Code refactoring gives engineers a much-needed mental break, and I believe many developers can relate to this. Writing code all day is exhausting, especially if you’re adding new features daily. It’s a challenging task, and engineers frequently require some time to reflect on the general layout of the software and consider what may be improved.
This is precisely what code restructuring accomplishes. It offers engineers a much-needed mental respite and allows them to work on higher-level, codebase-related concerns. However, this is also a good time to double-check your code against the codebase rules. No codebase is flawless. Minor violations of the guidelines make it to the “main” branch.
Furthermore, it eliminates technical debt. Developers have the opportunity to browse the codebase and learn about portions or features that they haven’t touched yet. It’s a fantastic byproduct of code restructuring.
Nonetheless, many teams fail to assess the efficacy of their refactoring efforts. Team leaders or a CTO are frequently required to report to management. It’s difficult to explain the time spent restructuring a codebase against time spent building new features without “concrete” figures. The pressure is constantly on for many entrepreneurs. Because of this ongoing pressure, it is challenging to justify codebase restructuring.
What is code refactoring?
Code refactoring is a procedure employed in the DevOps software development strategy that includes altering and cleaning up previously written software code without impacting the code’s purpose in any way.
The primary goal of code refactoring is to improve the code’s efficiency and maintainability. This is critical for lowering technical costs since it is preferable to clean up the code now rather than pay for costly errors afterwards. Code refactoring, which increases readability, speeds up the QA and debugging processes. While it does not remove bugs, it can help avoid them in the future.
This is why routine code refactoring is a good practice.
To avoid the dreaded code rot, you must rework your code. Code rot is caused by duplicate code, many patches, incorrect classifications, and other programming flaws. A revolving door of developers working in their styles can also lead to code rot since the overall coding script lacks cohesiveness.
When should you consider software refactoring?
The ideal time to think about refactoring is before making any changes or adding new functionality to existing code. Going back and cleaning up existing code before adding new programming would increase the product’s quality and make it easier for future developers to build on the original code.
Another moment to consider refactoring is after you’ve released a product to the market. That does seem stupid. You’ve finally launched a product you’ve been working on for months, if not years, and now you have to start over? This is a perfect moment to undertake some cleaning since developers may have more time to concentrate on restructuring before moving on to the next project.
Metrics to measure refactoring success
There are various metrics you may use to assess the success of codebase restructuring. Because code restructuring is still a logical endeavor, you do not need to incorporate all metrics. On the other hand, specific metrics can provide a solid indicator of the success of your refactoring.
1. Number of open codebase issues
When the number of open codebase bugs continues to rise, it’s a warning sign of deteriorating codebase quality. However, in addition to being a red signal, it may also assist you in tracking the effectiveness of your refactoring efforts. Your precise aim is to decrease the number of open codebase issues to zero before the next sprint begins.
Because the concerns are still minor, you want to address them quickly as feasible. However, as your software evolves, simple errors can become complex and time-consuming to resolve. You want to avoid this circumstance since it will put you back both in terms of time and money.
If you’re wondering how to monitor and visualize codebase problems, check out the Stepsize VSCode and JetBrains extensions. The tool will assist you in the following ways:
- Connect your problem-solving device to code.
- Share information on ticking time bombs in the codebase with the team.
- Issues should be prioritized, and progress should be tracked.
2. Number of TODOs in database
In general, you don’t want to see too many TODOs in your codebase. It indicates that things could be better but aren’t being worked on. The context of TODOs may become forgotten as your codebase evolves, making it challenging to identify the initial problem and, more crucially, fix the TODO.
As a result, please take advantage of a refactoring opportunity to eliminate idle TODOs from your codebase or organize your TODOs so that you can understand the context and address them more quickly afterwards.
3. Number of failed unit tests
Many codebases have failed unit tests. As long as the number of failed unit tests remains low, this will not jeopardize the quality of your codebase.
Keep an eye on the frequency of failed tests, though. It’s a red indicator when it comes to starting a code refactoring week and monitoring the success of your code reworking. Before beginning a newsprint, you want to have the number of failed tests near as zero as possible.
4. Code Coverage
The code coverage measure is inextricably tied to the number of failed unit tests. However, to assess the effectiveness of your code restructuring, you must also know how the quality of your codebase improves. One technique to determine the quality of your codebase is to examine the code coverage, which shows you how much you can rely on it. Improved code coverage frequently results in higher code quality if tests are done appropriately.
Although no codebase is flawless, aim to attain as close to 100 per cent code coverage as possible. If you don’t have the resources to test your codebase correctly, make sure to try the most crucial pathways within it. This will assist you in increasing trust in your code.
When refactoring code, don’t forget to write, update, or alter tests. You don’t want to improve your code while decreasing its coverage. In other words, refactoring and code testing are inextricably linked.
5. Measure Duplication
Duplication is not a high-level measure you should strive for. However, it is still a useful measure to keep an eye on while altering code. People don’t always wholly comprehend codebases as they expand. As a result, they may be unaware that a helpful library or function already exists and hence develop a new one with the same capabilities. The same is frequently true for modules in bigger codebases.
First, discover duplicate code and write it down to track refactoring success. When you’ve done code restructuring, return to this list to see how many lines of redundant code have been deleted from the source.