Refactoring is an established technique from the object-oriented (OO) programming community to restructure code: it aims at improving software readability, maintainability, and extensibility. Although refactoring is not tied to the OO-paradigm in particular, its ideas have not been applied to logic programming until now. This paper applies the ideas of refactoring to Prolog programs. A catalogue is presented listing refactorings classified according to scope. Some of the refactorings have been adapted from the OO-paradigm, while others have been specifically designed for Prolog. The discrepancy between intended and operational semantics in Prolog is also addressed by some of the refactorings. In addition, ViPReSS, a semi-automatic refactoring browser, is discussed and the experience with applying ViPReSS to a large Prolog legacy system is reported. The main conclusion is that refactoring is both a viable technique in Prolog and a rather desirable one.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.