Design Pattern Limit

The post Are Patterns like Mummies? by Michael Stal discusses the patterns from the book Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides, otherwise known as the Gang of Four. This is the book containing the design patterns that we have been studying in class. He discusses how when the book first came out how groundbreaking it was for the software engineering community. Michael also discusses how after the Gang of Four book came out, there wasn’t anything that came after it that had quite as much impact. Michael questions whether more patterns exist, and whether they’ve been documented, or if the book contains most if not all of the worthwhile software design patterns.

The Gang of Four design patterns are basically ways to organize and structure your code in a certain way that solves certain issues you would run into and has certain advantages that can lend themselves to whatever you are doing. The author’s break down the design patterns into three different categories, which are:

  • Creational
  • Structural
  • Behavioral

Creational patterns deal with the creation of objects, structural patterns are executed through inheritance and interfaces, and behavioral patterns concern themselves with the communication between objects. There are several design patterns within each of these categories.

It is interesting to think about if the patterns covered within this book are the only design patterns (or at least the strongest) within software design. This means every large-scale program is ultimately composed of many components using only the design patterns contained within this book. Is there even a need to define more software design patterns, or can any given program or implementation issue be solved with the patterns found within the Gang of Four book?

I agree with Michael’s closing thoughts about design patterns, I think using them correctly and consistently leads to much more functional code and encourages best practices among software engineers. Whether or not there are more design patterns to uncover, or if we have reached our limit, the patterns we are aware of are still important to use to make communication between software engineers easier.

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