Code duplication, cheap but not free

I’m working on a large old codebase at the moment where Repeat Yourself seems to have been standard practice. Here’s a typical example:

    if (exists(Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data()->{ $args{cid} }->{ $graph_id })
        && Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data()->{ $args{cid} }->{ $graph_id }->{ as_of_rev } <= $current_revision) {
        $self->{cid} = Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data()->{ $args{cid} }->{ $graph_id }->{ new_node_id };
    elsif (exists(Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data()->{ $args{cid} }->{''})
        && Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data()->{ $args{cid} }->{''}->{ as_of_rev } <= $current_revision) {
        $self->{cid} = Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data()->{ $args{cid} }->{ '' }->{ new_node_id };

The codebase has many, many, examples of this style written by a variety of developers.

What puzzles me is why this kind of code didn’t raise red flags for the developers at the time. It’s harder to read, harder to maintain, and slower than a simpler approach. Perhaps the elsif part was a copy-n-paste job, but that still doesn’t explain the three instances of Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data()->{ $args{cid} }->{ $graph_id } in the first part. Perhaps even those were copy-n-pasted.

I’d always have an urge to factor out the common expression into a temporary variable for efficiency and clarity. I wonder if my sensitivity to code duplication is partly due to needing to pay close attention to efficiency for most of my career. (I started Perl programming about 15 years ago, when cpu performance was measured in MHz.)

I also wonder how soon tools like Perl::Critic can help detect duplicate code fragments. Common sub-expressions that may be candidates for elimination.

I’m working on optimizing the codebase at the moment. That chunk showed up as a performance issue so I rewrote it as

    my $NodeRemap = Foo::StaticData::NodeRemap->get_data();
    for my $id ( $graph_id, '' ) {
        my $x = $NodeRemap->{ $args{cid} }->{ $id };
        next unless $x and $x->{as_of_rev} > $current_revision;
        $self->{cid} = $x->{new_node_id};

Spot my mistake?

Sidebar: This post is also an experiment in posting code to my blog. I’m trying out MarsEdit. It’s good but I’d like to see a “Paste Preformatted” mechanism that would also html escape the contents of the paste buffer. It’s scriptable so I guess I could implement it myself in my copious spare time…