What Is Refactoring?

Code refactoring is the process to basically ‘clean up’ the code for your bespoke website, web-based app or mobile app.

Refactoring involves changes to the code, but maintaining the functionality and behaviour as a user would see. This may include things such as removing duplicate code, restructuring code and removing redundant code.

Why is Refactoring Needed?

The reason refactoring is done is to improve the quality of the code – to make it more efficient and maintainable. It can help to reduce the likelihood of bugs and reduce the time (and thus cost) needed for future updates and changes.

It’s most needed on projects with bespoke code, especially those which have evolved over time. It’s not likely to be needed if for example a CMS platform (such as WordPress) has been used and no or little bespoke code has been written.

When to Do It

There is no right or wrong answer to exactly when refactoring should be done. Tell-tale signs that it may be needed are when developers highlight difficulties with making changes to existing code or debugging is taking longer than it should.

The two most common times to do refactoring are:

  • Ahead of implement a change to functionality or new feature – It’s less overall effort than doing it later and means good quality code for the functionality change or new feature
  • After a release or launch – Assuming changes are going to be required in the future, this can be a good time for refactoring.

It’s also important to evaluate the overall code base. In some cases where there is a large amount of code that needs refactoring, it can even be more efficient (in the long run) to rewrite the website or app.

With refactoring (and bespoke websites or apps in general), it’s very important that testing is done.

Summary

Refactoring is something that professional agencies and software developers consider for bespoke websites or apps. It’s important to do this to make the underlying code good quality and more maintainable. The key benefits are to improve robustness and reduce overall time needed (and thus cost) for future changes.