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Learning to Love Legacy Code

Legacy code gets a hard rap. No-one wants to work on it. I'll try and convince you to see the good in it.

Jeff Foster

on 21 January 2013

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Transcript of Learning to Love Legacy Code

Learning to Love Legacy Code What is legacy code? Code you don't want to work on?

Legacy platforms? COBOL? FORTRAN?

Software past its sell-by date? Code you are scared to change Legacy Code Isn't... Legacy Code Is... Working in Legacy Code Tackling Legacy Code To enjoy working on legacy code you need to change team perspective

How can you engineer this feature, so the next one is easier? How did it get like that? Truth is more complex! People do the best work they can in any situation

Product direction may have changed

Teams may have moved on Finding the Joy Rich History "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." VCS provides fascinating record of the evolution of the code

Captures domain knowledge

Review architectural decisions on basis of new evidence Learning Opportunities Patterns


Testing The Dangers of Yak Shaving Conclusion Thoughts and comments? Engineering Goals
Establish throughout team

Start small.

Better not best. The Basics Establish Fast Feedback Cycles

Write tests.

Goal is Confidence Previous team? Legacy Skills very valuable

Mining code bases for information

Thrill of progress Measuring Progress Story probing

Open/Closed principle

Qualitative measures
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