The Importance Of Code Reusability In Software Development
By Sakshi Pandey, Community Contributor - October 3, 2022
Code reusability is the capacity to repurpose pre-existing code when developing new software applications. Ideally, code reuse should be easy to implement, and any stable, functional code could freely be reused when building a new software application. Unfortunately, this is not the case; It’s very important to ensure that the code being reused is appropriate and a good fit for the software application.
Pre-existing code can be recycled to perform the same function or repurposed to perform a similar but slightly different function. Code reusability increases productivity reduces costs, and improves overall quality. Reusability in software development is a highly popular and productive practice.
Features that Code with a Potential for Reuse should have:
- Versatility which allows for the code to be easily adapted for another application.
- Compatibility with different hardware.
- It should be free of any bugs or defects that may affect the security or dependability of the other application.
Types of Code Reuse
Code Reuse can be planned. Development teams can write software components with the vision to reuse them in the future, or, on some occasions, developers may realize that they have code from previous projects that can be reused by sheer coincidence.
There are two major types of code reuse:
- Internal reuse – This is when code written internally by a developer team or business is reused for other projects.
- External reuse – This is when some third-party tool or code is licensed and employed in a project. This can be tricky since costs will be involved, and time will be required to learn and implement the tool. Additionally, it creates a dependency upon an external tool which may lead to issues further down the line.
Advantages of Code Reuse
- Saves Time: Code Reuse improves productivity and eliminates the need for rewriting pieces of code that are already perfectly functional and available to use. This also helps developers to focus their attention on writing original code to create new features which add value and improve the caliber of the software product. Businesses are often on a tight schedule that requires them to churn out applications at a fast pace in order to get an edge on their competitors; code for similar features can often be used across several projects to expedite their delivery.
- Lower Cost: Saving on time also allows the business to save on costs. Additionally, by utilizing pre-existing code, organizations can reduce expenses associated with app development, avoiding the need to hire more people and obtain additional resources.
- Reduced Development Risks: Often, the code being reused is tried and tested. Since it’s already been to battle and survived, it’s safe to say that the code will be highly reliable and free from defects. This guarantees a good user experience since the code is likely to run smoothly and be perfectly functional.
- Prevents Code Bloat: Bloated code is considered to be needlessly long, slow, and resource-intensive. To prevent the formation of undesired functionality or code bloat, it is crucial to reuse efficient and simple code, if it is available, across applications.
Also Read: How to Accelerate Product Release Velocity
Challenges with Code-Reusability
- Communication: As the scale of the project increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to communicate effectively with all the developers involved and implement code reuse. Properly communicating the specifics and conditions for code reuse becomes confusing, and it becomes harder to brainstorm with the entire team to find areas of the project where code can be reused.
- Office Politics: Conflict is inevitable amongst teams, and with larger organizations, this can be a hindrance to the organization as a whole. Certain teams may be dissatisfied with having parts of their code reused by other teams that they are in conflict or competition with.
- 3. Administration: Maintaining and using libraries of reusable code takes a lot of time and effort, it can truly be a challenge. Especially with large businesses which have a surfeit of projects, it can become very demanding to efficiently maintain a library of potentially reusable code, identify areas of a project where code can be reused, and carry out code reuse.
Code Reuse in Microservices Architecture
Microservice architecture is used by several organizations today and serves as a good practical example of how code reuse can be implemented in real software development projects.
Small independent services or components, created by various small autonomous teams, make up a microservices architecture. Each service is independent of the other, and to operate as software, these services communicate via a simple, lightweight API.
This type of design enables companies to produce software more quickly. The autonomous teams are given more latitude in how they update and release code or respond to an application requirement. Additionally, teams can be more creative since they need to focus on only one independent service, and their communication requirements are minimized.
This disconnect between the teams may also be harmful. The developers can write code once and utilize it multiple times at different locations in the application, thanks to the code reuse in a microservices architecture. Due to the large range of functionalities a piece of code can assist with, it is possible to reuse it several times within a microservice. However, code reuse between distinct microservices presents greater difficulties.
The purpose of a microservice architecture is to reduce any potential dependencies; by reusing code between autonomous teams, there is a high probability that dependencies will arise.
The best method to implement code reuse in a microservice architecture is to create a microservice for the code that teams want to reuse. This microservice can be used to work with other separate microservices by the autonomous teams through APIs. This method ensures that the microservice architecture is uncompromised and there aren’t any dependencies between services.
Checklist to Ensure the Quality of Reusable Code
Before reusing any code it is vital to ensure that the quality of the code is up to par. There are four major items that need to be evaluated to determine whether the code quality is sufficient for code reuse.
- Security: It’s important to ensure no internal vulnerabilities exist in the code prior to reuse. It’s generally safer to reuse internal code in comparison to code from third-party sources.
- Reliability: Code must be trustworthy in order to be reused. By ensuring availability, fault tolerance, and recoverability, you can guarantee trustworthy and reliable code.
- Performance Efficiency: Code reusability is only useful if the code being implemented is efficient.
- Maintainability: It’s important to ensure that the code being reused is fault-tolerant and easily maintainable.
Code reuse can greatly optimize the development process of applications and increase productivity in software development teams. It can help save on costs, and time, reduce development risks, and prevent code bloat.
Several challenges, such as communication or administrative issues, as well as office politics, can also hinder the potential of code reuse. However, under the right circumstances, code reuse is well worth implementing.
It is always important to test code prior to reuse in order to ensure that the feature set works as planned. BrowserStack allows you to test your web and mobile applications on 3000+ combinations of devices, operating systems, and browsers. With Browserstack, users can perform manual or automated tests seamlessly using different frameworks such as Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer, Appium, Espresso, and XCUITest.