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Decorator in Ruby

Decorator is a structural pattern that allows adding new behaviors to objects dynamically by placing them inside special wrapper objects, called decorators.

Using decorators you can wrap objects countless number of times since both target objects and decorators follow the same interface. The resulting object will get a stacking behavior of all wrappers.



Usage examples: The Decorator is pretty standard in Ruby code, especially in code related to streams.

Identification: Decorator can be recognized by creation methods or constructors that accept objects of the same class or interface as a current class.

Conceptual Example

This example illustrates the structure of the Decorator 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 base Component interface defines operations that can be altered by
# decorators.
class Component
  # @return [String]
  def operation
    raise NotImplementedError, "#{self.class} has not implemented method '#{__method__}'"

# Concrete Components provide default implementations of the operations. There
# might be several variations of these classes.
class ConcreteComponent < Component
  # @return [String]
  def operation

# The base Decorator class follows the same interface as the other components.
# The primary purpose of this class is to define the wrapping interface for all
# concrete decorators. The default implementation of the wrapping code might
# include a field for storing a wrapped component and the means to initialize
# it.
class Decorator < Component
  attr_accessor :component

  # @param [Component] component
  def initialize(component)
    @component = component

  # The Decorator delegates all work to the wrapped component.
  def operation

# Concrete Decorators call the wrapped object and alter its result in some way.
class ConcreteDecoratorA < Decorator
  # Decorators may call parent implementation of the operation, instead of
  # calling the wrapped object directly. This approach simplifies extension of
  # decorator classes.
  def operation

# Decorators can execute their behavior either before or after the call to a
# wrapped object.
class ConcreteDecoratorB < Decorator
  # @return [String]
  def operation

# The client code works with all objects using the Component interface. This way
# it can stay independent of the concrete classes of components it works with.
def client_code(component)
  # ...

  print "RESULT: #{component.operation}"

  # ...

# This way the client code can support both simple components...
simple =
puts 'Client: I\'ve got a simple component:'
puts "\n\n"

# well as decorated ones.
# Note how decorators can wrap not only simple components but the other
# decorators as well.
decorator1 =
decorator2 =
puts 'Client: Now I\'ve got a decorated component:'

output.txt: Execution result

Client: I've got a simple component:
RESULT: ConcreteComponent

Client: Now I've got a decorated component:
RESULT: ConcreteDecoratorB(ConcreteDecoratorA(ConcreteComponent))

Decorator in Other Languages

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