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Questions tagged [refactoring]

Refactoring is a disciplined technique for restructuring an existing body of code, altering its internal structure without changing its external behavior.

208
votes
16answers
44k views

My boss asks me to stop writing small functions and do everything in the same loop

I have read a book called Clean Code by Robert C. Martin. In this book I've seen many methods to clean up code like writing small functions, choosing names carefully, etc. It seems by far the most ...
186
votes
21answers
23k views

A large part of my code has a major design flaw. Finish it off or fix it now? [closed]

I am a high school student working on a C# project with a friend of mine with about the same skill level as me. So far, we have written roughly 3,000 lines of code and 250 lines of test code in a span ...
153
votes
9answers
116k views

Why should I use a factory class instead of direct object construction?

I have seen the history of several С# and Java class library projects on GitHub and CodePlex, and I see a trend of switching to factory classes as opposed to direct object instantiation. Why should I ...
146
votes
13answers
24k views

Should I refactor the code that is marked as “don't change”?

I am dealing with a pretty big codebase and I was given a few months to refactor existing code. The refactor process is needed because soon we will need to add many new features to our product and as ...
126
votes
5answers
43k views

What are the key points of Working Effectively with Legacy Code? [closed]

I've seen the book Working Effectively with Legacy Code recommended a few times. What are the key points of this book? Is there much more to dealing with legacy code than adding unit/integration ...
116
votes
8answers
12k views

What is the most effective way to add functionality to unfamiliar, structurally unsound code? [duplicate]

This is probably something everyone has to face during the development sooner or later. You have an existing code written by someone else, and you have to extend it to work under new requirements. ...
115
votes
16answers
9k views

Should I remove unreferenced code?

I'm working on a medium sized (100k lines) code base, it's all relatively recent code (less than a year old) and has good unit test coverage. I keep coming across methods which are either no longer ...
108
votes
12answers
15k views

Rationale to prefer local variables over instance variables?

The codebase I'm working on frequently uses instance variables to share data between various trivial methods. The original developer is adamant that this adheres to the best practices stated in the ...
91
votes
15answers
9k views

TDD Red-Green-Refactor and if/how to test methods that become private

as far as I understand it, most people seem to agree that private methods should not be tested directly, but rather through whatever public methods call them. I can see their point, but I have some ...
78
votes
20answers
7k views

Is it ok to replace optimized code with readable code?

Sometimes you run into a situation where you have to extend/improve some existing code. You see that the old code is very lean, but it's also difficult to extend, and takes time to read. Is it a good ...
76
votes
11answers
11k views

Is it a bad practice to modify code strictly for testing purposes

I have a debate with a programmer colleague about whether it is a good or bad practice to modify a working piece of code only to make it testable (via unit tests for example). My opinion is that it ...
73
votes
6answers
6k views

Fixing a spelling mistake in a method name

One of the methods that I commonly use in our codebase is misspelled (and it predated me). This really irritates me not simply because it is mispelled but more importantly it makes me ALWAYS get the ...
72
votes
10answers
7k views

Does it make sense to write tests for legacy code when there is no time for a complete refactoring?

I usually try to follow the advice of the book Working Effectively with Legacy Code. I break dependencies, move parts of the code to @VisibleForTesting public static methods and to new classes to make ...
72
votes
10answers
77k views

How many lines per class is too many in Java? [closed]

In your experience, what is a useful rule of thumb for how many lines of code are too many for one class in Java? To be clear, I know that number of lines is not even close to the real standard to ...
70
votes
7answers
7k views

How do I take responsibility for my code when colleague makes unnecessary improvements without notice?

One of my teammates is a jack of all trades in our IT shop and I respect his insight. However, sometimes he reviews my code (he's second in command to our team leader, so that's expected) without a ...
59
votes
2answers
7k views

Writing tests for code whose purpose I don't understand

I recently completed a black-box refactoring. I am unable to check it in, because I can't work out how to test it. At a high level, I have a class whose initialization involves grabbing values from ...
57
votes
17answers
4k views

How can I make refactoring a priority for my team?

The codebase I work with daily has no automated tests, inconsistent naming and tons of comments like "Why is this here?", "Not sure if this is needed" or "This method isn't named right" and the code ...
55
votes
9answers
8k views

How to write unit tests before refactoring?

I've read some answers to questions along a similar line such as "How do you keep your unit tests working when refactoring?". In my case the scenario is slightly different in that I've been given a ...
53
votes
12answers
5k views

Reconciling the Boy Scout Rule and Opportunistic Refactoring with code reviews

I am a great believer in the Boy Scout Rule: Always check a module in cleaner than when you checked it out." No matter who the original author was, what if we always made some effort, no ...
52
votes
11answers
6k views

How do I avoid cascading refactorings?

I've got a project. In this project I wished to refactor it to add a feature, and I refactored the project to add the feature. The problem is that when I was done, it turned out that I needed to make ...
52
votes
21answers
8k views

How do you explain refactoring to a non-technical person?

How do you go about explaining refactoring (and technical debt) to a non-technical person (typically a PHB or customer)? ("What, it's going to cost me a month of your work with no visible difference?!"...
51
votes
2answers
20k views

What is a“ feature envy” code and why is it considered a code smell?

This question on SO talks about correcting what the OP thought is feature envy code. Another example where I saw this nifty phrase being quoted is in a recently given answer here in programmers.SE. ...
50
votes
5answers
1k views

How far should we rename code and data when end users nomenclatures change?

A long time ago we added a feature where our users could "Accept" an image after it was added to a workflow queue. Turns out, we used the wrong term, and users actually "Approve" the image. Changing ...
49
votes
15answers
4k views

How do I handle refactoring that takes longer than one sprint?

I work with a code base that is over 500K lines of code. It is in serious need of refactoring. There have been refactoring efforts identified that will take longer than the normal two week sprint. ...
47
votes
10answers
9k views

How can one best avoid writing bloated GUI code?

I find whenever I work with GUI code, the code tends to bloat faster then other kinds of code. It also seems harder to refactor. Whereas in other kinds of code I can refactor pretty easily -- I find I ...
46
votes
6answers
4k views

Refactoring into lots of methods - is this considered clean or not? [duplicate]

So, I watched as my colleague complained a bit about a project he has inherited from someone who is, shall we say, not very experienced as a programmer (intern left to his own devices on a project). ...
46
votes
13answers
20k views

What is best practice on ordering parameters in a function?

Sometimes (rarely), it seems that creating a function that takes a decent amount of parameters is the best route. However, when I do, I feel like I'm often choosing the ordering of the parameters at ...
45
votes
7answers
4k views

How to measure the potential value of refactoring

On an old, large project with technical debt how can you reliably estimate or measure the benefit of refactoring code? For example, say you have some components within a software stack solution ...
44
votes
8answers
3k views

Code maintenance: keeping a bad pattern when extending new code for being consistent, or not?

I have to extend an existing module of a project. I don't like the way it has been done (lots of anti-pattern involved, like copy/pasted code). I don't want to perform a complete refactor for many ...
43
votes
12answers
3k views

Coding style (do more, then simplify) [duplicate]

I'm a CS student and I have been coding for a few months shy of a year now, and I seem to have developed what I think may be a "bad" habit and I'm wondering if anyone does the same (or whether it's a ...
42
votes
10answers
3k views

Is it a good idea to schedule regular time to clean up code? [closed]

I'm managing a small team of developers. Every so often we decide we're going to spend a day or two to clean up our code. Would it be a good idea to schedule regular time, say 1 week every 2 months, ...
41
votes
6answers
6k views

What's the best way to handle refactoring a big file?

I'm currently working on a bigger project which unfortunately has some files where software quality guidelines where not always followed. This includes big files (read 2000-4000 lines) which clearly ...
39
votes
6answers
5k views

Why Isn’t SQL More Refactorable? [closed]

Everyone knows that new developers write long functions. As you progress, you get better at breaking your code into smaller pieces and experience teaches you the value of doing so. Enter SQL. Yes, ...
38
votes
11answers
3k views

Techniques to re-factor garbage and maintain sanity? [duplicate]

So I'm sitting down to a nice bowl of c# spaghetti, and need to add something or remove something... but I have challenges everywhere from functions passing arguments that doesn't make sense, someone ...
37
votes
11answers
2k views

How do people doing TDD handle loss of work when doing major refactoring

For a while I have been trying to learn to write unit tests for my code. Initially I started out doing true TDD, where I wouldn't write any code until I'd written a failing test first. However, I ...
36
votes
10answers
5k views

Eliminating Magic Numbers: When is it time to say “No”?

We're all aware that magic numbers (hard-coded values) can wreak havoc in your program, especially when it's time to modify a section of code that has no comments, but where do you draw the line? ...
35
votes
12answers
4k views

Did the gradual shift in methodology of writing code affect system performance? And Should I care?

TD;DR: There was some confusion as to what I was asking, so here is the driving idea behind the question: I always intended the question to be what it is. I may not have articulated it well ...
33
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the term for this type of refactoring

I am sure there is a term for the following bit of refactoring, but I can't remember it and my Google-fu is failing me! The refactor moves if statements to where they are going to have most impact, ...
32
votes
8answers
7k views

Does “variables should live in the smallest scope as possible” include the case “variables should not exist if possible”?

According to the accepted answer on "Rationale to prefer local variables over instance variables?", variables should live in the smallest scope possible. Simplify the problem into my interpretation, ...
32
votes
10answers
7k views

Is “Parent x=new Child();” instead of “Child x=new Child();” a bad practice if we can use the latter one?

For example,I had seen some codes that create a fragment like this: Fragment myFragment=new MyFragment(); which declares a variable as Fragment instead of MyFragment , which MyFragment is a child ...
32
votes
9answers
4k views

How clean should new code be? [duplicate]

I'm the lead designer in our team, which means I'm responsible for the quality of the code; functionality, maintainability and readability. How clean should I require my team members' code to be if ...
32
votes
9answers
5k views

Why are deadlines always so short? [duplicate]

I'm a junior developer in a small company (in a team of 2 developers). Everytime we are asked to implement a new feature: the deadline is set so that we just have time to do the development: there is ...
32
votes
7answers
3k views

How do I prevent unknowningly duplicating code?

I work on a rather large code base. Hundreds of classes, tons of different files, lots of functionality, takes more than 15 minutes to pull down a fresh copy, etc. A big problem with such a large ...
31
votes
10answers
5k views

How to encourage a team to refactor [duplicate]

I am on a team of ~20 people that is part of a very large organization. We have been using the same codebase for ~5 years and have released multiple derivative projects from it. I've had some 1:1 ...
31
votes
9answers
7k views

When to refactor

I've read through most of Fowler's Refactoring book and have refactored many applications in my past big and small. One of the harder things I find to teach is "when" to refactor. I tend to do this ...
30
votes
11answers
4k views

What factors should influence how I determine when to abandon a small project with a friend? [closed]

I've found myself in a tough spot as of late. Been working on a game with a programming buddy for nearly 8 months now. We both started off as newcomers to programming around August of last year, he is ...
29
votes
6answers
2k views

What payoffs have you seen from taking care of technical debt?

This article on technical debt has some good points, including: Working on the "technical matters" works best when it is driven by stories. The code base is probably in need of work everywhere, but ...
28
votes
6answers
6k views

Is there a design pattern to remove the need to check for flags?

I'm going to save some string payload in the database. I have two global configurations: encryption compression These can be enabled or disabled using the configuration in a way that either only one ...
28
votes
4answers
21k views

Usage of magic strings/numbers [closed]

This is somewhat controversial topic, and I guess there is as many opinions as there are programmers. But for the sake of it, I want to know what are the common practices in business (or in your work ...
28
votes
8answers
7k views

How do you keep your unit tests working when refactoring?

In another question, it was revealed that one of the pains with TDD is keeping the testing suite in sync with the codebase during and after refactoring. Now, I'm a big fan of refactoring. I'm not ...