Key strategies for safe refactoring include:

  • Defining the scope and limits of refactoring efforts.
  • Isolating improvements from new feature development.
  • Writing comprehensive tests, including integration tests, to accompany changes.
  • Ensuring visual confirmation of the refactoring’s effectiveness.

Before starting a refactor, it’s essential to:

  • Evaluate the potential impact of changes on both development and business fronts.
  • Decide whether the refactor is necessary for a new feature or can be a standalone task.
  • Confirm that the current system is fully functional to avoid exacerbating existing issues.

During the refactoring process, writing tests is crucial to detect issues early and ensure the system remains functional after changes.

  • If under time constraints, consider separating new feature releases from refactoring efforts to minimise risks.
  • Examples illustrate the complexities and potential pitfalls of refactoring within busy components, emphasising the need for careful planning and testing.
  • Ultimately, whether to refactor should be a decision made with consideration of the potential benefits versus the risks, ensuring any changes can be thoroughly tested and validated.