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Linux Journal: Programming Tools: Refactoring

Feb 11, 2005, 13:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by ReG. Charney)

"Refactoring is the process of modifying code without affecting either its input or output; that is, the code's interface remains the same. How do we know that refactoring works? The only objective way to find the answer is by testing the code before and after refactoring occurs. The results should match exactly. This makes testing an integral part of any refactoring effort--you cannot successfully separate the two.

"Some confusion exists between what it means to refactor code as opposed to reworking it. Refactoring is a subset of reworking. If you are making no changes to the interface of a program, you are refactoring. If you add or change the interface, you are rewriting the code. Strictly speaking, when you do both together, you are rewriting. However, for political reasons, you still might want to call it refactoring..."

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