Feature Envy

The whole point of objects is that they are a technique to package data with the processes used on that data.

A classic smell is a method that seems more interested in a class other than the one it actually is in. The most common focus of the envy is the data. We've lost count of the times we've seen a method that invokes half-a-dozen getting methods on another object to calculate some value. Fortunately the cure is obvious, the method clearly wants to be elsewhere, so you use Move Method to get it there. Sometimes only part of the method suffers from envy; in that case use Extract Method on the jealous bit and Move Method to give it a dream home.

Of course not all cases are cut-and-dried. Often a method uses features of several classes, so which one should it live with? The heuristic we use is to determine which class has most of the data and put the method with that data. This step is often made easier if Extract Method is used to break the method into pieces that go into different places.

Of course there are several sophisticated patterns that break this rule. From the Gang of Four Strategy and Visitor immediately leap to mind. Kent Beck's Self Delegation is another. You use these to combat the divergent change smell. The fundamental rule of thumb is to put things together that change together. Data and the behavior that references that data usually change together, but there are exceptions. When the exceptions occur, we move the behavior to keep changes in one place. Strategy and Visitor allow you to change behavior easily, because they isolate the small amount of behavior that needs to be overridden, at the cost of further indirection.