Temporary Field

Sometimes you see an object in which an instance variable is set only in certain circumstances. Such code is difficult to understand, because you expect an object to need all of its variables. Trying to understand why a variable is there when it doesn't seem to be used can drive you nuts.

Use Extract Class to create a home for the poor orphan variables. Put all the code that concerns the variables into the component. You may also be able to eliminate conditional code by using Introduce Null Object to create an alternative component for when the variables aren't valid.

A common case of temporary field occurs when a complicated algorithm needs several variables. Because the implementer didn't want to pass around a huge parameter list (who does?), he put them in fields. But the fields are valid only during the algorithm; in other contexts they are just plain confusing. In this case you can use Extract Class with these variables and the methods that require them. The new object is a method object.