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Flyweight

Flyweight in Ruby

Flyweight is a structural design pattern that allows programs to support vast quantities of objects by keeping their memory consumption low.

Pattern achieves it by sharing parts of object state between multiple objects. In other words, the Flyweight saves RAM by caching the same data used by different objects.

Usage of the pattern in Ruby

Complexity:

Popularity:

Usage examples: The Flyweight pattern has a single purpose: minimizing memory intake. If your program doesn’t struggle with a shortage of RAM, then you might just ignore this pattern for a while.

Identification: Flyweight can be recognized by a creation method that returns cached objects instead of creating new.

Conceptual Example

This example illustrates the structure of the Flyweight 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

require 'json'

# The Flyweight stores a common portion of the state (also called intrinsic
# state) that belongs to multiple real business entities. The Flyweight accepts
# the rest of the state (extrinsic state, unique for each entity) via its method
# parameters.
class Flyweight
  # @param [String] shared_state
  def initialize(shared_state)
    @shared_state = shared_state
  end

  # @param [String] unique_state
  def operation(unique_state)
    s = @shared_state.to_json
    u = unique_state.to_json
    print "Flyweight: Displaying shared (#{s}) and unique (#{u}) state."
  end
end

# The Flyweight Factory creates and manages the Flyweight objects. It ensures
# that flyweights are shared correctly. When the client requests a flyweight,
# the factory either returns an existing instance or creates a new one, if it
# doesn't exist yet.
class FlyweightFactory
  # @param [Hash] initial_flyweights
  def initialize(initial_flyweights)
    @flyweights = {}
    initial_flyweights.each do |state|
      @flyweights[get_key(state)] = Flyweight.new(state)
    end
  end

  # Returns a Flyweight's string hash for a given state.
  def get_key(state)
    state.sort.join('_')
  end

  # Returns an existing Flyweight with a given state or creates a new one.
  def get_flyweight(shared_state)
    key = get_key(shared_state)

    if !@flyweights.key?(key)
      puts "FlyweightFactory: Can't find a flyweight, creating new one."
      @flyweights[key] = Flyweight.new(shared_state)
    else
      puts 'FlyweightFactory: Reusing existing flyweight.'
    end

    @flyweights[key]
  end

  def list_flyweights
    puts "FlyweightFactory: I have #{@flyweights.size} flyweights:"
    print @flyweights.keys.join("\n")
  end
end

# @param [FlyweightFactory] factory
# @param [String] plates
# @param [String] owner
# @param [String] brand
# @param [String] model
# @param [String] color
def add_car_to_police_database(factory, plates, owner, brand, model, color)
  puts "\n\nClient: Adding a car to database."
  flyweight = factory.get_flyweight([brand, model, color])
  # The client code either stores or calculates extrinsic state and passes it to
  # the flyweight's methods.
  flyweight.operation([plates, owner])
end

# The client code usually creates a bunch of pre-populated flyweights in the
# initialization stage of the application.

factory = FlyweightFactory.new([
                                 %w[Chevrolet Camaro2018 pink],
                                 ['Mercedes Benz', 'C300', 'black'],
                                 ['Mercedes Benz', 'C500', 'red'],
                                 %w[BMW M5 red],
                                 %w[BMW X6 white]
                               ])

factory.list_flyweights

add_car_to_police_database(factory, 'CL234IR', 'James Doe', 'BMW', 'M5', 'red')

add_car_to_police_database(factory, 'CL234IR', 'James Doe', 'BMW', 'X1', 'red')

puts "\n\n"

factory.list_flyweights

output.txt: Execution result

FlyweightFactory: I have 5 flyweights:
Camaro2018_Chevrolet_pink
C300_Mercedes Benz_black
C500_Mercedes Benz_red
BMW_M5_red
BMW_X6_white

Client: Adding a car to database.
FlyweightFactory: Reusing existing flyweight.
Flyweight: Displaying shared (["BMW","M5","red"]) and unique (["CL234IR","James Doe"]) state.

Client: Adding a car to database.
FlyweightFactory: Can't find a flyweight, creating new one.
Flyweight: Displaying shared (["BMW","X1","red"]) and unique (["CL234IR","James Doe"]) state.

FlyweightFactory: I have 6 flyweights:
Camaro2018_Chevrolet_pink
C300_Mercedes Benz_black
C500_Mercedes Benz_red
BMW_M5_red
BMW_X6_white
BMW_X1_red

Flyweight in Other Languages

Design Patterns: Flyweight in Java Design Patterns: Flyweight in C# Design Patterns: Flyweight in PHP Design Patterns: Flyweight in Python Design Patterns: Flyweight in Swift Design Patterns: Flyweight in TypeScript