What Is CSE Software Refactoring?

Software refactoring is the process of restructuring source code to achieve improvements in various non-functional or quality attributes of the software such as maintainability, readability, complexity and extensibility to name a few. In particular, refactoring does not change any of the software product's external functionality. Refactoring is a way of improving developer productivity.

Published May 16, 2017

Contributor Mark Miller

Ideally, refactoring should not proceed without first having a collection of unit tests with sufficient coverage of the code to be refactored. In practice, however, in high functioning development teams some common forms of re-factoring occur routinely and organically as part of their development processes to avoid duplication of closely related functionalities and reuse bits and pieces of source code.

It should be noted that in all but the most trivial of situations, the common practice of cut-n-paste-n-adjust programming, although possibly the most expedient, inevitably creates a re-factoring burden rather than solves one. Later on, another developer having to maintain such code will have to do the software engineering work to collapse all the cut-n-paste instances into a single implementation that can be re-used where necessary.