Code refactoring is an inevitable process used in the software development process. It involves cleaning up or editing the code when it becomes outdated. It is a key to reduce the technical costs as it’s better to clean up the code than paying for the costly errors.

Refactoring improves the code readability, improves the QA, and the debugging process go smoothly. So, it’s no question whether or not you should refactor. The problem is when you should consider refactoring a code.

Here, we are going to help you figure out five signs when code refactoring is a must-

1. You Are Facing Legacy Code

With more and more users, codes get slower, and new bugs appear that require fixes. Moreover, with time, you may want to add new functionalities, replace the outdated designs, and use new technology. Therefore, the product development process is an ongoing task and shouldn’t stop after the product has been launched.

But, what if the product’s codebase gets bulky and you have to deal with legacy code? Well, it’s time to refactor the code. However, consider the following tips to get the best results by refactoring the legacy code-

When you inherit the legacy code, the team may find that the code looks ugly. But, if it is doing the job, it can’t be considered that bad. So, don’t start refactoring or fixing all the weaknesses right away until you get acquainted with a code.

Don’t consider refactoring the whole codebase, all at once. Your entire team might get stuck with the refactoring process without any time for other work. So, it’s better to plan small changes.

Use the Red-Green-Refactor principle while adding new functionality to the software. Red means create tests, and Green means write codes to pass the tests.

2. You Find A Lot Of Bugs In The Codebase

Fixing the bugs without refactoring the code may lead to even more bugs. Though fixing one or two bugs don’t require refactoring, codebase with a lot of bugs create spaghetti code. It is a slang term used to refer to difficult-to-maintain source codes. In this situation, you fix one issue and the other crashes. It would help if you made sure that the code you are going to debug doesn’t contain any hidden dependencies. If it does, consider refactoring and debugging.

3. There Are Code Repetitions

When several developers are working multiple parts of the same project, repetitive code becomes a common problem.

Such duplications may lead to cases when a bug is fixed in one place while it isn’t fixed at the other sites.

In such cases, the developer can’t decide which version is correct, and fixing the bug becomes a nightmare. Code refactoring is the cure for such duplicated or repeated codes. It helps find the repetitions, and make the codes laconic.

4. You Are Facing Technical Debt

Just the way your interest compounds, if you don’t pay the monetary debts, the debt gets more significant if you don’t develop the software consistently. The reason is the developers are likely to leave the project. And, all the efforts they made to improve the code quality and make the product to enter the market faster will go vain.

Broken deadlines or budget, vendor lock-in, inaccurate estimates, etc. are some of the consequences of technical debt. One way to minimize the effects is to schedule refactoring tasks and reduce the debt until the code is clean.

5. The code Isn’t Easy To Read

The primary purpose of refactoring the code is to improve its readability. Remember, anyone can write a code that a computer understands. But, only good programmers can write codes that are relatively easy to read by human beings.

To do so, it isn’t always necessary to restructure the code. Just rename a few functions or variables, and you’ve done enough to make the code readable.

6. To Wrap Up

Refactoring isn’t a backlog item; it’s an immediate, continuous, and inevitable process. It’s a useful tool to keep your code’s quality high. So, it would be best if you made it a part of your software development routine.