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Clean Code Fridays: how to maintain a 18+ year old codebase

KaraFun Group has been on the market for 14+ years, and in terms of tech, it means the first lines of code were written back in 2004, right when the 2 founders were writing the DOS version of KaraFun! Picture it: back then, the technology landscape was completely different, with PHP versions and code standards that were far from today’s modern frameworks.

So one of our tech challenges is to maintain and upgrade our codebase. It’s easier said than done when your product is used by thousands of B2C customers every day, and your reliability directly impacts hundreds of businesses around the world. Nonetheless, it is the key to meeting the challenges ahead when running a global online business.

How are we addressing this? Clean Code Fridays!

At KaraFun Group, we’re now dedicating time to keep things clean. Clean Code Fridays is an idea from our tech team to dedicate quality time to work on the invisible part of the iceberg, ensuring our websites and apps will keep performing as they are today.

After each retrospective, our lead developers select a few topics that they believe are important to the codebase, whether it’s refactoring some methods, changing our routing system, or simply upgrading some of the libraries we use.

With this in mind, each Friday, a lead dev works in pair with someone else in the team to tackle the tasks and get things done. This is a great way to update our codebase, while guiding new developers through the ins and outs of our in-house framework.

On top of that, it’s a great way to share each other’s best practices and make sure our code standards are well understood by every team member.