Refactoring Book Summary - Refactoring Book explained in key points

Refactoring summary

Martin Fowler

Brief summary

Refactoring by Martin Fowler is a practical guide for improving the design of existing code. It offers valuable techniques and strategies for restructuring code to make it more maintainable, readable, and efficient.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Summary of key ideas

    Understanding the Essence of Refactoring

    In Refactoring by Martin Fowler, we delve into the art of improving the design of existing code without changing its external behavior. The book begins by explaining the essence of refactoring, emphasizing that it is a disciplined technique for restructuring an existing body of code, altering its internal structure without changing its external behavior.

    Fowler then introduces the concept of code smells, which are certain structures in the code that suggest (sometimes strongly) that something is wrong. He explains that these smells are not bugs, but they are indicators of where bugs might be found. The author also discusses the importance of having a solid suite of automated tests before refactoring, as these tests provide a safety net that allows us to make changes with confidence.

    The Refactoring Process and Techniques

    Next, Refactoring delves into the refactoring process, which involves a series of small, reversible changes to the code. The book outlines a systematic approach to refactoring, starting with identifying the code to refactor, followed by applying a series of small, behavior-preserving transformations, and finally running the tests to ensure that the behavior remains unchanged.

    Fowler then introduces a catalog of refactoring techniques, which are organized into four categories: Composing Methods, Moving Features Between Objects, Organizing Data, and Simplifying Conditional Expressions. Each technique is explained in detail, with examples and code snippets to illustrate how they can be applied.

    Applying Refactoring to Real-World Scenarios

    As we progress through Refactoring, we learn how to apply these techniques to real-world scenarios. The book provides a case study of a simple video rental system, demonstrating how refactoring can be used to improve the design of the system. This case study helps us understand how to identify code smells, select appropriate refactoring techniques, and apply them to improve the code.

    Fowler also discusses the challenges and trade-offs involved in refactoring, emphasizing that while refactoring can improve the design of the code, it also carries risks. He provides guidance on how to manage these risks and make informed decisions when refactoring.

    Embracing Refactoring as a Continuous Process

    In the final sections of Refactoring, the author emphasizes that refactoring is not a one-time activity, but rather a continuous process. He encourages us to refactor early and often, integrating it into our daily development process. By doing so, we can maintain a clean, maintainable codebase that is easier to understand and modify.

    In conclusion, Refactoring by Martin Fowler provides a comprehensive guide to the art of improving the design of existing code. It equips us with a systematic approach, a catalog of techniques, and practical insights to help us refactor our code effectively. By embracing refactoring as a continuous process, we can keep our codebase healthy and our development process efficient.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Refactoring about?

    Refactoring by Martin Fowler is a classic book that introduces the concept of refactoring and provides practical techniques for improving the design and maintainability of code. It offers valuable insights and real-world examples to help developers understand when and how to refactor their code effectively.

    Refactoring Review

    Refactoring (1999) is a comprehensive guide on improving code quality through small, focused changes. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its practical techniques and real-world examples, it empowers programmers to enhance the design and maintainability of their code.
    • The book demonstrates the benefits of refactoring through clear explanations and before-and-after code samples, making it a valuable resource for developers.
    • By emphasizing the importance of iterative improvement and providing a structured approach, it helps readers develop a mindset geared toward continuous learning and improvement.

    Who should read Refactoring?

    • Software developers and programmers looking to improve their coding skills
    • Technical team leads and managers responsible for maintaining code quality and efficiency
    • Students and educators in computer science or software engineering

    About the Author

    Martin Fowler is a renowned software developer and author. With a career spanning over three decades, he has made significant contributions to the field of software engineering. Fowler is known for his expertise in refactoring, agile methodologies, and design patterns. He has authored several influential books, including "Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code" and "Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture." Through his writing and consulting work, Fowler has had a profound impact on the way software is developed and maintained.

    Categories with Refactoring

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    30 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Refactoring FAQs 

    What is the main message of Refactoring?

    The main message of Refactoring is that continuously improving code through small, incremental changes leads to better software design and maintainability.

    How long does it take to read Refactoring?

    The reading time for Refactoring varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Refactoring a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Refactoring is a must-read for software developers and engineers. It provides practical techniques and insights that can greatly improve code quality and productivity.

    Who is the author of Refactoring?

    The author of Refactoring is Martin Fowler.

    What to read after Refactoring?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Refactoring, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier
    • The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
    • Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku
    • On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee
    • Brave New War by John Robb
    • The Net Delusion by Evgeny Morozov
    • Abundance# by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
    • The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
    • You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
    • The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku