Interfaces, Patterns, and Modularity
In this chapter, we will dive deep into the realm of design patterns through the lens of interfaces, patterns, and modularity. We've already neared this realm when introducing the concept of programming idioms. Idioms can be understood as small and well-recognized programming patterns for solving small problems. The key characteristic of a programming idiom is that it is specific to a single programming language. While idioms can often be ported to a different language, it is not guaranteed that the resulting code will feel natural to "native" users of that programming language.
Idioms generally are concerned with small programming constructs—usually a few lines of code. Design patterns, on the other hand, deal with much larger code structures—functions and classes. They are also definitely more ubiquitous. Design patterns are reusable solutions to many common design problems appearing in software engineering. They are often language-agnostic and thus can be expressed using many programming languages.
In this chapter, we will look at a quite unusual take on the topic of design patterns. Many programming books start by going back to the unofficial origin of software design patterns—the Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software book by Gamma, Vlissides, Helm, and Johnson. What usually follows is a lengthy catalog of classic design patterns with more or less idiomatic examples of their Python implementation. Singletons, factories, adapters, flyweights, bridges, visitors, strategies, and so on and so forth.
There are also countless web articles and blogs doing exactly the same, so if you are interested in learning the classic design patterns, you shouldn't have any problems finding resources online.
If you are interested in learning about the implementation of "classic" design patterns in Python, you can visit the https://python-patterns.guide site. It provides a comprehensive catalog of design patterns together with Python code examples.
Instead, we will focus on two key "design pattern enablers":
- Inversion of control and dependency injectors
These two concepts are "enablers" because without them we wouldn't even have proper language terms to talk about design patterns. By discussing the topic of interfaces and inversion of control, we will be able to better understand what the challenges are for building modular applications. And only by deeply understanding those challenges will we be able to figure out why we actually need patterns.
We will of course use numerous classic design patterns on the way, but we won't focus on any specific pattern.