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Template Method

Template Method in C++

Template Method is a behavioral design pattern that allows you to defines a skeleton of an algorithm in a base class and let subclasses override the steps without changing the overall algorithm’s structure.

Complexity:

Popularity:

Usage examples: The Template Method pattern is quite common in C++ frameworks. Developers often use it to provide framework users with a simple means of extending standard functionality using inheritance.

Identification: Template Method can be recognized if you see a method in base class that calls a bunch of other methods that are either abstract or empty.

Conceptual Example

This example illustrates the structure of the Template Method 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.cc: Conceptual example

/**
 * The Abstract Class defines a template method that contains a skeleton of some
 * algorithm, composed of calls to (usually) abstract primitive operations.
 *
 * Concrete subclasses should implement these operations, but leave the template
 * method itself intact.
 */
class AbstractClass {
  /**
   * The template method defines the skeleton of an algorithm.
   */
 public:
  void TemplateMethod() const {
    this->BaseOperation1();
    this->RequiredOperations1();
    this->BaseOperation2();
    this->Hook1();
    this->RequiredOperation2();
    this->BaseOperation3();
    this->Hook2();
  }
  /**
   * These operations already have implementations.
   */
 protected:
  void BaseOperation1() const {
    std::cout << "AbstractClass says: I am doing the bulk of the work\n";
  }
  void BaseOperation2() const {
    std::cout << "AbstractClass says: But I let subclasses override some operations\n";
  }
  void BaseOperation3() const {
    std::cout << "AbstractClass says: But I am doing the bulk of the work anyway\n";
  }
  /**
   * These operations have to be implemented in subclasses.
   */
  virtual void RequiredOperations1() const = 0;
  virtual void RequiredOperation2() const = 0;
  /**
   * These are "hooks." Subclasses may override them, but it's not mandatory
   * since the hooks already have default (but empty) implementation. Hooks
   * provide additional extension points in some crucial places of the
   * algorithm.
   */
  virtual void Hook1() const {}
  virtual void Hook2() const {}
};
/**
 * Concrete classes have to implement all abstract operations of the base class.
 * They can also override some operations with a default implementation.
 */
class ConcreteClass1 : public AbstractClass {
 protected:
  void RequiredOperations1() const override {
    std::cout << "ConcreteClass1 says: Implemented Operation1\n";
  }
  void RequiredOperation2() const override {
    std::cout << "ConcreteClass1 says: Implemented Operation2\n";
  }
};
/**
 * Usually, concrete classes override only a fraction of base class' operations.
 */
class ConcreteClass2 : public AbstractClass {
 protected:
  void RequiredOperations1() const override {
    std::cout << "ConcreteClass2 says: Implemented Operation1\n";
  }
  void RequiredOperation2() const override {
    std::cout << "ConcreteClass2 says: Implemented Operation2\n";
  }
  void Hook1() const override {
    std::cout << "ConcreteClass2 says: Overridden Hook1\n";
  }
};
/**
 * The client code calls the template method to execute the algorithm. Client
 * code does not have to know the concrete class of an object it works with, as
 * long as it works with objects through the interface of their base class.
 */
void ClientCode(AbstractClass *class_) {
  // ...
  class_->TemplateMethod();
  // ...
}

int main() {
  std::cout << "Same client code can work with different subclasses:\n";
  ConcreteClass1 *concreteClass1 = new ConcreteClass1;
  ClientCode(concreteClass1);
  std::cout << "\n";
  std::cout << "Same client code can work with different subclasses:\n";
  ConcreteClass2 *concreteClass2 = new ConcreteClass2;
  ClientCode(concreteClass2);
  delete concreteClass1;
  delete concreteClass2;
  return 0;
}

Output.txt: Execution result

Same client code can work with different subclasses:
AbstractClass says: I am doing the bulk of the work
ConcreteClass1 says: Implemented Operation1
AbstractClass says: But I let subclasses override some operations
ConcreteClass1 says: Implemented Operation2
AbstractClass says: But I am doing the bulk of the work anyway

Same client code can work with different subclasses:
AbstractClass says: I am doing the bulk of the work
ConcreteClass2 says: Implemented Operation1
AbstractClass says: But I let subclasses override some operations
ConcreteClass2 says: Overridden Hook1
ConcreteClass2 says: Implemented Operation2
AbstractClass says: But I am doing the bulk of the work anyway

Template Method in Other Languages

Template Method in C# Template Method in Go Template Method in Java Template Method in PHP Template Method in Python Template Method in Ruby Template Method in Rust Template Method in Swift Template Method in TypeScript