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Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code (Object Technology Series) Hardcover – 28 Jun 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (28 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201485672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201485677
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

Your class library works, but could it be better? Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code shows how refactoring can make object-oriented code simpler and easier to maintain. Today, refactoring requires considerable design know-how, but once tools become available, all programmers should be able to improve their code using refactoring techniques.

Besides an introduction to what refactoring is, this handbook provides a catalogue of dozens of tips for improving code. The best thing about Refactoring is its remarkably clear presentation, along with excellent nuts-and-bolts advice, from object expert Martin Fowler. The author is also an authority on software patterns and UML, and this experience helps make this a better book, one that should be immediately accessible to any intermediate or advanced object-oriented developer. (Just like patterns, each refactoring tip is presented with a simple name, a "motivation," and examples using Java and UML.)

Early chapters stress the importance of testing in successful refactoring. (When you improve code, you have to test to verify that it still works.) After the discussion on how to detect the "smells" of bad code, readers get to the heart of the book, its catalogue of more than 70 "refactorings"--tips for better and simpler class design. Each tip is illustrated with "before" and "after" code, along with an explanation. Later chapters provide a quick look at refactoring research.

Like software patterns, refactoring may be an idea whose time has come. This groundbreaking title will surely help bring refactoring to the programming mainstream. With its clear advice on a hot new topic, Refactoring is sure to be essential reading for anyone who writes or maintains object- oriented software. --Richard Dragan

Topics Covered: Refactoring, improving software code, redesign, design tips, patterns, unit testing, refactoring research and tools.

From the Back Cover

As the application of object technology--particularly the Java programming language--has become commonplace, a new problem has emerged to confront the software development community. Significant numbers of poorly designed programs have been created by less-experienced developers, resulting in applications that are inefficient and hard to maintain and extend. Increasingly, software system professionals are discovering just how difficult it is to work with these inherited, "non-optimal" applications. For several years, expert-level object programmers have employed a growing collection of techniques to improve the structural integrity and performance of such existing software programs. Referred to as "refactoring," these practices have remained in the domain of experts because no attempt has been made to transcribe the lore into a form that all developers could use. . .until now. In Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, renowned object technology mentor Martin Fowler breaks new ground, demystifying these master practices and demonstrating how software practitioners can realize the significant benefits of this new process.

 

With proper training a skilled system designer can take a bad design and rework it into well-designed, robust code. In this book, Martin Fowler shows you where opportunities for refactoring typically can be found, and how to go about reworking a bad design into a good one. Each refactoring step is simple--seemingly too simple to be worth doing. Refactoring may involve moving a field from one class to another, or pulling some code out of a method to turn it into its own method, or even pushing some code up or down a hierarchy. While these individual steps may seem elementary, the cumulative effect of such small changes can radically improve the design. Refactoring is a proven way to prevent software decay.

 

In addition to discussing the various techniques of refactoring, the author provides a detailed catalog of more than seventy proven refactorings with helpful pointers that teach you when to apply them; step-by-step instructions for applying each refactoring; and an example illustrating how the refactoring works. The illustrative examples are written in Java, but the ideas are applicable to any object-oriented programming language.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Oct. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Like the GoF book, this book makes new ground by describing each refactoring in baby-step format and *naming* each of the refactorings. It has also led to more refactoring tools (which I hope will become a mandatory IDE requirement). So, instead of having to refactor your code manually, you can simply goto the menu and select "Extract Method", "Replace Temp with Query" etc. I highly recommend people check out the new IntelliJ IDEA (called Pandora). As Kent Beck notes, a refactoring tool completely changes the way you think about coding.
10 thumbs up for this book and the effect it will have on the industry.
Steve
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. A. Woodhouse on 15 Aug. 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm probably not alone in finding that, upon opening up source code (even my own), I have an uncontrollable urge to remove duplication, simplify, reduce and generally "improve" things before I can start to see how changes can be made. Then I read this book and discovered that I was refactoring.
Even better, I started to understand that there were a set of well-designed methods to apply, some of which I'd informally discovered for myself (so I wasn't alone after all) and many more that I hadn't thought of. It doesn't hurt that the book is well, and often entertainingly written.
Although some of the content is explicitly targeted at code built in full-blown object-oriented languages (the language used throughout is Java), it doesn't prove to be a hindrance to VB programmers like myself.
This book may fall slightly behind "Code Complete" in my list. Which would only make it the second best development book I've ever read (but it's the first one I felt like posting a review on).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KH on 8 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Great ideas in software are often met with the "if you've been around as long as me, then you know this stuff already" line. WHO CARES?!! Often in fields involving know-how, the most "obvious" things (techniques, principles) *need* to be revisited, re-stated (out loud, as it were), just to plant our feet back on the ground, to reacquaint us with the foundations. I approached this book with scepticism but after reading a chapter and skimming through the rest, I was already re-enthused on a software project I had become disillusioned with. The results are an order of magnitude better: lean, clear, crisp, efficient. It'll make you proud to show your code to others!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is simply great !! It's definately the most useful book I've read since "Design Patterns".

It has an easily read and also sometimes quite amusing text, UML diagrams when necessary, and of course, VERY GOOD CONTENT !!! In short Refactoring is about turning badly designed and written code into well designed and written code, without breaking the program. If you liked read "Design Patterns" (Gamma et al.) you love this one as well. It's structured in much the same way.

The content covers

* WHY + WHEN to refactor
* HOW + WHAT to refactor
* A very good chapter on unit testing with JUnit (Open Source, by Eric Gamma (Design Patterns) and Kent Beck (Extreme Programming) )
* A thorough catalogue of different refactorings you can do to improve the design and readability of your code.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Chamberlain on 13 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
When I first read this book it described a whole lot of practices that I'd been following for years, I just hadn't call it refactoring. I'd find some piece of code that didn't feel right and then I'd tinker with it to improve it. I'd rename variables and methods and rearrange stuff and so on until I felt it was right. I just didn't have a vocabulary to describe what I was doing.
As with other classics the situations and methods that are described here are now considered obvious and simple by many, but that wasn't always the case. This book defined the terms that are now in common use, the code smells, the refactorings, even the word itself. It has provided modern software development with a knowledge and understanding that code isn't developed perfect the first time around, that it is ok to improve it and that it can be done in a safe and controlled manner.
Every developer should read this book at least once. Personally it is one the books that I always keep with me when working.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By keith@petra.demon.co.uk on 14 Nov. 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this book superb. It reinforces a number of techniques I had been using and introduces a load more. It takes away that 'guilt' feeling you often have when doing a re-design of existing code and gives you the tools to improve the code greatly. It is well written and each method has a small description, a small example and cross references to other methods which makes it perfect as a reference.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A widely regarded classic in the industry, and you can see why.

The first section presents a large refactoring exercise applied to a little movie rental application, which ends up producing a very elegant solution when compared with the original. This is really like the Gang of Four book in that respect, where in the first sections of their book, they present their patterns applied to an example application, to produce a very elegant design. This isn't really surprising, since I'm sure I read Martin saying that he regards GoF as the best technical book of all time.

The first sections of the book are really about advocating a fundamentally different mindset towards refactoring. They are suggesting it's not something you should do just when something is broken or in a mess, but rather on a continuous basis, taking lots of little small steps to make your codebase easier to understand. The book details that this is something you're only really free to do if you have a rigorous test suite to tell you that you haven't broken anything, so there is a section on building a test suite. Interestingly, this book pre-dates Kent Beck's TDD book by a few years, and Beck contributed a lot to the book. There is also a section pointing out 'code smells' that should motivate refactoring; quite nicely, this is summarised in a table at the back of the book, which includes which refactorings you can apply to specific code smells. I actually have to confess that I skipped the section on building the test suite, since I'm a hardcore TDD developer and am already convinced about the merits of that, and didn't feel that it was worth investing my time in.

The next several sections of the book are more reference material.
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