How to Fix Your Technical Debt Dilemma

When you think about 1,700 developer days (or 4.8 years of time) in the engineering world, how does that make you feel? To me, it feels like infinity. Technical debt can show up like this in an organization. It’s a backlog of issues—migrating software, cleaning up code, and fixing security vulnerabilities—that can paralyze engineering organizations and lead to burnout. And the reality of modern applications is that they naturally accrue tech debt. They are composed of large and diverse codebases and ecosystems—a supply chain of custom, third-party, and open source software. Dependencies are changing frequently and evolve at their own pace. Not updating leads to critical bugs, performance, and security issues. The key to fixing your technical debt dilemma is continuous software modernization. You’ll never get behind when maintenance work that would normally take many months of manual effort can be automated and completed with a PR in minutes. This is how developers stay energized and your business can thrive.

In this talk, I’ll introduce OpenRewrite, an open source, auto-refactoring technology that was born at Netflix in 2016. It uses sophisticated, fast code search capabilities in combination with powerful change recipes that actually fix the code. I’ll share a use case of a common issue remediation—writing the code for a recipe live that fixes the issue and executing it across 300 million lines of open source code. The sample recipe will be made available in open source for you to apply to your own codebase at the end of the session

Key Take-aways:

  • Technical debt can be reframed as continuous software modernization with robust automation that not only finds the issues, but fixes them
  • OpenRewrite uses a similar approach as an IDE to automate refactoring (operating on AST), but takes it out of single person, single repo mode, so it can be delivered in different ways. The refactoring is 100% accurate and style preserving.
  • You can see immediate results using the open source change recipes from OpenRewrite—just try out one recipe and get days of your time back!
  • Moderne has a Saas platform that works with OpenRewrite recipes to help you execute continuous software modernization at scale—across repositories simultaneously


Jonathan Schneider

CEO and Co-founder @Moderne

Jonathan is co-founder and CEO at Miami-based Moderne which automates software maintenance activities at scale. He founded OpenRewrite at Netflix and went on to found the Micrometer project as a member of the Spring Team. Jonathan is the author of “SRE with Java Microservices” (O’Reilly). He is an Army veteran and two time bronze star recipient.

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The leader in continuous software modernization—we fix the code so you don’t have to.


Thursday Dec 1 / 01:40PM PST ( 50 minutes )


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