Refactoring is a decisive tool for a developer. It makes the coding results clean and readable. Throughout the whole code-writing process it requires a lot of pivoting and editing. In this article, we are going to discuss the benefits and importance of refactoring.
What is code refactoring?
Code refactoring is defined as the process of restructuring computer code without changing or adding characters to its external behavior and functionality.
Why is it important?
Experts say it helps change dirty code into clean code.
Don’t consider code refactoring as rewriting the code. Rewriting the code changes the behavior of the code but refactoring doesn’t. Below we are going to overview the benefits of correct code refactoring and check some helpful patterns.
Easier to modify
When you refactor you improve the design of your software. Any application under active development is a moving target. As you add new functionality, cohesion decreases. By refactoring regularly, you update the code so that it reflects an improved understanding of the domain. This alignment enables easier modification.
Easier to read
It’s no secret that developers read code more often than they write. That is why the written code must be readable. Believe me, if you refactor the code, developers will thank you later.
Easier to find bugs
Code refactoring makes debugging easier, provides more understandable code base, and also increases productivity as you program faster when the code is clean and can be easily understood. It becomes easier to track and fix the bugs with clean code.
Clean code also means that design elements and code modules can be reused – if code works well and is clean, it can become the basis for code elsewhere.
Code refactoring patterns: practical tips.
After we have covered some fundamentals of code refactoring, let’s view some practical tips.
Replace Anonymous Function with Expression
Instead, it’s more helpful to extract these anonymous functions into a function expression, which makes it much easier to understand the intent.
Use defining functions for repetitive tasks
Defining functions for repetitive tasks is the first and perhaps most significant refactoring to perform. Although functions provide many advantages, from the standpoint of refactoring, you can shorten the code and increase readability. In addition, you only have to update the job once, in the declaration of the function.
When refactoring code, it’s a must to analyze the structure of the code. It can give you valuable information as well.
For example, we often define a utils file that holds all kinds of shared logic. Sometimes, it’ll make a mess by combining non-related functions. The presence of a utils file is actually a code smell. Try to group functions into meaningful modules.
Example: a file full of util functions contains two functions – add and subtract. Both functions perform mathematical operations, so we can easily group them into a Maths module which exposes both functions. It’s more apparent to track those functions after screening the architecture.
Combine functions into a class
Using a class makes it more explicit for a group of actions operating on a common entity. It lets you group together functions that work on the same dataset, increases code readability by making the actin subject more explicit and provides a reference such as an object to pass to other parts of the system.
What if I still don’t want to refactor my code?
To be fair, it’s gonna be your own problem, if you refuse to refactor your code. At some point you’ll just hit a wall. It’ll take you too long to add a minor factor. As mentioned above, clean code is the base of any project. The more you ignore code cleaning, the more mess you’ll get later. Does it mean you should stop and refactor each code? No!
Let’s be pragmatic. You can just look through 1-3 times, so each time you’ll have something to catch your eye and improve it. Refactoring should benefit the result, not stop the workflow of your colleagues.