Code refactoring – Currently, Agile teams have more responsibility for writing codes faster to deliver projects as soon as possible. However, there are times when every developer has to add or remove functions at the last moment before releasing the product. But taking a long route to do changes in the code is not just frustrating for the development team, but it also causes submission delays. So, this is where the refactoring code process takes in.

In the world of Agile development, code refactoring is something you just can’t avoid. As a matter of fact, it is an essential process for developing and maintaining codes to keep the product competitive.

Code Refactoring

So let’s understand the meaning of code refactoring and the ways of refactoring in this article.

Code refactoring – a brief explanation

In computer programming and software development, code refactoring is a systematic process for improving code without adding new functionalities to the existing codes.

In simple words, by using the refactoring code process, you can clean the dirty code and do all the changes to overcome code smells or feature additions without choosing the hard way.

Impact of code refactoring

Whenever there’s a problem with team code practices, the code refactoring methods come to the rescue. But code refactoring could be challenging for teams as it includes several correction methods, such as unit testing, convention, lining, OOP usages, and max line of codes.

So, why refactoring code is a tough job? Let’s understand this with an example.

For instance, you and your team can write a whole workable program. However, without the code guidance, the developed program will be a huge file which could be a problem for the entire team, especially when you’re using the Agile methodology, and the reason is quite logical.

In Agile teams, each member has to work together on the codebase to understand the code guideline. This help members review and work on each other’s codes to rectify, implement, and deliver the product within the sprint.

So what will happen if code guidance is missing? Let’s understand this point from the team perspective: long line of code and huge files for a single application. The team will write long codes, which will be hard to maintain, debug, and easily subject to regression error, causing conflict. The other would be the team inability to write short and workable codes, making codes prone to testing and changes and difficult to adapt, adjust, maintain, and scale for further functionality.

Therefore, to ensure the team doesn’t face the above issues, you must use the code refactoring methods. Why? Because the primary purpose of refactoring is to minimize the technical debt to at least 10% or lower.

Methods of code refactoring

There are many ways to refactor codes, but the widely adapted ones are:

Red-green refactoring

The Red-Green refactoring is one of the most popular code refactoring methods in the Agile program development process. The technique is based on the “Test-First” approach, consisting of three steps.

  • Step Red: Developers first write test codes without implementing them on the product. These codes are written to fail the “red-test.”
  • Step Green: In the second step, developers willfully write the easiest codes to pass the “green-test.”
  • Step Refactoring: In the final step, developers focus on improving the codes approved in the green-test.

That means, as a developer, you first write codes to add new functions to your program, and then you refactor those codes in the simplest form without giving up the functionality of the application.

Refactoring by abstraction

With refactoring by abstraction method, you basically remove or reduce code duplications with the help of “Pull-Up” and “Push-Down” methods.

The pull-up method is used to shift classes into a superclass. At the same time, the push-down technique removes classes from a superclass and transfers them to a subclass. So, refactoring by abstraction permits you to change huge chunks of code.

Composing technique

Developers often write long methods during the product development phase, but these methods usually make the code extremely difficult to understand and change. So the team leaders usually prefer the composing technique to refactor codes.

You apply the streamlined methods to reduce code duplication in the composing technique. Examples of the composing technique include extract method, inline Temp, inline method, extract variable, etc.

Simplifying method

The simplifying method is based on two techniques: simplifying conditional expressions and simplifying method calls. Let’s break it down one by one.

In programming, the conditional statement becomes complicated and logical over time. So, you are required to simplify logic in the code to understand the whole product by duplicating conditional fragments and consolidating conditional expression, removing control flag, replacing conditional with polymorphism, etc.

In simplifying method calls technique, you make method calls easier and simpler to understand by working on the interaction between the classes and simplifying interfaces for all of them.

Read More: How to Write Clean Code? 6 Brief Guide on Rules and Principles

Extract method

The extract method technique reduces the code complexity while increasing the code readability. The process involves moving a code block or fragment from its existing method to a new approach. And this newly created method must be named clearly to explain its function.

How Slash does code refactoring?

At Slash, we work on Agile projects daily, and we prefer code refactoring to ensure every member of the team can make the required changes in the code whenever needed. We always look for opportunities to refactor codes instead of pilling them up, as it saves time and resources for our team and the client because some amendments could be costly for both of us.

And to attain this goal, our developers at Slash focus on:

  • Creating more reusable codes
  • Spreading out various smaller files
  • Reducing complexity in method definitions and functions
  • Adding unit tests to fix codes to make them easily pass the test
  • Eradicating duplicated and merging similar codes
  • Removing confusing codes
  • Applying design patterns wherever required

Conclusion

Code refactoring is a process to turn complex codes into simple ones while preserving the application’s external behavior. The main purpose of code refactoring is to allow developers to recognize codes, so anyone can add, remove, or change functions of a program. Although there are many ways of refactoring, the most prominent ones are red-green refactoring, abstraction refactoring, composing method, simplifying method, and extract method.

Promsopeak Sean Nuon
Sean Promsopeak Nuon
Lead engineer
Sean is technology-driven and passionate about working with technology that helps people. Now he finds himself as an executive member of Slash, executing the technology operation side from an entrepreneurship point of view. He has over 9 years of working experience dealing with technical problems, project management and team mindset building. He splits time between Solution Architect & Lead developer for enterprise clients and as part of the management team, he helps build future-proof architecture, define quality standards, team culture, and hiring & training practices.
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