Structural Design Patterns

Structural patterns ease the design of a program by identifying a way to realize relationships between entities. The difference between class patterns and object patterns is that class patterns describe how inheritance can be used to provide more useful program interfaces. Object patterns, on the other hand, describe how objects can be composed into larger structures using object composition, or the inclusion of objects within other objects.  

"Structural class patterns use inheritance to compose interfaces or implementations." [GoF, "Design Patterns", Addison Wesley, ISBN 0201633612]

  • Data Access Object abstracts and encapsulates all access to a data source letting the implementation underneath vary while presenting a uniform interface to your program.
  • Transfer Object encapsulates all the data associated with a specific type of entity, for a example a book, date, or bank account. It helps reduce the amount of method calls and makes the actual method call much nicer to read.  

"Structural object patterns describe ways to compose objects to realize new functionality." [GoF, "Design Patterns", Addison Wesley, ISBN 0201633612] The added flexibility of object composition comes from the ability to change the composition at run-time.

  • Decorator describes how to add responsibilities to objects dynamically. It composes objects recursively to allow an open-ended number of additional responsibilities.
  • Facade shows how to make a single object represent an entire subsystem. It carries out its responsibility by forwarding messages to the objects it represents.
  • Proxy acts as a placeholder for another object. A level of indirection is introduced hence a Proxy can be used in different ways - it can restrict, enhance or alter properties of the object it represents.

References / More Info

Structural Patterns - Wikipedia