Extract Till You Drop

If I'm not afraid to refactor messy code in front of a live audience, you shouldn't be afraid to do it in the comfort of your office.

By Mathias Verraes
Published on 20 September 2013

“Extract Till You Drop” is a live refactoring that I used to do at conferences and as a webinar.


We’ve all seen them: applications out of control. Under the pressure of deadlines and endless change requests, with the weight of years of legacy, the code has become unmaintainable. Adding features is a slow hit and miss process. You know something needs to be done, but nobody knows how. To change the code safely, you need tests, but to make it testable, you need to change it. Rebuilding the system from scratch is not an option.

With the right tools, techniques, and mindset, any codebase can be brought under test, and be refactored towards a better architecture. All without affecting the behavior of the system, and allowing the business to continue.

This presentation is not for the weak of heart. We’ll skip the theory and dive straight into the spaghetti code. We’ll wrestle in the mud, and we’ll tame the beast, whether it wants to or not. It’s live coding, and it may fail. But it will change how you approach legacy code forever.