Baseline Testing: The Key to Reducing Technical Debt in Legacy Code Bases

The key to reducing technical debt is to refactor components (the process of restructuring application components without changing its external behavior/API) over time, but developers are often hesitant to do so for fear of breaking existing functionality. One of the biggest impediments to refactoring is the lack of tests that formalize existing behavior, or an easy to run testing environment that demonstrates the correct behavior of the component. Without refactoring, an application’s code becomes overly complicated and difficult to maintain. As new features and bug fixes are bolted onto existing functionality, the original design often loses its simplicity.

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