About Sandro Mancuso

Software craftsman, founder of the London Software Craftsmanship Community (LSCC) and author of Software Craftsmanship: Professionalism, Pragmatism, Pride.

Extract, Inject, Kill: Breaking hierarchies – Part 1

Years ago, before I caught the TDD bug, I used to love the template method pattern. I really thought that it was a great way to have an algorithm with polymorphic parts. The use of inheritance was something that I had no issues with. But yes, that was many years ago.

Over the years, I’ve been hurt by this ‘design style’. That’s the sort of design created by developers that do not TDD.

The situation

Very recently I was working on one part of our legacy code and found a six level deep hierarchy of classes. There were quite a few template methods defined in more than one of the classes. All classes were abstract with the exception of the bottom classes, that just implemented one or two of the template methods. There were just a single public method in the entire hierarchy, right at the very top.

We had to make a change in one of the classes at the bottom. One of the (protected) template method implementations had to be changed.

The problem

How do you test it? Goes without saying that there were zero tests for the hierarchy.
We know that we should never test private or protected methods. A class should ‘always’ be tested from its public interface. We should always write tests that express and test ‘what’ the method does and not ‘how’. That’s all well and good. However, in this case, the change needs to be done in a protected method (template method implementation) that is part of the implementation of a public method defined in a class six level up in the hierarchy. To test this method, invoking the public method of its grand grand grand grand parent we will need to understand the entire hierarchy, mock all dependencies, create the appropriate data, configure the mocks to have a well defined behaviour so that we can get this piece of code invoked and then tested.

Worse than that, imagine that this class at the bottom has siblings overriding the same template method. When the siblings need to be changed, the effort to write tests for them will be the same as it was for our original class. We will have loads of duplications and will also need to understand all the code inside all the classes in the hierarchy. The ice in the cake: There are hundreds of lines to be understood in all parent classes.

Breaking the rules

Testing via the public method defined at the very top of the hierarchy has proven not to be worth it. The main reason is that, besides painful, we already knew that the whole design was wrong. When we look at the classes in the hierarchy, they didn’t even follow the IS-A rule of inheritance. They inherit from each other so some code could be re-used.

After some time I thought: Screw the rules and this design. I’m gonna just directly test the protected method and then start breaking the hierarchy.

The approach: Extract, Inject, Kill

The overall idea is:
1. Extract all the behaviour from the template method into a class.
2. Inject the new class into the parent class (where the template is defined), replacing the template method invocation with the invocation of the method in the new class.
3. Kill the child class (the one that had the template method implementation).

Repeat these steps until you get rid of the entire hierarchy.

This was done writing the tests first, making the protected template method implementation public.

NOTES 1. This may not be so simple if we have methods calling up the stack in the hierarchy. 2. If the class has siblings, we have to extract all the behaviour from the siblings before we can inject into the parent and kill the siblings.

Here is a more concrete example in how to break deep hierarchies using the Extract, Inject, Kill approach. Imagine the following hierarchy.

 
 
 public abstract class PrincingService {
     
     public double calculatePrice(ShoppingBasket shoppingBasket, User user, String voucher) {
         double discount = calculateDiscount(user);
         double total = 0;
         for (ShoppingBasket.Item item : shoppingBasket.items()) {
             total += calculateProductPrice(item.getProduct(), item.getQuantity());
         }
         total = applyAdditionalDiscounts(total, user, voucher);
         return total * ((100 - discount)  100);
     }
 
     protected abstract double calculateDiscount(User user);
 
     protected abstract double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity);
 
     protected abstract double applyAdditionalDiscounts(double total, User user, String voucher);
 
 }
 
 public abstract class UserDiscountPricingService extends PrincingService {
 
     @Override
     protected double calculateDiscount(User user) {
         int discount = 0;
         if (user.isPrime()) { 
             discount = 10;
         }
         return discount;
     }
 }
 
 public abstract class VoucherPrincingService extends UserDiscountPricingService {
 
     private VoucherService voucherService;
 
     @Override
     protected double applyAdditionalDiscounts(double total, User user, String voucher) {
         double voucherValue = voucherService.getVoucherValue(voucher);
         double totalAfterValue = total - voucherValue;
         return (totalAfterValue > 0) ? totalAfterValue : 0;
     }
 
     public void setVoucherService(VoucherService voucherService) {
         this.voucherService = voucherService;
     }
 }
 
 public class BoxingDayPricingService extends VoucherPrincingService {
     public static final double BOXING_DAY_DISCOUNT = 0.60;
 
     @Override
     protected double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
         return ((product.getPrice() * quantity) * BOXING_DAY_DISCOUNT);
     }
 }
 
 public class StandardPricingService extends VoucherPrincingService {
 
     @Override
     protected double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
         return product.getPrice() * quantity;
     }
 }

Let’s start with the StandardPricingService. First, let’s write some tests:

 public class StandardPricingServiceTest {
 
     private TestableStandardPricingService standardPricingService = new TestableStandardPricingService();
     
     @Test public void
     should_return_product_price_when_quantity_is_one() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = standardPricingService.calculateProductPrice(book, 1);
 
         assertThat(price, is(10D));
     }
     
     @Test public void
     should_return_product_price_multiplied_by_quantity() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = standardPricingService.calculateProductPrice(book, 3);
 
         assertThat(price, is(30D));
     }
 
     @Test public void
     should_return_zero_when_quantity_is_zero() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = standardPricingService.calculateProductPrice(book, 0);
 
         assertThat(price, is(0D));
     }
 
     private class TestableStandardPricingService extends StandardPricingService {
         @Override
         protected double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
             return super.calculateProductPrice(product, quantity);
         }
     }
 }

Note that I used a small trick here, extending the StandardPricingService class inside the test class so I could have access to the protected method. We should not use this trick in normal circumstances. Remember that if you feel the need to test protected or private methods, it is because your design is not quite right, that means, there is a domain concept missing in your design. In other words, there is a class crying to come out from the class you are trying to test.

Now, let’s do the step one in our Extract, Inject, Kill strategy. Extract the content of the calculateProductPrice() method into another class called StandardPriceCalculation. This can be done automatically using IntelliJ or Eclipse. After a few minor adjusts, that’s what we’ve got.

 public class StandardPriceCalculation {
 
     public double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
         return product.getPrice() * quantity;
     }
 }

And the StandardPriceService now looks like this:

 public class StandardPricingService extends VoucherPrincingService {
 
     private final StandardPriceCalculation standardPriceCalculation = new StandardPriceCalculation();
 
     @Override
     protected double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
         return standardPriceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(product, quantity);
     }
 }

All your tests should still pass.

As we create a new class, let’s add some tests to it. They should be the same tests we had for the StandardPricingService.

 public class StandardPriceCalculationTest {
 
     private StandardPriceCalculation priceCalculation = new StandardPriceCalculation();
     
     @Test public void
     should_return_product_price_when_quantity_is_one() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = priceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(book, 1);
 
         assertThat(price, is(10D));
     }
     
     @Test public void
     should_return_product_price_multiplied_by_quantity() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = priceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(book, 3);
 
         assertThat(price, is(30D));
     }
 
     @Test public void
     should_return_zero_when_quantity_is_zero() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = priceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(book, 0);
 
         assertThat(price, is(0D));
     }
 
 }

Great, one sibling done. Now let’s do the same thing for the BoxingDayPricingService.

 public class BoxingDayPricingServiceTest {
     
     private TestableBoxingDayPricingService boxingDayPricingService = new TestableBoxingDayPricingService();
 
     @Test public void
     should_apply_boxing_day_discount_on_product_price() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = boxingDayPricingService.calculateProductPrice(book, 1);
 
         assertThat(price, is(6D));
     }
 
     @Test public void
     should_apply_boxing_day_discount_on_product_price_and_multiply_by_quantity() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = boxingDayPricingService.calculateProductPrice(book, 3);
 
         assertThat(price, is(18D));
     }
 
     private class TestableBoxingDayPricingService extends BoxingDayPricingService {
         
         @Override
         protected double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
             return super.calculateProductPrice(product, quantity);
         }
         
     }
 }

Now let’s extract the behaviour into another class. Let’s call it BoxingDayPricingCalculation.

 public class BoxingDayPriceCalculation {
     public static final double BOXING_DAY_DISCOUNT = 0.60;
 
     public double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
         return ((product.getPrice() * quantity) * BOXING_DAY_DISCOUNT);
     }
 }

The new BoxingDayPriceService is now

 public class BoxingDayPricingService extends VoucherPrincingService {
     private final BoxingDayPriceCalculation boxingDayPriceCalculation = new BoxingDayPriceCalculation();
 
     @Override
     protected double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity) {
         return boxingDayPriceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(product, quantity);
     }
 }

We now need to add the tests for the new class.

 public class BoxingDayPriceCalculationTest {
     
     private BoxingDayPriceCalculation priceCalculation = new BoxingDayPriceCalculation();
 
     @Test public void
     should_apply_boxing_day_discount_on_product_price() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build();
 
         double price = priceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(book, 1);
 
         assertThat(price, is(6D));
     }
 
     @Test public void
     should_apply_boxing_day_discount_on_product_price_and_multiply_by_quantity() {
         Product book = aProduct().costing(10).build(); 
 
         double price = priceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(book, 3);
 
         assertThat(price, is(18D));
     }
 
 }

Now both StandardPricingService and BoxingDayPricingService have no implementation of their own. The only thing they do is to delegate the price calculation to StandardPriceCalculation and BoxingDayPriceCalculation respective. Both price calculation classes have the same public method, so now let’s extract a PriceCalculation interface and make them both implement it.

 public interface PriceCalculation {
     double calculateProductPrice(Product product, int quantity);
 }
 
 public class BoxingDayPriceCalculation implements PriceCalculation 
 
 public class StandardPriceCalculation implements PriceCalculation 

Awesome. We are now ready for the Inject part of Extract, Inject, Kill approach. We just need to inject the desired behaviour into the parent (class that defines the template method). The calculateProductPrice() is defined in the PricingService, the class at the very top at the hierarchy. That’s where we want to inject the PriceCalculation implementation. Here is the new version:

 public abstract class PricingService {
 
     private PriceCalculation priceCalculation;
 
     public double calculatePrice(ShoppingBasket shoppingBasket, User user, String voucher) {
         double discount = calculateDiscount(user);
         double total = 0;
         for (ShoppingBasket.Item item : shoppingBasket.items()) {
             total += priceCalculation.calculateProductPrice(item.getProduct(), item.getQuantity());
         }
         total = applyAdditionalDiscounts(total, user, voucher);
         return total * ((100 - discount)  100);
     }
 
     protected abstract double calculateDiscount(User user);
 
     protected abstract double applyAdditionalDiscounts(double total, User user, String voucher);
 
     public void setPriceCalculation(PriceCalculation priceCalculation) {
         this.priceCalculation = priceCalculation;
     }
 
 }

Note that the template method calculateProductPrice() was removed from the PricingService, since its behaviour is now being injected instead of implemented by sub-classes.

As we are here, let’s write some tests for this last change, checking if the PricingService is invoking the PriceCalculation correctly.

Great. Now we are ready for the last bit of the Extract, Inject, Kill refactoring. Let’s kill both StandardPricingService and BoxingDayPricingService child classes.

The VoucherPricingService, now the deepest class in the hierarchy, can be promoted to concrete class. Let’s have another look at the hierarchy:

And that’s it. Now it is just to repeat the same steps for VoucherPricingService and UserDiscountPricingService. Extract the implementation of their template methods into classes, inject them into PricingService, and kill the classes.

In doing so, every time you extract a class, try to give them proper names instead of calling them Service. Suggestions could be VoucherDiscountCalculation and PrimeUserDiscountCalculation.

There were a few un-safe steps in the re-factoring described above and I also struggled a little bit to describe exactly how I did it since I was playing quite a lot with the code. Suggestions and ideas are very welcome.

For the final solution, please check the secondt part of this blog post.

NOTE
If you are not used to use builders in your tests and is asking yourself where the hell aProduct() and aShoppingBasket() come from, check the code in here:

ProductBuilder.java
ShoppingBasketBuilder.java

In part 2 I finish the exercise, breaking the entire hierarchy. Please have a look at it for the final solution.

Reference: Extract, Inject, Kill: Breaking hierarchies (part 1), Extract, Inject, Kill: Breaking hierarchies (part 2) from our JCG partner Sandro Mancuso at the Crafted Software blog.

Do you want to know how to develop your skillset to become a Java Rockstar?

Subscribe to our newsletter to start Rocking right now!

To get you started we give you two of our best selling eBooks for FREE!

JPA Mini Book

Learn how to leverage the power of JPA in order to create robust and flexible Java applications. With this Mini Book, you will get introduced to JPA and smoothly transition to more advanced concepts.

JVM Troubleshooting Guide

The Java virtual machine is really the foundation of any Java EE platform. Learn how to master it with this advanced guide!

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.

Leave a Reply


five × 2 =



Java Code Geeks and all content copyright © 2010-2014, Exelixis Media Ltd | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact
All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on Java Code Geeks are the property of their respective owners.
Java is a trademark or registered trademark of Oracle Corporation in the United States and other countries.
Java Code Geeks is not connected to Oracle Corporation and is not sponsored by Oracle Corporation.
Do you want to know how to develop your skillset and become a ...
Java Rockstar?

Subscribe to our newsletter to start Rocking right now!

To get you started we give you two of our best selling eBooks for FREE!

Get ready to Rock!
You can download the complementary eBooks using the links below:
Close