The code integral to the original website or web application becomes obsolete or difficult to maintain. Any such code inherited from the original developers that become irrelevant is called a Legacy Code.
Legacy code may not respond to automated testing or may resist modification. Tampering with the code could cause the application to malfunction. We are discussing the major issues with the way we handle legacy codes.
It’s sobering to think that the coding we write today and which performs beautifully will become legacy code when new systems, applications, and technology take over. Here we explain what is the legacy system and how we can distinguish three types of legacy code.
- The rare kind of legacy code is sturdily written, well tested, and easily maintainable, and such code weathers change better.
- The second kind of legacy code has dead segments that are less readable and may be difficult to test or modify without compromising the efficiency of the application. This kind of legacy code may be challenging but is worth taking forward.
- The third kind of legacy code is obsolete and can’t keep up with changed versions. New features and functionalities are difficult to add to obsolete legacy code.
Our focus will be on the second type of legacy code and the issues we face in maintaining the code.
The Most Common Issues Facing Redeemable Legacy Code
Companies with legacy technology issues face the dilemma of maintaining or upgrading systems. The solution depends on the kind of issues compromising operations efficiency.
- The code is unreadable precisely because the application has grown more sophisticated.
- Many dead segments or codes can be executed but won’t guarantee tangible results.
- There are duplicated codes that repeatedly figure in the program and slow down the system by wasting computing power.
- There are few comments or explanatory notes in the original coding. It’s challenging to work on legacy codes when we are unsure about the purpose of each line of coding.
- The original coding does not clearly define the type or class of a variable. Instead, you find abbreviations, the meaning of which was known only to the original developers.
- Massive classes or thousands of code lines happen when inexperienced developers handle source code or when we face unsophisticated technology. Such a monolith class becomes challenging to read, understand, and modify.
- The program’s coding is exceedingly complex, too cumbersome to handle, or too intricate to be mastered quickly.
The Reasons Why Technical Debt And Legacy Code Maintenance Issues Are Interconnected
A company saddled with legacy code and facing the issues discussed is said to be carrying a substantial technical debt or burden.
Technical debt is the sum of all future development costs you will incur to keep the legacy code in maintainable condition. Technical debt applies not just to the developers you engage in tinkering with the code but to all the changes that you make to operating systems, the website or applications, and the IT architecture.
When you handle legacy code, your financial debt piles up over time. If the software is treated as an asset, the technical debt becomes the liability.
The Problems Companies Face When Legacy Code Becomes Too Big To Handle
High Risk of Cybercrime
Legacy code may leave systems unprotected and susceptible to cyberattack. Equifax, the credit rating agency, was hacked, and the personal data of millions of people got stolen in 2017. The hackers exploited a legacy code vulnerability dating back to the 1970s. The clean-up cost more than $1 billion, and consumer faith evaporated.
Read This: Best Cyber Security Software in 2022: an Overview
Mounting Technical Debt
Refactoring the legacy code refers to debugging, bringing clarity, and cleaning up the code. If you employ committed in-house IT staff or outsourced professionals, this creates a higher financial burden.
Companies grappling with significant legacy code issues are spending more than 50 percent of their time trying to understand the code and how it works. The challenge lies in cleaning legacy code without altering the behavior of the overlapping application or website.
Regardless of the nature of the issues revolving around legacy code or the size of technical debt, you have options that will work for you. Test-Driven Development (TDD) helps add new useful features that enhance efficiency without compromising the application’s stability. Refactoring done with professional assistance makes code readable and dramatically improves IT architecture and performance.