Simplifying Conditional Expressions

Conditional logic has a way of getting tricky, so here are a number of refactorings you can use to simplify it. The core refactoring here is Decompose Conditional, which entails breaking a conditional into pieces. It is important because it separates the switching logic from the details of what happens.

The other refactorings in this chapter involve other important cases. Use Consolidate Conditional Expression when you have several tests and all have the same effect. Use Consolidate Duplicate Conditional Fragments to remove any duplication within the conditional code.

If you are working with code developed in a one exit point mentality, you often find control flags that allow the conditions to work with this rule. I don't follow the rule about one exit point from a method. Hence I use Replace Nested Conditional with Guard Clauses to clarify special case conditionals and Remove Control Flag to get rid of the awkward control flags.

Object-oriented programs often have less conditional behavior than procedural programs because much of the conditional behavior is handled by polymorphism. Polymorphism is better because the caller does not need to know about the conditional behavior, and it is thus easier to extend the conditions. As a result, object-oriented programs rarely have switch (case) statements. Any that show up are prime candidates for Replace Conditional with Polymorphism.

One of the most useful, but less obvious, uses of polymorphism is to use Introduce Null Object to remove checks for a null value.