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Adam Culp: Clean Development Series: Part 4, Rewrite dilemma

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 13 November 2012.
PHPDeveloper

Adam Culp has published the fourth part of his "Clean Code" series to his site today (see more about parts 1-3 here) with a look at the "Rewrite Dilema" - whether it's more productive to just rewrite or to try to refactor.

Unfortunately the first reaction to a poorly written application is usually a resounding "rewrite". Developers feel like a weight is lifted from their shoulders, as the manager hears a distant "cha-ching" sounds of money slipping away. [...] In the managers mind a rewrite means it must all be duplicated, and that's not far from the truth when we consider the salaries of an entire development team for the time it will take to rewrite the entire application.

Adam talks about some of his experience in the past with challenging applications and a typical scenario where one group in the company splits off and creates the new version while another maintains the old. He suggests, however, that refactoring may be a more viable option. While it might not seem easier to handle overall, the end results could lead to a more stable system and could take less time than starting from scratch.