To get an idea of the quality of a project that I've never seen before (usually open source projects that I'm considering whether or not to use), I often start by opening random files and eyeballing fine details of the code.
I look for things like:
- Style (does it follow accepted conventions for the language and is it consistent)
- Quality and consistency of comments
- Common language specific gotchas (e.g. consistently not using
- Does it look logically structured
I find this gives me a good idea of the skill of the developer/s that wrote the code, even if I know absolutely nothing about what the code is meant to be doing.
Do people think this is useful? What does one need to take into account for quickly assessing the quality of a project's code base, assuming no knowledge of how it actually works?