Architectural heritage applications and the path to modernization

There is no doubt that all of us working in the roles of software engineers or architects have worked with legacy applications at some point. In this article, we will aim to learn about the legacy system and ways to refactor it and also explore the different migration paths to the cloud.

We will also examine other aspects of a legacy application that can be modernized, including the software development methodology, and the build and deployment processes.

legacy applications

Many of us enjoy working in brand new greenfield software systems because they include a modern technology stack designed from the ground up. Such systems have little constraints on earlier work and do not need to be integrated with existing systems. However, any new systems we have today will become a legacy tomorrow.

We often find ourselves working on existing software systems and being able to do so is a valuable skill. A legacy application is an existing software system that is still in use but also difficult to maintain. Some challenges arise from using legacy applications.

issues and challenges

Working with legacy applications usually brings with it various problems that need to be fixed. The most important of them are difficult to maintain and extend. This may involve outdated, outdated technologies and moreover often not following development best practices. Also some other concerns like security, inefficiency, incompatibility and compliance/GDPR related things.

A legacy application tends to be out of date, and over time, many modifications are added by the developers. As these modifications are continued to the codebase, the code can become messy and messy, resulting in spaghetti code.

A legacy system will also accumulate some technical debt. Any design decisions that were made for an application included selecting an easier, faster solution that was a cleaner solution, but would have taken longer to implement the technical debt. Improvements in the technical credit system require further rework in the future.

Refactoring Approaches for Legacy Applications

When we deal with legacy applications, we want to refactor it to increase the maintenance factor. This can be an addition of new features, bug fixes, design improvements, quality enhancements or overall optimizations. In order to perform these functions, the legacy application must be in the desired state so that enhancements or changes can be made easily and without any risk.

Also, talking about legacy codebase refactoring requires the right approach. New developers/architects should have respect for the earlier development team because there are reasons why things were done a certain way and newcomers may not always be aware of all those decisions and the logic behind them.

As a software developer/architect, we must modernize and improve the legacy application that you are maintaining. We should avoid making unnecessary modifications, especially if we do not fully understand the impact of the changes. The following tasks are involved during the legacy refactoring phase.

  1. Making legacy code testable
  2. remove unnecessary code
  3. Use tools to refactor code
  4. making small, incremental changes
  5. Converting monoliths to microservices.

make legacy code testable

A lot of older software applications lack automated unit tests and only a few of them have sufficient code coverage. Also, there were some legacy applications that were developed and unit testing was not even considered as a scope then. Because of this it became difficult to add tests later. In addition to a legacy system proper unit testing should be a top priority. This is because unit tests are the pillars that will ensure that new changes do not introduce new defects and that functionality still works.

Routine execution of unit tests after changes as a part of the build pipeline will make debugging easier.

remove unnecessary code

Legacy applications are quite old and there are high chances of having duplicate code segments. This is because it was maintained by different people and for this increased instance of code which is either repetitive or obsolete.

Reducing the total lines of code would certainly reduce complexity and be easier to understand by other fellow engineers.

Some useful tools can identify certain types of code that are unnecessary. restructuring unsurpassed, dead, reflective– out and duplicate code Will Increase maintenance of Management,

Using Tools to Refactor

It is advisable to take advantage of the development tools that come with licensed IDE workspaces. These utilities can detect areas of your codebase that can be refactored.

making small, incremental changes

During refactoring work, some changes can become very large. In this case, sometimes small incremental changes are the right approach to improving a legacy codebase. To avoid negative results, writing and executing unit tests is strongly recommended.

Whenever there are common tasks such as bug fixes, or small enhancements for developers, it is an opportunity to improve the area of ​​the code base that is being changed. Over time, more parts of the codebase will improve.

transition to microservices

Legacy applications have a monolithic architecture where all the modules are packaged together as a single unit.

Converting a monolithic application to a decentralized microservices-based architecture addresses many of the problems present in older monoliths. Microservices are independent, self-contained small services that are deployed individually. This section will be described in more detail later in this document.

Heritage Modernization Strategies

A variety of strategy options can be adopted to modernize heritage.

Encapsulate. Take advantage of application features by encapsulating your data and functions and making them available as services through an API.

Rehost, redeploy application Component To another structure, Bodyvirtual or Cloud) without shift its codefeatures or tasks,

Replatform. settle down to do new Order platform, Construction the minimum Change To codebut no code structurefeatures or tasks,

Refactor. Reorganize and optimize existing code (though not its outlandish behavior) to remove technical debt and improve non-functional features.

architect, Physically change the code to move to a new application architecture and take advantage of new and improved capabilities. reconstruction. Redesign or rewrite the application component from scratch while preserving its scope and specifications.

To change, Considering the new requirements and needs at the same time, completely remove the former application component and replace it.

Convert legacy to cloud-based microservices architecture

Of the above approaches, the best is to use a combination of refactoring and re-architecting which is arguably the most effective technique in the long run. In addition, it brings some uncertainties and skill and expertise. This strategy can be implemented with the help of microservices architecture hosted on the cloud.

Let us look at some technical aspects of microservices migration strategies.

  1. Packaging: Instead of bundling related modules together, split modules into independent packages. This includes minor changes to the code or more stable stuff
  2. Containers: Implement a “container per service” deployment pattern to package into your individual server location or preferably your own container.
  3. DevOps: Once all the components are broken down, you can manage each package through an automated delivery pipeline. The idea is to build, deploy and manage independently.

Strategy 1 Stranger Pattern

Today, the Strangler pattern is a popular design pattern for transforming a monolithic application into a microservice by replacing a particular functionality with a new service. Once the new functionality is created, the old component is “stuck”, that is, removed from the service, and the new service is put into use. Any new development is done as part of the new service and not as part of the monolith.

Strategy 2 Domain-Driven Design

Domain-driven design is an effective pattern for building software that has complex and ever-changing business requirements. Most organizations are in this situation because they have complex business processes that are becoming even more complex.

Domain-Driven Design (DDD) is a software development approach introduced by Eric Evans in 2003. This requires an understanding of the domain for which the application will be written. The domain knowledge required to build applications rests with those who understand it: domain experts.

Normal migration has three phases:

  • Stop adding functionality to monolithic applications
  • split front from backend
  • Dismantle and decompose the monolith into a series of microservices

Leave a Comment