When should you rewrite an application?

According to the book Software Craftsmanship, an application should last longer than ten years...

Joel Spolsky goes even further to say that “the single worst strategic mistake…rewrite the code from scratch.” Developers, on the other hand, are quick to bring up to their management, the need for a rewrite when they feel that the code is a mess. Should you ever throw the old application into the fire and write a new one?

What drives business is revenue and agility. Here are some business reasons to re-write an application:

  1. Rewrite when the code base causes a high turnover in resources. I once worked for a company where the code base was so awful to work with that there was a 70% turnover in the IT Department every year. The turnover significantly impacted the company’s bottom line. I have also seen an entire IT department leave, because no time was being allowed by the business for refactoring. It took the replacement developers twenty times longer to find and change the code. [...]


To read the whole post and interact, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: When should you rewrite an application?