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Managed Chaos
Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
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Primitive Obsession

When you smell complexity and lack of clarity in the air, look around, you’ll find your code swimming in a (smelly) soup of primitives (low level data-types, functions and language components). Unable to bare the stink, your code is screaming and screeching, asking you to rescue it.

This is my friend, primitive obsession, the stinkiest code smell. You can rescue your code (yes we can) by creating higher level abstractions (functions, data types, objects) and giving some sense to this anarchy.

Primitive Obsession

Primitive Obsession is about lack of abstractions. In the OO world, Methods, Objects, Packages/Namespaces are ways of creating abstraction. Similarly functions, procedures, modules, etc are also valid ways of creating abstractions.

Adding more objects does not always lead to better abstraction. Sometimes removing objects is more useful.

There are many different refactorings that can be used as a remedies:

  • Extract Class
  • Replace Data Value with Object
  • Replace Type Code with Class
  • Introduce Parameter Object
  • Replace Array with Object

One of my favorite example of Primitive Obsession (before and after).

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