Technical debt is supposed to be a term that helps in conceptualizing the tradeoff between the actual long-term worth of developing a specific software system which is quite easy to modify, evolve, repair, and sustain and the short-term benefits associated with rapid delivery. Just in the same manner as financial debt, we know that technical debt could prove to be an investment or a burden. Technical debt is regarded as a burden on all those occasions it is taken inadvertently with no solid strategy or plans to effectively manage it. However, the technical debt could even be an investment when it becomes an integral part of a strategy or plan for paying back your interest before it goes beyond the principal.
In this context, you need to know that it is imperative to get rid of technical debt at the earliest possible because if left unattended to, it would hamper your firm’s efficiency, productivity, and even effectiveness over time as per https://www.forbes.com. Moreover, experts confirm that technical debt would be impeding streamlined growth and progress on the road to success and this could culminate in the failure of startups that are compelled to come to a complete stop simply because they cannot actually afford to stay stagnated at one point. So it is important to recognize and manage technical debt, instead of neglecting or ignoring it. But if you are having some issues with managing your financial debt, you could consider contacting https://nationaldebtrelief.com for perfect debt management solutions.
Tools for Effectively Paying Back Technical Debt
They are classified into different types of tools for assisting you in identifying design smells, as well as, quantifying their significance, candidates for refactoring; visualizing the total accumulated technical debt, and performing refactoring for repaying the debt. Let us learn about the different types of tools. They are:
- Refactoring Tools
- Comprehension Tools
- Technical Debt Quantification & Visualization Tools
- Critique Tools, Metric Tools, & Code Clone Detectors
A vital precondition for proposing and doing the necessary changes in the real-world software system’s code base is to know and understand the code’s internal structure. We know that it is very tough to comprehend large software systems because of both their complexity and size. You may choose relevant comprehension tools for a thorough understanding of the code’s internal structure. The comprehension tools facilitate easy comprehension of the code’s internal structure via effective visual aids like data flow analysis, control structure visualization, inheritance graph, and call-sequence analysis.
Critique Tools, Metric Tools, and Clone Detectors
Critique tools are of great use as they are best for analyzing the software and reporting issues in case there is any violation of the existing rules. Depending on the smells’ granularity reported by the tools, they could be categorized as:
- Design critique tools meant for reporting design smells.
- Architectural critique tools used for reporting architectural violations.
- Code analysis tools which are used for identifying potential bugs (alias “bug patterns”) right at the source code level.
The code clone detectors are used for analyzing source code, as well as, identifying code clones. The occurrence of code clones implies that smells like Unfactored Hierarchy and Duplicate Abstraction may be possible. It becomes really critical to successfully detect code clones for addressing them competently. Code clone detectors then serve the purpose pretty efficiently.
Metric tools are used for analyzing the design or code and reporting the results as numeric values. Thereafter, these results require analysis for gathering important insights into the quality of design.
Technical Debt Quantification & Visualization Tools
If you understand the real significance of technical debt, you would know the importance of being able to accurately measure it. A precondition for measuring anything is actually to be capable of quantifying it. In this context, you must understand that technical debt is really pretty challenging and immensely tough to quantify accurately. We know that there are a couple of important reasons for this. First of all, there exists no clear consensus or agreement on the precise factors contributing to technical debt. Secondly, there exists no standard technique of measuring these factors. In this context, it is crucial to understand and keep in your mind that there have been some attempts in the recent past for quantifying technical debt but those approaches only took into consideration just a few factors that are known to restrict the utility of these approaches.
Broadly speaking, you could classify the refactoring tools into two major categories:
- Tools which are used for detecting refactoring candidates. These tools are used for analyzing the source code. However, these tools are also, effective in identifying the entities, the specific need for refactoring and also, the possible refactoring steps which could be applied. It is important to understand clearly that all these tools are very much in their budding stage.
- Tools which are known for performing a refactoring. These effective tools could be used for performing the necessary refactoring precisely in the source-code when all the refactoring candidates have actually been recognized. There are a host of popular Integrated Development Environments or IDEs which would be providing effective automated support specifically for refactoring. But you must understand clearly that their support would be restricted to executing some simple refactoring steps.
Conclusion: Application of the Technical Tools in Practice
It is critical to keep in mind certain practical perspectives while employing these tools in your real-world projects. Suggestions or violations created by both the refactoring identification and critique tools must be regarded as indications. These should be analyzed manually with a lot of care simply by seeing the context for eliminating false positives. Moreover, you must know that all the refactoring tools seem to be maturing even now. For example, there are several IDEs which are known to support performing refactoring tasks like extract class refactoring. However, they are not able to execute the task seamlessly or flawlessly. You must be very attentive and careful while selecting tools as per the precise project requirements and organizational context. Therefore, it is of great importance to accurately assess and evaluate a technical debt tool before buying it.