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Behavioral Design Patterns

This article is part of the series Design Patterns for Humans

In plain words

Behavioral design patterns are mainly concerned with assignment of responsibilities between the objects. What makes them different from structural patterns is they don’t just specify the structure but also outline the patterns for message passing/communication between them. Or in other words, they assist in answering “How to run a behavior in software component?”

Wikipedia says

In software engineering, behavioral design patterns are design patterns that identify common communication patterns between objects and realize these patterns. By doing so, these patterns increase flexibility in carrying out this communication.

🔗 Chain of Responsibility

Real world example

For example, you have three payment methods (A, B and C) setup in your account; each having a different amount in it. A has 100 USD, B has 300 USD and C having 1000 USD and the preference for payments is chosen as A then B then C. You try to purchase something that is worth 210 USD. Using Chain of Responsibility, first of all account A will be checked if it can make the purchase, if yes purchase will be made and the chain will be broken. If not, request will move forward to account B checking for amount if yes chain will be broken otherwise the request will keep forwarding till it finds the suitable handler. Here A, B and C are links of the chain and the whole phenomenon is Chain of Responsibility.

In plain words

It helps building a chain of objects. Request enters from one end and keeps going from object to object till it finds the suitable handler.

Wikipedia says

In object-oriented design, the chain-of-responsibility pattern is a design pattern consisting of a source of command objects and a series of processing objects. Each processing object contains logic that defines the types of command objects that it can handle; the rest are passed to the next processing object in the chain.

Programmatically Translating our account example above. First of all we have a base account having the logic for chaining the accounts together and some accounts


abstract class Account
{
    protected $successor;
    protected $balance;

    public function setNext(Account $account)
    {
        $this->successor = $account;
    }

    public function pay(float $amountToPay)
    {
        if ($this->canPay($amountToPay)) {
            echo sprintf('Paid %s using %s' . PHP_EOL, $amountToPay, get_called_class());
        } elseif ($this->successor) {
            echo sprintf('Cannot pay using %s. Proceeding ..' . PHP_EOL, get_called_class());
            $this->successor->pay($amountToPay);
        } else {
            throw Exception('None of the accounts have enough balance');
        }
    }

    public function canPay($amount): bool
    {
        return $this->balance >= $amount;
    }
}

class Bank extends Account
{
    protected $balance;

    public function __construct(float $balance)
    {
        $this->balance = $balance;
    }
}

class Paypal extends Account
{
    protected $balance;

    public function __construct(float $balance)
    {
        $this->balance = $balance;
    }
}

class Bitcoin extends Account
{
    protected $balance;

    public function __construct(float $balance)
    {
        $this->balance = $balance;
    }
}

Now let’s prepare the chain using the links defined above (i.e. Bank, Paypal, Bitcoin)


// Let's prepare a chain like below
//      $bank->$paypal->$bitcoin
//
// First priority bank
//      If bank can't pay then paypal
//      If paypal can't pay then bit coin

$bank = new Bank(100);          // Bank with balance 100
$paypal = new Paypal(200);      // Paypal with balance 200
$bitcoin = new Bitcoin(300);    // Bitcoin with balance 300

$bank->setNext($paypal);
$paypal->setNext($bitcoin);

// Let's try to pay using the first priority i.e. bank
$bank->pay(259);

// Output will be
// ==============
// Cannot pay using bank. Proceeding ..
// Cannot pay using paypal. Proceeding ..:
// Paid 259 using Bitcoin!

👮 Command

Real world example

A generic example would be you ordering a food at restaurant. You (i.e. Client) ask the waiter (i.e. Invoker) to bring some food (i.e. Command) and waiter simply forwards the request to Chef (i.e. Receiver) who has the knowledge of what and how to cook. Another example would be you (i.e. Client) switching on (i.e. Command) the television (i.e. Receiver) using a remote control (Invoker).

In plain words

Allows you to encapsulate actions in objects. The key idea behind this pattern is to provide the means to decouple client from receiver.

Wikipedia says

In object-oriented programming, the command pattern is a behavioral design pattern in which an object is used to encapsulate all information needed to perform an action or trigger an event at a later time. This information includes the method name, the object that owns the method and values for the method parameters.

Programmatically First of all we have the receiver that has the implementation of every action that could be performed


// Receiver
class Bulb
{
    public function turnOn()
    {
        echo "Bulb has been lit";
    }

    public function turnOff()
    {
        echo "Darkness!";
    }
}

then we have an interface that each of the commands are going to implement and then we have a set of commands


interface Command
{
    public function execute();
    public function undo();
    public function redo();
}

// Command
class TurnOn implements Command
{
    protected $bulb;

    public function __construct(Bulb $bulb)
    {
        $this->bulb = $bulb;
    }

    public function execute()
    {
        $this->bulb->turnOn();
    }

    public function undo()
    {
        $this->bulb->turnOff();
    }

    public function redo()
    {
        $this->execute();
    }
}

class TurnOff implements Command
{
    protected $bulb;

    public function __construct(Bulb $bulb)
    {
        $this->bulb = $bulb;
    }

    public function execute()
    {
        $this->bulb->turnOff();
    }

    public function undo()
    {
        $this->bulb->turnOn();
    }

    public function redo()
    {
        $this->execute();
    }
}

Then we have an Invoker with whom the client will interact to process any commands


// Invoker
class RemoteControl
{
    public function submit(Command $command)
    {
        $command->execute();
    }
}

Finally let’s see how we can use it in our client


$bulb = new Bulb();

$turnOn = new TurnOn($bulb);
$turnOff = new TurnOff($bulb);

$remote = new RemoteControl();
$remote->submit($turnOn); // Bulb has been lit!
$remote->submit($turnOff); // Darkness!

Command pattern can also be used to implement a transaction based system. Where you keep maintaining the history of commands as soon as you execute them. If the final command is successfully executed, all good otherwise just iterate through the history and keep executing the undo on all the executed commands.

➿ Iterator

Real world example

An old radio set will be a good example of iterator, where user could start at some channel and then use next or previous buttons to go through the respective channels. Or take an example of MP3 player or a TV set where you could press the next and previous buttons to go through the consecutive channels or in other words they all provide an interface to iterate through the respective channels, songs or radio stations.

In plain words

It presents a way to access the elements of an object without exposing the underlying presentation.

Wikipedia says

In object-oriented programming, the iterator pattern is a design pattern in which an iterator is used to traverse a container and access the container’s elements. The iterator pattern decouples algorithms from containers; in some cases, algorithms are necessarily container-specific and thus cannot be decoupled.

Programmatic example

In PHP it is quite easy to implement using SPL (Standard PHP Library). Translating our radio stations example from above. First of all we have RadioStation


class RadioStation
{
    protected $frequency;

    public function __construct(float $frequency)
    {
        $this->frequency = $frequency;
    }

    public function getFrequency(): float
    {
        return $this->frequency;
    }
}

Then we have our iterator


use Countable;
use Iterator;

class StationList implements Countable, Iterator
{
    /** @var RadioStation[] $stations */
    protected $stations = [];

    /** @var int $counter */
    protected $counter;

    public function addStation(RadioStation $station)
    {
        $this->stations[] = $station;
    }

    public function removeStation(RadioStation $toRemove)
    {
        $toRemoveFrequency = $toRemove->getFrequency();
        $this->stations = array_filter($this->stations, function (RadioStation $station) use ($toRemoveFrequency) {
            return $station->getFrequency() !== $toRemoveFrequency;
        });
    }

    public function count(): int
    {
        return count($this->stations);
    }

    public function current(): RadioStation
    {
        return $this->stations[$this->counter];
    }

    public function key()
    {
        return $this->counter;
    }

    public function next()
    {
        $this->counter++;
    }

    public function rewind()
    {
        $this->counter = 0;
    }

    public function valid(): bool
    {
        return isset($this->stations[$this->counter]);
    }
}

And then it can be used as


$stationList = new StationList();

$stationList->addStation(new RadioStation(89));
$stationList->addStation(new RadioStation(101));
$stationList->addStation(new RadioStation(102));
$stationList->addStation(new RadioStation(103.2));

foreach($stationList as $station) {
    echo $station->getFrequency() . PHP_EOL;
}

$stationList->removeStation(new RadioStation(89)); // Will remove station 89

👽 Mediator

Real world example

A general example would be when you talk to someone on your mobile phone, there is a network provider sitting between you and them and your conversation goes through it instead of being directly sent. In this case network provider is mediator.

In plain words

Mediator pattern adds a third party object (called mediator) to control the interaction between two objects (called colleagues). It helps reduce the coupling between the classes communicating with each other. Because now they don’t need to have the knowledge of each other’s implementation.

Wikipedia says

In software engineering, the mediator pattern defines an object that encapsulates how a set of objects interact. This pattern is considered to be a behavioral pattern due to the way it can alter the program’s running behavior.

Programmatically Here is the simplest example of a chat room (i.e. mediator) with users (i.e. colleagues) sending messages to each other.

First of all, we have the mediator i.e. the chat room


// Mediator
class ChatRoom implements ChatRoomMediator
{
    public function showMessage(User $user, string $message)
    {
        $time = date('M d, y H:i');
        $sender = $user->getName();

        echo $time . '[' . $sender . ']:' . $message;
    }
}

Then we have our users i.e. colleagues


class User {
    protected $name;
    protected $chatMediator;

    public function __construct(string $name, ChatRoomMediator $chatMediator) {
        $this->name = $name;
        $this->chatMediator = $chatMediator;
    }

    public function getName() {
        return $this->name;
    }

    public function send($message) {
        $this->chatMediator->showMessage($this, $message);
    }
}

And the usage


$mediator = new ChatRoom();

$john = new User('John Doe', $mediator);
$jane = new User('Jane Doe', $mediator);

$john->send('Hi there!');
$jane->send('Hey!');

// Output will be
// Feb 14, 10:58 [John]: Hi there!
// Feb 14, 10:58 [Jane]: Hey!

💾 Memento

Real world example

Take the example of calculator (i.e. originator), where whenever you perform some calculation the last calculation is saved in memory (i.e. memento) so that you can get back to it and maybe get it restored using some action buttons (i.e. caretaker).

In plain words

Memento pattern is about capturing and storing the current state of an object in a manner that it can be restored later on in a smooth manner.

Wikipedia says

The memento pattern is a software design pattern that provides the ability to restore an object to its previous state (undo via rollback).

Usually useful when you need to provide some sort of undo functionality.

Programmatically Lets take an example of text editor which keeps saving the state from time to time and that you can restore if you want.

First of all we have our memento object that will be able to hold the editor state


class EditorMemento
{
    protected $content;

    public function __construct(string $content)
    {
        $this->content = $content;
    }

    public function getContent()
    {
        return $this->content;
    }
}

Then we have our editor i.e. originator that is going to use memento object


class Editor
{
    protected $content = '';

    public function type(string $words)
    {
        $this->content = $this->content . ' ' . $words;
    }

    public function getContent()
    {
        return $this->content;
    }

    public function save()
    {
        return new EditorMemento($this->content);
    }

    public function restore(EditorMemento $memento)
    {
        $this->content = $memento->getContent();
    }
}

And then it can be used as


$editor = new Editor();

// Type some stuff
$editor->type('This is the first sentence.');
$editor->type('This is second.');

// Save the state to restore to : This is the first sentence. This is second.
$saved = $editor->save();

// Type some more
$editor->type('And this is third.');

// Output: Content before Saving
echo $editor->getContent(); // This is the first sentence. This is second. And this is third.

// Restoring to last saved state
$editor->restore($saved);

$editor->getContent(); // This is the first sentence. This is second.

😎 Observer

Real world example

A good example would be the job seekers where they subscribe to some job posting site and they are notified whenever there is a matching job opportunity.

In plain words

Defines a dependency between objects so that whenever an object changes its state, all its dependents are notified.

Wikipedia says

The observer pattern is a software design pattern in which an object, called the subject, maintains a list of its dependents, called observers, and notifies them automatically of any state changes, usually by calling one of their methods.

Programmatic example

Translating our example from above. First of all we have job seekers that need to be notified for a job posting


class JobPost
{
    protected $title;

    public function __construct(string $title)
    {
        $this->title = $title;
    }

    public function getTitle()
    {
        return $this->title;
    }
}

class JobSeeker implements Observer
{
    protected $name;

    public function __construct(string $name)
    {
        $this->name = $name;
    }

    public function onJobPosted(JobPost $job)
    {
        // Do something with the job posting
        echo 'Hi ' . $this->name . '! New job posted: '. $job->getTitle();
    }
}

Then we have our job postings to which the job seekers will subscribe


class JobPostings implements Observable
{
    protected $observers = [];

    protected function notify(JobPost $jobPosting)
    {
        foreach ($this->observers as $observer) {
            $observer->onJobPosted($jobPosting);
        }
    }

    public function attach(Observer $observer)
    {
        $this->observers[] = $observer;
    }

    public function addJob(JobPost $jobPosting)
    {
        $this->notify($jobPosting);
    }
}

Then it can be used as


// Create subscribers
$johnDoe = new JobSeeker('John Doe');
$janeDoe = new JobSeeker('Jane Doe');

// Create publisher and attach subscribers
$jobPostings = new JobPostings();
$jobPostings->attach($johnDoe);
$jobPostings->attach($janeDoe);

// Add a new job and see if subscribers get notified
$jobPostings->addJob(new JobPost('Software Engineer'));

// Output
// Hi John Doe! New job posted: Software Engineer
// Hi Jane Doe! New job posted: Software Engineer

🏃 Visitor

Real world example

Consider someone visiting Dubai. They just need a way (i.e. visa) to enter Dubai. After arrival, they can come and visit any place in Dubai on their own without having to ask for permission or to do some leg work in order to visit any place here; just let them know of a place and they can visit it. Visitor pattern lets you do just that, it helps you add places to visit so that they can visit as much as they can without having to do any legwork.

In plain words

Visitor pattern lets you add further operations to objects without having to modify them.

Wikipedia says

In object-oriented programming and software engineering, the visitor design pattern is a way of separating an algorithm from an object structure on which it operates. A practical result of this separation is the ability to add new operations to existing object structures without modifying those structures. It is one way to follow the open/closed principle.

Programmatic example

Let’s take an example of a zoo simulation where we have several different kinds of animals and we have to make them Sound. Let’s translate this using visitor pattern


// Visitee
interface Animal
{
    public function accept(AnimalOperation $operation);
}

// Visitor
interface AnimalOperation
{
    public function visitMonkey(Monkey $monkey);
    public function visitLion(Lion $lion);
    public function visitDolphin(Dolphin $dolphin);
}

Then we have our implementations for the animals


class Monkey implements Animal
{
    public function shout()
    {
        echo 'Ooh oo aa aa!';
    }

    public function accept(AnimalOperation $operation)
    {
        $operation->visitMonkey($this);
    }
}

class Lion implements Animal
{
    public function roar()
    {
        echo 'Roaaar!';
    }

    public function accept(AnimalOperation $operation)
    {
        $operation->visitLion($this);
    }
}

class Dolphin implements Animal
{
    public function speak()
    {
        echo 'Tuut tuttu tuutt!';
    }

    public function accept(AnimalOperation $operation)
    {
        $operation->visitDolphin($this);
    }
}

Let’s implement our visitor


class Speak implements AnimalOperation
{
    public function visitMonkey(Monkey $monkey)
    {
        $monkey->shout();
    }

    public function visitLion(Lion $lion)
    {
        $lion->roar();
    }

    public function visitDolphin(Dolphin $dolphin)
    {
        $dolphin->speak();
    }
}

And then it can be used as


$monkey = new Monkey();
$lion = new Lion();
$dolphin = new Dolphin();

$speak = new Speak();

$monkey->accept($speak);    // Ooh oo aa aa!    
$lion->accept($speak);      // Roaaar!
$dolphin->accept($speak);   // Tuut tutt tuutt!

We could have done this simply by having a inheritance hierarchy for the animals but then we would have to modify the animals whenever we would have to add new actions to animals. But now we will not have to change them. For example, let’s say we are asked to add the jump behavior to the animals, we can simply add that by creating a new visitor i.e.


class Jump implements AnimalOperation
{
    public function visitMonkey(Monkey $monkey)
    {
        echo 'Jumped 20 feet high! on to the tree!';
    }

    public function visitLion(Lion $lion)
    {
        echo 'Jumped 7 feet! Back on the ground!';
    }

    public function visitDolphin(Dolphin $dolphin)
    {
        echo 'Walked on water a little and disappeared';
    }
}

And for the usage


$jump = new Jump();

$monkey->accept($speak);   // Ooh oo aa aa!
$monkey->accept($jump);    // Jumped 20 feet high! on to the tree!

$lion->accept($speak);     // Roaaar!
$lion->accept($jump);      // Jumped 7 feet! Back on the ground!

$dolphin->accept($speak);  // Tuut tutt tuutt!
$dolphin->accept($jump);   // Walked on water a little and disappeared

💡 Strategy

Real world example

Consider the example of sorting, we implemented bubble sort but the data started to grow and bubble sort started getting very slow. In order to tackle this we implemented Quick sort. But now although the quick sort algorithm was doing better for large datasets, it was very slow for smaller datasets. In order to handle this we implemented a strategy where for small datasets, bubble sort will be used and for larger, quick sort.

In plain words

Strategy pattern allows you to switch the algorithm or strategy based upon the situation.

Wikipedia says

In computer programming, the strategy pattern (also known as the policy pattern) is a behavioural software design pattern that enables an algorithm’s behavior to be selected at runtime.

Programmatic example

Translating our example from above. First of all we have our strategy interface and different strategy implementations


interface SortStrategy
{
    public function sort(array $dataset): array;
}

class BubbleSortStrategy implements SortStrategy
{
    public function sort(array $dataset): array
    {
        echo "Sorting using bubble sort";

        // Do sorting
        return $dataset;
    }
}

class QuickSortStrategy implements SortStrategy
{
    public function sort(array $dataset): array
    {
        echo "Sorting using quick sort";

        // Do sorting
        return $dataset;
    }
}

And then we have our client that is going to use any strategy


class Sorter
{
    protected $sorter;

    public function __construct(SortStrategy $sorter)
    {
        $this->sorter = $sorter;
    }

    public function sort(array $dataset): array
    {
        return $this->sorter->sort($dataset);
    }
}

And it can be used as


$dataset = [1, 5, 4, 3, 2, 8];

$sorter = new Sorter(new BubbleSortStrategy());
$sorter->sort($dataset); // Output : Sorting using bubble sort

$sorter = new Sorter(new QuickSortStrategy());
$sorter->sort($dataset); // Output : Sorting using quick sort

💢 State

Real world example

Imagine you are using some drawing application, you choose the paint brush to draw. Now the brush changes its behavior based on the selected color i.e. if you have chosen red color it will draw in red, if blue then it will be in blue etc.

In plain words

It lets you change the behavior of a class when the state changes.

Wikipedia says

The state pattern is a behavioral software design pattern that implements a state machine in an object-oriented way. With the state pattern, a state machine is implemented by implementing each individual state as a derived class of the state pattern interface, and implementing state transitions by invoking methods defined by the pattern’s superclass. The state pattern can be interpreted as a strategy pattern which is able to switch the current strategy through invocations of methods defined in the pattern’s interface.

Programmatic example

Let’s take an example of text editor, it lets you change the state of text that is typed i.e. if you have selected bold, it starts writing in bold, if italic then in italics etc.

First of all we have our state interface and some state implementations


interface WritingState
{
    public function write(string $words);
}

class UpperCase implements WritingState
{
    public function write(string $words)
    {
        echo strtoupper($words);
    }
}

class LowerCase implements WritingState
{
    public function write(string $words)
    {
        echo strtolower($words);
    }
}

class Default implements WritingState
{
    public function write(string $words)
    {
        echo $words;
    }
}

Then we have our editor


class TextEditor
{
    protected $state;

    public function __construct(WritingState $state)
    {
        $this->state = $state;
    }

    public function setState(WritingState $state)
    {
        $this->state = $state;
    }

    public function type(string $words)
    {
        $this->state->write($words);
    }
}

And then it can be used as


$editor = new TextEditor(new Default());

$editor->type('First line');

$editor->setState(new UpperCase());

$editor->type('Second line');
$editor->type('Third line');

$editor->setState(new LowerCase());

$editor->type('Fourth line');
$editor->type('Fifth line');

// Output:
// First line
// SECOND LINE
// THIRD LINE
// fourth line
// fifth line

📒 Template Method

Real world example

Suppose we are getting some house built. The steps for building might look like

  • Prepare the base of house
  • Build the walls
  • Add roof
  • Add other floors

The order of these steps could never be changed i.e. you can’t build the roof before building the walls etc but each of the steps could be modified for example walls can be made of wood or polyester or stone.

In plain words

Template method defines the skeleton of how a certain algorithm could be performed, but defers the implementation of those steps to the children classes.

Wikipedia says

In software engineering, the template method pattern is a behavioral design pattern that defines the program skeleton of an algorithm in an operation, deferring some steps to subclasses. It lets one redefine certain steps of an algorithm without changing the algorithm’s structure.

Programmatically Imagine we have a build tool that helps us test, lint, build, generate build reports (i.e. code coverage reports, linting report etc) and deploy our app on the test server.

First of all we have our base class that specifies the skeleton for the build algorithm


abstract class Builder
{

    // Template method
    final public function build()
    {
        $this->test();
        $this->lint();
        $this->assemble();
        $this->deploy();
    }

    abstract public function test();
    abstract public function lint();
    abstract public function assemble();
    abstract public function deploy();
}

Then we can have our implementations


class AndroidBuilder extends Builder
{
    public function test()
    {
        echo 'Running android tests';
    }

    public function lint()
    {
        echo 'Linting the android code';
    }

    public function assemble()
    {
        echo 'Assembling the android build';
    }

    public function deploy()
    {
        echo 'Deploying android build to server';
    }
}

class IosBuilder extends Builder
{
    public function test()
    {
        echo 'Running ios tests';
    }

    public function lint()
    {
        echo 'Linting the ios code';
    }

    public function assemble()
    {
        echo 'Assembling the ios build';
    }

    public function deploy()
    {
        echo 'Deploying ios build to server';
    }
}

And then it can be used as


$androidBuilder = new AndroidBuilder();
$androidBuilder->build();

// Output:
// Running android tests
// Linting the android code
// Assembling the android build
// Deploying android build to server

$iosBuilder = new IosBuilder();
$iosBuilder->build();

// Output:
// Running ios tests
// Linting the ios code
// Assembling the ios build
// Deploying ios build to server

And with this final article, the series comes to the conclusion. Hope you would have learnt a thing or two. If you have any questions, please use the comment section below.

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