10 Best Practices for Refactoring Code

10 Best Practices for Refactoring Code

Tomek Skupiński's photo
Tomek Skupiński
·Jun 14, 2022·

3 min read

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Table of contents

  • What is refactoring?
  • Best practices for refactoring code
  • Summary

What is refactoring?

Refactoring is the process of improving the design of existing code without changing its functionality.

As software developers, we are constantly faced with the need to improve and optimize our code. Whether it's for performance, readability, or maintainability, refactoring code is an essential skill.

There are a number of different techniques that can be used when refactoring code. In this article, we will explore some of the best practices for refactoring code.

Best practices for refactoring code

  1. Identify the problem areas.

    The first step is to identify the areas of the code that need to be improved. This can be anything from poorly named variables to entire sections of code that are difficult to understand.

  2. Make a plan.

    Once you've identified the problem areas, you need to make a plan for how to fix them. This plan will be different for every situation, but it's important to have a clear idea of what you want to do before you start making changes.

  3. Keep your changes small

    When refactoring code, it is important to make small, incremental changes. This will help to ensure that your code doesn't become unstable and that you can easily revert your changes if necessary.

  4. Write tests

    Hopefully, your code is tested. If not now is the time to change it. Well-written tests will guide you through the refactoring process and ensure that you won't break the application. They will create a safe environment for you to focus on the goal of your refactoring.

  5. Refactor incrementally

    Don't try to refactor all of your code at once. Refactor incrementally, making small changes and testing as you go.

  6. Use a refactoring tool

    There are a number of different refactoring tools available. These tools can help to automate some of the refactoring processes and can make it easier to revert your changes if necessary.

  7. Document your changes.

    Once you've finished refactoring, be sure to document your changes. This will help others understand why the code was changed and what the new structure is.

  8. Use a Source Control System

    When you're refactoring code, it's important to use a source control system so that you can easily revert back to a previous version if something goes wrong. This can save you a lot of time and frustration in the event that you make a mistake.

  9. Perform Regression Testing

    After you've refactored your code, it's a good idea to perform regression testing. This will help to ensure that your changes haven't introduced any new bugs.

  10. Be prepared to undo changes

    Not every refactoring will be successful. Be prepared to undo changes if necessary.

Summary

Refactoring code is an essential skill for every software developer. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can make sure that you won't get lost in the process.

Also, remember that it takes time to master this skill and you can only learn by doing so don't hesitate - to write tests, identify problems and refactor to solve them.

 
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