified mode for git diff. For self-reviews I still use Vimdiff because I want the output to look different from everyday git diff output. You could write glue code to make delta work for both purposes.

  • I've tried side-by-side difftools other than Vimdiff and delta, but, at least on Mac, they all sucked.

  • 15 pt is the size that allows a text width of about ninety characters Courier in side-by-side view on my laptop display. I have an iTerm2 shortcut for switching to this ‘Diff’ profile.

  • Here are my Vim settings, which are activated automatically in diff mode:

    " Credits:
    " - https://stackoverflow.com/a/17183382/5091738
    " - https://vi.stackexchange.com/a/10898/19694
    " - https://www.reddit.com/r/vim/comments/2mfg88/color_scheme_for_vimdiff/cm3rau0/
    " - http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Xterm256_color_names_for_console_Vim?file=Xterm-color-table.png
    " - https://github.com/endel/vim-github-colorscheme
    if &diff
        set number
        set norelativenumber
        set diffopt+=iwhite
        colorscheme github
        highlight DiffAdd    cterm=none ctermbg=194
        highlight DiffChange cterm=none ctermbg=255
        highlight DiffText cterm=none ctermbg=189
        highlight DiffDelete cterm=none ctermbg=224