Design patterns represent the best practices used by experienced object-oriented software developers. Design patterns are solutions to general problems that software developers faced during software development. These solutions were obtained by trial and error by numerous software developers over quite a substantial period of time.
In 1994, four authors Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson and John Vlissides published a book titled Design Patterns - Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software which initiated the concept of Design Pattern in Software development.
These authors are collectively known as Gang of Four (GOF). According to these authors design patterns are primarily based on the following principles of object orientated design.
Program to an interface not an implementation
Favor object composition over inheritance
Design Patterns have two main usages in software development.
Design patterns provide a standard terminology and are specific to particular scenario. For example, a singleton design pattern signifies use of single object so all developers familiar with single design pattern will make use of single object and they can tell each other that program is following a singleton pattern.
Design patterns have been evolved over a long period of time and they provide best solutions to certain problems faced during software development. Learning these patterns helps unexperienced developers to learn software design in an easy and faster way.
As per the design pattern reference book Design Patterns - Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software , there are 23 design patterns which can be classified in three categories: Creational, Structural and Behavioral patterns. We'll also discuss another category of design pattern: J2EE design patterns.
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These design patterns provide a way to create objects while hiding the creation logic, rather than instantiating objects directly using new operator. This gives program more flexibility in deciding which objects need to be created for a given use case.
These design patterns concern class and object composition. Concept of inheritance is used to compose interfaces and define ways to compose objects to obtain new functionalities.
These design patterns are specifically concerned with communication between objects.
These design patterns are specifically concerned with the presentation tier. These patterns are identified by Sun Java Center.