The Decorator Pattern

Learn about the Decorator design pattern and its implementation using a coding example.

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The Decorator pattern allows us to wrap an object that provides core functionality with other objects that alter this functionality. Any object that uses the decorated object will interact with it in exactly the same way as if it were undecorated (that is, the interface of the decorated object is identical to that of the core object).

There are two primary uses of the Decorator pattern:

  • Enhancing the response of a component as it sends data to a second component
  • Supporting multiple optional behaviors

The second option is often a suitable alternative to multiple inheritance. We can construct a core object, and then create a decorator wrapping that core. Since the decorator object has the same interface as the core object, we can even wrap the new object in other decorators. Here’s how it looks in a UML diagram:

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