Business, Development, Fundamentals Friday December 4, 2020

Refactoring or Rewriting? which is the better option for Mobile App revamping?

Are you worried that your mobile app is getting old, outdated, slow, and perhaps embarrassing in front of your users? Now the real question is, you should start over and write the entire code again or upgrade it with some minor changes into something more clean, modern, and adaptable?

You must be in a turmoil of a binary decision about the fate of your app. In technical terms, whether to rewrite or refactor the existing software? Don’t worry, after reading this article you will have all the basic information to scrutinize your vague decision again. But before that let’s get started with some basics:

What is refactoring an app?

You will find numerous definitions with varying levels of complexity, that might need technical knowledge and command of skills to understand. But, we will see these terms in the most understanding ways and will not delve into technical details to maintain clarity.

In application programming and designing, refactoring code is the process of restructuring the existing code. This involves only changing the factoring without changing the external behavior of the application. This helps to make future updates easier to change the existing application.

The prime motive of refactoring is to improve the design of the application and implementation of the software at the same time conserving the functionality of the application. The thought of code refactoring might have crossed your mind multiple times.

What is rewriting an app?

Rewriting code involves writing the mobile application again top to bottom, using the latest approaches and technologies in the market. The prime difference in rewriting is that you are entirely free from any limitations in the existing code that exist in the case of refactored applications.

While rewriting the application, you can change everything right from languages to frameworks. You get the golden opportunity to right your wrongs in the older version. Rewriting allows you to rethink the approach of your app with aligned development and testing processes with the latest models.

Why is it important to decide whether refactoring or rewriting your app?

You must have been advised to rewrite or refactor the app numerous times. But does it make any sense to your business? What is exactly the need for your app? You will get the answer to all these questions by deciding: rewriting or refactoring?

As an application owner, you need to search for the most suitable development option to boost your app.

  • To understand your financial standpoint for your application revamping.
  • Your newly requested app features might be incompatible with the existing architecture.
  • The codebase can be non-aligned and now might need rewriting over refactoring where things might keep breaking easily. 
  • New features take too long to create and cost heavily because of the interdependence of the code. 
  • The app can be bulky and unstable, resulting in an unsatisfied user experience
  • A wrong solution to a misunderstood problem can result in low ratings and sulky user retention.

To make a conscious choice, you need to make a conscious decision.

What are the pros and cons of refactoring?

If you are thinking about refactoring your app, you must know the following advantages and disadvantages of refactoring your app.

Advantages of refactoring your App:

  • Refactoring will find the hidden bugs in your code, eliminating the code from vulnerabilities.
  • It will significantly simplify logic with a cleaner codebase and get rid of unnecessarily complex code.
  • It’s possible to deliver updates to the users while still in the process of improving the system codebase.
  • Refactoring will have the business framework refined with actual user-experience feedback, bug fixing, and regressive testing.

Disadvantages of refactoring:

  • In refactoring it is very difficult to change technologies or frameworks.
  • Refactoring can improve a part of code, but it cannot fix the architecture problems with ease.
  • One of the biggest challenges of refactoring an app is that, after changing the code, the system should meet the same business requirements.
  • Refactoring requires a high frequency of testing and debugging, further increasing the overall costs of the project.
  • Refactoring generally doesn’t involve entirely a new stack of technologies. Hence, it might be a poor motivating factor for the developers.

What are the Pros and cons of rewriting?

Rewriting is the most considered option for mobile app owners, you better know the following advantages and disadvantages of rewriting before kick-starting your project.

Advantages of rewriting the app from scratch are:

  • You can ensure the precision of the app with unit tests to make it well-structured and unified.
  • Rewriting the app from scratch gives your experienced developers a chance to avoid mistakes made by the previous developers.
  • Rewrites eliminate the headache of adjusting the old code to meet the demand for new technologies and business requirements without changing the framework.
  • Rewriting gives you the freedom to remove the unmaintainable legacy code that was slowing your app down. 
  • Rewriting the whole app code gives a motivating factor to creative developers influencing the productivity and efficiency of the app.

Disadvantages of rewriting your app:

  • Rewrite may seem like a smooth and easy task, but there’s no guarantee it will go smoothly.
  • You might need to hire new developers to work on the rewrite, but these developers may lack experience, and this might lead to a poor application.
  • Translating functionality between two different systems can be difficult.
  • Rewriting the app code completely may seem like an easy way out, but it is equally risky and more costly.
  • If you go with rewriting without refactoring the existing app, customer retention might be affected significantly as users don’t usually get frequent updates.

Concluding remarks:

You need to select the most appropriate option according to your customized needs of the app. Your decision must enforce the absolute requirement of whether to refactor or rewrite the app. Keep in mind you need to analyze all the parameters appropriately to take this major decision to rewrite the app or refactor it.

You must have a clear, reasonable, valid reason to take on this change to your app. Taking the right step will offer you new market opportunities, such as new users, markets, and technologies. Don’t think of refactoring or rewriting code as a right or wrong choice but the flexible answer.

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