Refactoring Patterns

Learning Goals

  • Explain how refactoring fits into the RED-GREEN-REFACTOR cycle
  • Identify the difference between refactoring and “changing stuff”
  • Define and apply the Move Method refactoring pattern
  • Define and apply the Extract Class refactoring pattern
  • Define and apply the Hide Delegate refactoring pattern


Available here


  1. Why do we refactor?
  2. What’s the difference between “refactoring” and “changing stuff”?
  3. Does refactoring always make code better?

Key Points

“What if we move it over here… will that fix it?”

Let’s start by discussing Refactoring at a high level:

  • The “Red-Green-Refactor” loop

    1. Red - Create a unit test that fails.
    2. Green - Write code to make the unit test pass.
    3. Refactor - Clean up the messiness.
  • Changing the internals of code without changing the external behavior
  • The concept of technical debt and awkward analogies to personal debt
  • Software patterns are common solutions to common problems
  • Refactoring patterns are common transformations, not improvements .
  • Three common refactoring patterns

    1. Move Method
      • Where should it live?
      • What is the role of the class, does this functionality belong?
      • Which class/object does this method reference?
    2. Extract Class
      • Can you make chunks of methods?
      • Can they be grouped to feel like an object?
      • Would they have attributes?
      • Sandi Metz rules: Class should be less than 100 lines
    3. Hide Delegate
      • What does the interface look like? Can we simplify it?
      • Law of Demeter
      • Protect from change

Live Refactoring

For the next two hours you will apply the three refactoring patterns outlined above to this repository. Spend forty minutes on each.


  • What was challenging about refactoring the above exercises?
  • Which refactoring pattern might you reach for first?
  • Explain each refactoring pattern and the key motivation for using it.


Additional Resources

  • The readings we used today can be found here. Read through the refactoring patterns not covered in this lesson.