Archive for February, 2013

The gey matter between refactoring and rewrite

RewriteCode is never perfect the first time over, specifications change and there is always pressure when developing a new feature. Thus the programmer has invented the word refactoring. This word implies that when a programmer stumble upon the code the next time or there is time to optimize the programmer will use that occasion to refactor the code into a better state. On small things this might take a minute on bigger things a refactoring can take up to several hours. But there is always that point when a developer thinks about if it is really worth refactoring it or if it deserves a rewrite.

The rewrite is a more radical approach. You take a piece of working software and trow it away to be completely rewritten. Better optimized, better functionality and build from the ground up to be a better performing piece of software than the last iteration. David Heinemeier Hansson once lovingly said about 37signals Basecamp; “Sometimes it is time to take out the old trash and start over”. And that is what 37 signals did. They rewrote Basecamp from the ground up and they got a better product.

So when does the grey need to turn into one or the other?

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