When I say "Legacy Code" I mean valuable code you're afraid to change.
We all have to deal with Legacy Code. But it's damn hard to!
Here you'll find answers to your questions. I'm sharing useful tips and concrete advice that will help you tame the legacy codebase you've inherited. 😉
💡 Latest articles
- Find how to (re)organize code with git
Does your codebase feel like a tote bag of "shared" and "utils" folder? Git may help you find a better structure.
- Delete unused code (and how to retrieve it)
Dead code adds noise to the codebase and should be deleted. Yet, deleted code feels harder to retrieve. Here's how to find such code easily with git!
- Can AI help me refactor legacy code?
Can assistants like ChatGPT refactor existing code without introducing bugs? Let's figure it out with an actual codebase.
- Can AI help me write tests on legacy code?
People are using tools like ChatGPT to write tests on existing code… But how reliable is this? Let's find out!
- Fake it until you automate it
A pragmatic way for you to start automating deployments of a Legacy system.
- If you want more, check all my published articles
🥋 Specific techniques
- Approval Testing
A technique to quickly put tests on Legacy Code, so you can refactor safely.
- Behavioral Analysis
A technique to get insights from large codebases, using VCS information.
- Draw Dependency Graphs
A technique to understand the structure of a codebase.
📚 Useful books on Legacy Code
- The key points of The Programmer's Brain
This book analyses how your brain works and gives concrete advice to help you work with Legacy Code. Here's my summary of its salient points.
- The key points of Re-Engineering Legacy Software
Here's an interesting book on approaching Legacy Software. Here's my summary of its salient points.
- The key points of Beyond Legacy Code
This book is filled with practical strategies to apply on Legacy systems. Here's my summary of its salient points.
- The key points of The Legacy Code Programmer's Toolbox
This book is full of tips to get into an unfamiliar codebase. Here's my summary of its salient points.
- The key points of Software Design X-Rays
This book is a gold mine. Yet, it's not a famous one. Here's my summary of its salient points that can help you deal with large codebases.
- The key points of Working Effectively with Legacy Code
This book is a reference. Here's my summary of its salient points so you understand why it's so recommended.
📖 Helpful Guides
- Getting into a large codebase
Diving into a large, undocumented codebase is overwhelming. Let's see some techniques to approach it.
- Best practice or a code smell?
Not sure if a pattern will make the code more maintainable? Here are a few resources that will help.
- Changing untested code without breaking it
Without tests, every code change is risky. But how to put tests on a code that wasn't design for it?
- Code feels impossible to maintain
Sometimes, you seem to hit a point of no return and that the best strategy would be to burn it all and start over. Are there alternatives?
- Making others care about it
What you can do when it seems that no-one cares about the technical debt that's piling up.
🎧 If you prefer podcasts
- Tips for Working with Legacy Code
I talk with Jason Swett about working with legacy code, adding tests to legacy code, how to safely make changes to legacy applications, and more.
- Changing Messy Software Without Breaking It
I talk with Robby Russell about practices like feature toggling or sustainability weeks to work on improving things. I also give advice for listeners who struggle to get stakeholder buy-in on dealing with technical debt challenges.
🎤 If you prefer talks
- 7 techniques to tame a Legacy Codebase
You spend most of our time changing existing code that is not documented, nor tested! It's painful because you're always in a hurry to ship new features and bug fixes… What if you had a secret weapon to make things better as you go? Here are 7 concrete techniques that will help you regain control of your Legacy.
- 3 must-watch talks on Legacy Code
I have hosted more than 37 speakers to talk about Legacy Code tips and tricks. Here is my top 3 of the talks you should probably watch!
- Testability, Empathy, and Safe Refactorings
4 great talks on Legacy Code that I had the pleasure to host. This edition particularly focuses on testing and refactoring.
- DevOps, Living Documentation, and Hexagonal Architecture
5 great talks on Legacy Code that I had the pleasure to host. This edition raises new topic such as documentation and legacy pipelines.
- Design Patterns, Empathy, and Reading Complex Code
4 great talks on Legacy Code that I had the pleasure to host. A focus on empathy and getting into complex codebases.
- Technical Debt, Rewrites, and Refactoring
5 great talks on Legacy Code that I had the pleasure to host. Learn how to prioritize Tech Debt and rewrite systems incrementally.
- Refactoring, Unit Tests, and Symmathesy
5 great talks on Legacy Code that I had the pleasure to host. Learn how to progressively migrate existing codebase towards a better state.
- Approval Tests, TCR, and Menders
5 great talks on Legacy Code that I had the pleasure to host. Learn how to test existing code and approach unfamiliar codebases.
- 5 talks on Legacy Code: The Legacy of SoCraTes, 1st edition
Tips and advice on dealing with Legacy Code from 5 great speakers at this remote conference I organized for the community.
Written by Nicolas Carlo who lives and works in Montreal, Canada 🍁
He founded the Software Crafters Montreal community which cares about building maintainable softwares.