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Command in Ruby

Command is behavioral design pattern that converts requests or simple operations into objects.

The conversion allows deferred or remote execution of commands, storing command history, etc.



Usage examples: The Command pattern is pretty common in Ruby code. Most often it’s used as an alternative for callbacks to parameterizing UI elements with actions. It’s also used for queueing tasks, tracking operations history, etc.

Identification: The Command pattern is recognizable by behavioral methods in an abstract/interface type (sender) which invokes a method in an implementation of a different abstract/interface type (receiver) which has been encapsulated by the command implementation during its creation. Command classes are usually limited to specific actions.

Conceptual Example

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

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

main.rb: Conceptual example

# The Command interface declares a method for executing a command.
class Command
  # @abstract
  def execute
    raise NotImplementedError, "#{self.class} has not implemented method '#{__method__}'"

# Some commands can implement simple operations on their own.
class SimpleCommand < Command
  # @param [String] payload
  def initialize(payload)
    @payload = payload

  def execute
    puts "SimpleCommand: See, I can do simple things like printing (#{@payload})"

# However, some commands can delegate more complex operations to other objects,
# called "receivers".
class ComplexCommand < Command
  # Complex commands can accept one or several receiver objects along with any
  # context data via the constructor.
  def initialize(receiver, a, b)
    @receiver = receiver
    @a = a
    @b = b

  # Commands can delegate to any methods of a receiver.
  def execute
    print 'ComplexCommand: Complex stuff should be done by a receiver object'

# The Receiver classes contain some important business logic. They know how to
# perform all kinds of operations, associated with carrying out a request. In
# fact, any class may serve as a Receiver.
class Receiver
  # @param [String] a
  def do_something(a)
    print "\nReceiver: Working on (#{a}.)"

  # @param [String] b
  def do_something_else(b)
    print "\nReceiver: Also working on (#{b}.)"

# The Invoker is associated with one or several commands. It sends a request to
# the command.
class Invoker
  # Initialize commands.

  # @param [Command] command
  def on_start=(command)
    @on_start = command

  # @param [Command] command
  def on_finish=(command)
    @on_finish = command

  # The Invoker does not depend on concrete command or receiver classes. The
  # Invoker passes a request to a receiver indirectly, by executing a command.
  def do_something_important
    puts 'Invoker: Does anybody want something done before I begin?'
    @on_start.execute if @on_start.is_a? Command

    puts 'Invoker: ...doing something really important...'

    puts 'Invoker: Does anybody want something done after I finish?'
    @on_finish.execute if @on_finish.is_a? Command

# The client code can parameterize an invoker with any commands.
invoker =
invoker.on_start ='Say Hi!')
receiver =
invoker.on_finish =, 'Send email', 'Save report')


output.txt: Execution result

Invoker: Does anybody want something done before I begin?
SimpleCommand: See, I can do simple things like printing (Say Hi!)
Invoker: ...doing something really important...
Invoker: Does anybody want something done after I finish?
ComplexCommand: Complex stuff should be done by a receiver object
Receiver: Working on (Send email.)
Receiver: Also working on (Save report.)

Command in Other Languages

Command in C# Command in C++ Command in Go Command in Java Command in PHP Command in Python Command in Rust Command in Swift Command in TypeScript