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Refactoring is the process of altering an application’s source code without changing its external behavior. The purpose of code refactoring is to improve some of the nonfunctional properties of the code, such as readability, complexity, maintainability and extensibility.
Refactoring can extend the life of source code, preventing it from becoming legacy code. The refactoring process makes future enhancements to such code a more pleasant experience.
Refactoring is also known as reengineering.
Refactoring can be a tough sell to IT department executives. First, there is the manager consensus concerning existing code modification: if the code is not broken, then a fix is not necessary. Software refactoring slows the source code aging process. Second, managers are hesitant to take on refactoring because of the additional resources that are required. However, because of possible future payback, refactoring can be a very cost-effective approach to the longevity of existing code. In addition, replacing an outdated software application system can be quite expensive. If developers continue to create refactoring tools, this technique is likely to become more popular.