Today, I write about the Facade Pattern. The Facade Pattern is a structural pattern and has one purpose: to provide a simplified interface to any complex system.
The key idea of the
Facade Pattern is to provide a simplified interface to a complex system, consisting of a set of interfaces. A facade defines a higher-level interface that makes the subsystem easier to use. The high-level interface intends not to support all use cases of the complex system, but only the most important. Despite the Facade Pattern for the simplified interface, it is often still possible to use the complex system directly.
The Facade Pattern is an ideal starting point for decoupling complex systems by introducing layers. Additionally, it can be used as a starting point for deprecating the old interface.
Here are the facts.
- Provides a simplified interface to a set of interfaces
- Simplified access to a complex system
- A complex system contains many dependencies which are decoupled through the facade
- Introduction of layers within a complex system; the layer help to decouple the complex system
- Offers the simplified interface
- Delegates requests to the subsystems
- Implements the functionality
- Knows nothing about the facade
The following example is from Wikibook C++Programming: code patterns design
HouseFacade (line 1) provides simplifies the usage of the classes
TV (lines 2 to 4). The simplified interface consists of the two member functions
goToWork (line 5) and
comeHome (line 6). Both member functions encapsulate the original interface’s underlying member functions and guarantee that the member functions are called in the correct sequence.
Finally, here is the output of the program:
The Facade is probably the most heavily used Design Pattern in C++.
In general, calling a function that triggers an operating system call applies the Facade Pattern. Here are a few examples:
- Containers of the Standard Template Library automatically manage their memory.
- The threading API triggers calls to the underlying threading infrastructure, such as pthread or win32 threads.
- The parallel STL calls the underlying infrastructure, such as the Threading Building Blocks (TBB) or the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL).
- The filesystem library is an abstraction above the underlying operating system-specific filesystem library.
- There are more operating system-specific abstractions. Here are a few: chrono library, random library, or the formatting library.
- The Adaptor Pattern adjusts an existing interface, but the Facade creates a new, simplified interface.
- An Abstract Factory is an alternative way to create a subsystem abstraction transparently.
- The Mediator Pattern coordinates organization between objects, but the Facade creates a new, simplified interface.
- The Singleton Pattern can act as a single access point to a complex subsystem.
What are the pros and cons of the Facade Pattern?
Pros and Cons
- The complexity of the code can be hidden from the client.
- The misuse of the complex system is drastically reduced: “Make interfaces easy to use correctly and hard to use incorrectly.” by Scott Meyer in his post “The Most Important Design Guideline?“.
- It helps to port the complex system to another platform because the client only depends on the facade.
- A Facade may have too many responsibilities, and it ends in the antipattern God Object.
A Facade Pattern and a Singleton Pattern are pretty similar. They provide a single access point to a complex system. Consequentially, the pros and cons of the Singleton Pattern also apply to the Facade Pattern. Read more about the pros and cons of the Singleton Pattern in my previous post: “The Singleton: Pros and Cons“.
In my next post, I present the remaining structural pattern from the book “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software”: the Proxy Pattern. The Proxy Pattern is used as a placeholder for accessing another object.
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- Embedded Programmierung mit modernem C++ 12.12.2023 – 14.12.2023 (Präsenzschulung, Termingarantie)
Standard Seminars (English/German)
Here is a compilation of my standard seminars. These seminars are only meant to give you a first orientation.
- C++ – The Core Language
- C++ – The Standard Library
- C++ – Compact
- C++11 and C++14
- Concurrency with Modern C++
- Design Pattern and Architectural Pattern with C++
- Embedded Programming with Modern C++
- Generic Programming (Templates) with C++
- Clean Code with Modern C++
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