4–7 Nov 2019
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Automated refactoring and safety in large repositories

Aish Dahal (Slack)
13:2514:05 Thursday, 7 November 2019
Location: Hall A6

Who is this presentation for?

  • Software engineers




Over time, it’s fairly typical for teams working on high-growth products to accumulate technical debt and code smells in their repositories. A large portion of technical-debt reduction efforts fall into the broad category of refactoring code. Refactoring itself is often a time-consuming process. Refactoring brittle code can especially come with its own share of problems.

Using a case study at Slack, Aish Dahal addresses some of these concerns regarding how refactoring could be automated, enabling a larger number of developers to seamlessly work on a large repository. He explains how Slack’s main repository uses a myriad of automation techniques including an automated code migration toolkit that uses the language’s abstract syntax tree to generate new code, custom chatbots in Slack that help tell humans about any potential code smells in their code, and as custom code linting mechanisms to proactively reduce technical debt. You’ll discover why the automated refactoring of the code base helps developers move faster and spend more time developing new features as opposed to rewriting older ones

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with abstract syntax trees

What you'll learn

  • Understand how compiler tools and bots can be used to enforce code quality and pay off technical debt
Photo of Aish Dahal

Aish Dahal


Aish Dahal is a software engineer at Slack, where he works on scaling Slack for its largest customers. Previously, he’s worked for PagerDuty and Goldman Sachs.

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