Prototype Design Pattern Episode 2 : Attack of the Clones

 

For this week’s blogpost I will be looking at yet another design pattern called the Prototype Design Pattern. Creating objects can take a lot of time and can be an expensive affair so in order to save time and money we can dive into cloning to solve this problem. You would want to use this pattern when the cost of the object to complex or expensive. After all, the clones in Star Wars were made to be cheap and expendable ultimately, the same goes for the idea behind the cloning pattern. Trying to keep the number of classes at a minimum is also a great time to use this object. Another big reason to use this pattern is when the client is creating objects that are required which are very similar to already existing objects, hence cloning. Essentially what this pattern allows you to do is make new instances by creating copies of existing instances. The result is a cloned object which is different from the original object, causing the state of the original to be the same as the clone right after the time of cloning. Therefore each object may undergo some state change, modifying the objects to perform different things after this is easily done. The structure of this pattern comes when the prototype class declares an interface for cloning itself by implementing the clone able interface and using the clone() method. Concrete Prototype then implements the clone method for cloning itself. After this the client class creates a new object asking the prototype to clone itself rather than using a new keyword. You need to instantiate the original class A(the class you are cloning) before using it. Then the client requests the prototype class for a new object of the same type as class A. This patterns great for scenarios where multiple profiles need to be created. In turn we can store the data in a single call and cache it in the session for further processing. Another more prominent example of cloning would perhaps be in the form of a bank account. Where you would want to make a copy of the object that holds your account information, perform transactions on it and then replace the original object with a modified one (a clone). The blog then goes on to list some more interesting points of the design pattern as well as some benefits and drawbacks. One of the drawbacks of the pattern is that classes with circular references to other classes cannot really be cloned. But a benefit of this pattern is that client can reduce subclassing with this immensely. All and all this pattern seems like something I would use actually quite often.

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