Most of us working as developers have heard of Design Patterns. But, some of us might not have had time to learn them, some of us might have ignored them straight away because of the heavy learning curve required, or some of us might not even know what design patterns are.
So what exactly is a design pattern? In simple terms, a design pattern is a set of rules or solutions to certain problems that have already been tested by others so that they can be implemented to solve similar problems.
So, so it really worth the investment to learn different design patterns?
I think the answer is a resounding Yes. Even though it takes some time to learn different design patterns, I have found that they certainly come in handy in the long run.
Benefits of Using Design Patterns
A. Developer's Blueprints
Since design patterns are a set of well-tested solutions for similar problems, they are like blueprints that can be customized to solve specific problems. Design patterns help minimize mistakes by providing proven solutions, which, in turn, helps boost the developer's efficiency.
For example, if you are a house builder tasked to build a house with no blueprint for the design, you might make many mistakes. And when the building is complete, you might realize that the house did not turn as you wanted. However, if you had a blueprint beforehand for your work, you would know exactly what the size of each room would be, where to place doors, windows, etc.
A design pattern works similarly to a builder's blueprint to a developer.
B. Clean Code
Design patterns also help in keeping your code clean.
But what even is clean code? First, let's talk about dirty code. Dirty code is hard to read, understand, and manage. It is caused by inexperience, tight deadlines, and quick fixes used for solving specific bugs. Conversely, clean code is efficient and easy to work with. Clean code is also significantly easier to understand.
Using design patterns help maintain certain rules to writing code, which in turn increases the user's productivity. It also allows developers to understand each other's code. Understanding another coder's writing is a huge blessing, as most of the time we waste is occupied by trying to understand how a piece of code was used by another person and what its purpose was in the application.
C. Foresight and Planning
Design patterns increase our field of view and help us see what we need to write. Knowing this information beforehand helps us understand possible problems and develop solutions required to solve them proactively. This way, we can minimize the amount of bloating when developing applications.
Rather than throwing something together that might work, we are given a tested solution to the problem that works. It is always better to use a "that works" solution rather than a "this might work" one. As a result, software architecture is significantly improved.
D. Easier Communication
Apart from communication within the code itself, design patterns make it easier to communicate with developers in general (provided they know about design patterns as well).
Continuing the builder's example from above, we know that it is easier for a builder to show a blueprint to another builder and say the house will look like this instead of explaining how the whole house will be made step by step.
Thus, when a developer explains what design pattern they will be using, they are making it easier for another developer to picture what the system will look like. This is both time-saving and productive.
Types of Design Patterns
There are different design patterns developed to tackle different problems. Design patterns are divided into different groups according to their purpose.
A. Creational Patterns
Creational Patterns are used for creating objects. They provide flexible and reusable ways of generating various objects. Some examples are:
- Factory Method
- Abstract Factory
B. Structural Patterns
Structural Patterns provide a way of assembling objects and classes into the larger structure while keeping these structures easy to manage. Some examples are:
C. Behavioural Patterns
Behavioural Patterns are design patterns that focus on assigning responsibilities to objects and provide a way of communicating between objects. Some examples are:
- Template Method
- Chain of Responsibility
The patterns listed above contain all you need to know to make clean and reusable code.
That's it! I hope you understand the importance of design patterns in software development and are willing to use them in your own workflow.
I will be describing all the above patterns in detail with examples soon. Until then, Goodbye!