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Prototype

Prototype in C#

Prototype is a creational design pattern that allows cloning objects, even complex ones, without coupling to their specific classes.

All prototype classes should have a common interface that makes it possible to copy objects even if their concrete classes are unknown. Prototype objects can produce full copies since objects of the same class can access each other’s private fields.

Learn more about Prototype

Usage of the pattern in C#

Complexity:

Popularity:

Usage examples: The Prototype pattern is available in C# out of the box with a Cloneable interface.

Identification: The prototype can be easily recognized by a clone() or copy() methods, etc.

Conceptual Example

This example illustrates the structure of the Prototype 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;

namespace RefactoringGuru.DesignPatterns.Prototype.Conceptual
{
    public class Person
    {
        public int Age;
        public DateTime BirthDate;
        public string Name;
        public IdInfo IdInfo;

        public Person ShallowCopy()
        {
            return (Person) this.MemberwiseClone();
        }

        public Person DeepCopy()
        {
            Person clone = (Person) this.MemberwiseClone();
            clone.IdInfo = new IdInfo(IdInfo.IdNumber);
            clone.Name = String.Copy(Name);
            return clone;
        }
    }

    public class IdInfo
    {
        public int IdNumber;

        public IdInfo(int idNumber)
        {
            this.IdNumber = idNumber;
        }
    }

    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Person p1 = new Person();
            p1.Age = 42;
            p1.BirthDate = Convert.ToDateTime("1977-01-01");
            p1.Name = "Jack Daniels";
            p1.IdInfo = new IdInfo(666);

            // Perform a shallow copy of p1 and assign it to p2.
            Person p2 = p1.ShallowCopy();
            // Make a deep copy of p1 and assign it to p3.
            Person p3 = p1.DeepCopy();

            // Display values of p1, p2 and p3.
            Console.WriteLine("Original values of p1, p2, p3:");
            Console.WriteLine("   p1 instance values: ");
            DisplayValues(p1);
            Console.WriteLine("   p2 instance values:");
            DisplayValues(p2);
            Console.WriteLine("   p3 instance values:");
            DisplayValues(p3);

            // Change the value of p1 properties and display the values of p1,
            // p2 and p3.
            p1.Age = 32;
            p1.BirthDate = Convert.ToDateTime("1900-01-01");
            p1.Name = "Frank";
            p1.IdInfo.IdNumber = 7878;
            Console.WriteLine("\nValues of p1, p2 and p3 after changes to p1:");
            Console.WriteLine("   p1 instance values: ");
            DisplayValues(p1);
            Console.WriteLine("   p2 instance values (reference values have changed):");
            DisplayValues(p2);
            Console.WriteLine("   p3 instance values (everything was kept the same):");
            DisplayValues(p3);
        }

        public static void DisplayValues(Person p)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("      Name: {0:s}, Age: {1:d}, BirthDate: {2:MM/dd/yy}",
                p.Name, p.Age, p.BirthDate);
            Console.WriteLine("      ID#: {0:d}", p.IdInfo.IdNumber);
        }
    }
}

Output.txt: Execution result

Original values of p1, p2, p3:
   p1 instance values: 
      Name: Jack Daniels, Age: 42, BirthDate: 01/01/77
      ID#: 666
   p2 instance values:
      Name: Jack Daniels, Age: 42, BirthDate: 01/01/77
      ID#: 666
   p3 instance values:
      Name: Jack Daniels, Age: 42, BirthDate: 01/01/77
      ID#: 666

Values of p1, p2 and p3 after changes to p1:
   p1 instance values: 
      Name: Frank, Age: 32, BirthDate: 01/01/00
      ID#: 7878
   p2 instance values (reference values have changed):
      Name: Jack Daniels, Age: 42, BirthDate: 01/01/77
      ID#: 7878
   p3 instance values (everything was kept the same):
      Name: Jack Daniels, Age: 42, BirthDate: 01/01/77
      ID#: 666

Prototype in Other Languages

Prototype in Java Prototype in PHP Prototype in Python Prototype in Ruby Prototype in Swift Prototype in TypeScript