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Refactoring 012 – Reify Associative Arrays

Changing your anemic dictionaries is simple

TL;DR: Convert your key/worth into full behavioral objects

You may have anemic associative arrays that maintain unstructured knowledge and also you need to have richer objects with stricter controls (presumably together with sort checking in static typed languages)

  1. Discover the references to the item or associative array

  2. Reify it

  3. Substitute generic calls with setters and getters for each key (You additionally will have the ability to debug them higher)

  4. Add parameter and return sort hinting to interfaces (in case your language helps it)

  5. Add stronger assertions on the setters between totally different keys.

(if you’re utilizing TCR, you are able to do child refactoring steps)

Earlier than


class AuthenticationHelper extends Singleton {

  personal $knowledge = [];

  perform setParameter(string $key, ?$worth) {
    // no sort checking
    // worth because the title is simply too generic
    // Since SOME parameters is likely to be null
    // You can not verify a single parameter for not null

    $this->knowledge[$key] = worth;

  perform getParameter(string $key) {
    // no return sort hinting
    return $this->knowledge[$key] ?? null;


// Usages

AuthenticationHelper::getInstance->setParameter('oauth2_token', []);
// sort error not caught

AuthenticationHelper::getInstance->setParameter('scopes', null);
// We have to implement this to not be NULL

AuthenticationHelper::getInstance->setParameter('consumer', 'Elon');
// This could not mutate
// No validation with enterprise guidelines

$credential = AuthenticationHelper::getInstance->getParameter('oauth2token');
// Typo not detected

// You cannot simply discover references to strategies setting the oauth2_token
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class AuthenticationCredentials {

  personal $consumer;
  personal $oauth2_token;

  perform __construct(Consumer $consumer) {
    // Particular validation guidelines

    $this->consumer = $consumer;
    // Can't mutate 

  perform oauth2_token(string $token): void {
    // You may add particular validations
    $this->oauth2_token = $token;

  perform oauth2_token(): string {    
    // Return sort hinting
    return $this->oauth2_token;


// Usages

$credentials = new AuthenticationCredentials(new Consumer('Elon'));
// Legitimate since creation

// sort errors are caught

// can't be null. Fail quick

// Typo detected
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Now, you’ve an anemic knowledge class or DTO. It’s time to give it conduct and (presumably) take away some getters and setters.

[X] Semi-Automated

You may carry out this refactor with assistance from an IDE.

This isn’t an computerized refactoring however small steps are protected when you’ve got good protection.

Your new object fails quick and is extra declarative.

You may debug it simply and discover the referencing strategies.

In dynamically typed languages you can’t implement sort or area restrictions for the values

Picture from MustangJoe en Pixabay

This text is a part of the Refactoring Collection.

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