Refactoring is the process of changing or improving code that already exists, while keeping the application's functionalities intact. To give more specific examples of what refactoring is, changes that can happen are the reorganization of redundant code, renaming variables or functions for improved readability, and generally reducing code complexity into a cleaner, simpler code.
It's important to be very careful not to break existing functionalities of an application when refactoring. A nice rule of thumb to follow is refactoring in small parts. Run automatic tests and every time that they're run, widen the scope of the test.
The timing in which to perform refactoring varies from conducting it within the normal development schedule to setting up a designed time specifically geared towards refactoring. Either way, refactoring needs an established goal for what it intends to accomplish and this can be done by gaining knowledge of the current state of the application with survey and analysis.
It's most effective to communicate within the team to decide the goals, methods, and scope of refactoring to maintain the cleanest, easiest to understand code in a project.
The ability to write clean, concise code is an essential skill in team-based development.
It's common in the beginning of product development or projects where specifications and functionality change a lot to just focus on getting the product to work. Code readability often gets left off of the list of development priorities. Doing this and not cleaning up the code along way will make the quality of the code get progressively worse, making it harder to add any new functionalities or build on the original code.
If developers refactor regularly throughout development, the process is streamlined: code is easier to read, bugs are easier to find, cost of production keeps from rising, and the overall speed of development can improve over a long term development period.
There are also times where even if developers want to make improvements to the code, they can't refactor because of a fear of touching working code. Take the time to thoroughly learn about refactoring techniques. Don't be afraid of the code or of improving it, and gain an important skill.
Learn from Here
Just by changing the name of variables to be easier to recognize or changing the code structure, code readability can be considerably improved. First, learn some basics of refactoring to visualize the overall process.
Trying Out Some Easy Refactoring Techniques
Write Easy to Understand Variable Names
Write Comments on the Code
Simplify Loops and Logic
Convert Multipurpose Code into a Function
Refactor a FizzBuzz Program
The Art of Readable Code
This resource allows for even first time learners to be able gain knowledge about base refactoring skills very quickly. Use this and start reading about what to do to write clean, easily readable code.
The Art of Readable Code
As programmers, we’ve all seen source code that’s so ugly and buggy it makes our brain ache. Over the past five years, authors Dustin Boswell and Trevor Foucher have analyzed … - Selection from The Art of Readable Code [Book]