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C#: Chain of Responsibility

Chain of Responsibility

Chain of Responsibility is behavioral design pattern that allows passing request along the chain of potential handlers until one of them handles request.

The pattern allows multiple objects to handle the request without coupling sender class to the concrete classes of the receivers. The chain can be composed dynamically at runtime with any handler that follows a standard handler interface.

Learn more about Chain of Responsibility

Application of the pattern in C#

Complexity:

Popularity:

Usage examples: The Chain of Responsibility pattern isn’t a frequent guest in a C# program since it’s only relevant when code operates with chains of objects.

Identification: The pattern is recognizable by behavioral methods of one objects indirectly call the same methods in other objects, while all the objects follow the common interface.

Example: Conceptual Example

This example illustrates the structure of the Chain of Responsibility design pattern. It focuses on answering these questions:

  • What classes does it consists of?
  • What roles do these classes play?
  • In what way the elements of the pattern are related?

Program.cs: Conceptual Example

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

namespace RefactoringGuru.DesignPatterns.ChainOfResponsibility.Conceptual
{
    // The Handler interface declares a method for building the chain of
    // handlers. It also declares a method for executing a request.
    public interface IHandler
    {
        IHandler SetNext(IHandler handler);
		
        object Handle(object request);
    }

    // The default chaining behavior can be implemented inside a base handler
    // class.
    abstract class AbstractHandler : IHandler
    {
        private IHandler _nextHandler;

        public IHandler SetNext(IHandler handler)
        {
            this._nextHandler = handler;
            
            // Returning a handler from here will let us link handlers in a
            // convenient way like this:
            // monkey.SetNext(squirrel).SetNext(dog);
            return handler;
        }
		
        public virtual object Handle(object request)
        {
            if (this._nextHandler != null)
            {
                return this._nextHandler.Handle(request);
            }
            else
            {
                return null;
            }
        }
    }

    class MonkeyHandler : AbstractHandler
    {
        public override object Handle(object request)
        {
            if ((request as string) == "Banana")
            {
                return $"Monkey: I'll eat the {request.ToString()}.\n";
            }
            else
            {
                return base.Handle(request);
            }
        }
    }

    class SquirrelHandler : AbstractHandler
    {
        public override object Handle(object request)
        {
            if (request.ToString() == "Nut")
            {
                return $"Squirrel: I'll eat the {request.ToString()}.\n";
            }
            else
            {
                return base.Handle(request);
            }
        }
    }

    class DogHandler : AbstractHandler
    {
        public override object Handle(object request)
        {
            if (request.ToString() == "MeatBall")
            {
                return $"Dog: I'll eat the {request.ToString()}.\n";
            }
            else
            {
                return base.Handle(request);
            }
        }
    }

    class Client
    {
        // The client code is usually suited to work with a single handler. In
        // most cases, it is not even aware that the handler is part of a chain.
        public static void ClientCode(AbstractHandler handler)
        {
            foreach (var food in new List<string> { "Nut", "Banana", "Cup of coffee" })
            {
                Console.WriteLine($"Client: Who wants a {food}?");

                var result = handler.Handle(food);

                if (result != null)
                {
                    Console.Write($"   {result}");
                }
                else
                {
                    Console.WriteLine($"   {food} was left untouched.");
                }
            }
        }
    }

    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            // The other part of the client code constructs the actual chain.
            var monkey = new MonkeyHandler();
            var squirrel = new SquirrelHandler();
            var dog = new DogHandler();

            monkey.SetNext(squirrel).SetNext(dog);

            // The client should be able to send a request to any handler, not
            // just the first one in the chain.
            Console.WriteLine("Chain: Monkey > Squirrel > Dog\n");
            Client.ClientCode(monkey);
            Console.WriteLine();

            Console.WriteLine("Subchain: Squirrel > Dog\n");
            Client.ClientCode(squirrel);
        }
    }
}

Output.txt: Output

Chain: Monkey > Squirrel > Dog

Client: Who wants a Nut?
   Squirrel: I'll eat the Nut.
Client: Who wants a Banana?
   Monkey: I'll eat the Banana.
Client: Who wants a Cup of coffee?
   Cup of coffee was left untouched.

Subchain: Squirrel > Dog

Client: Who wants a Nut?
   Squirrel: I'll eat the Nut.
Client: Who wants a Banana?
   Banana was left untouched.
Client: Who wants a Cup of coffee?
   Cup of coffee was left untouched.