Software Design Patterns in Action: Real-World Examples

Software Design Patterns in Action: Real-World Examples

You may have heard of design patterns, but do you know what they are and how they can benefit you as a developer or engineer? Design patterns are solutions to commonly occurring problems in software design that have been developed through the collective knowledge and experience of the programming community. They provide a proven approach to tackling specific challenges and help you speed up your development process, communicate more effectively with other developers, and follow best practices to produce high-quality code. By using design patterns, you can save yourself time and energy and avoid the frustration of trying to solve problems from scratch.

There are three main types of design patterns: creational, structural, and behavioral. In this article, we'll explore real-world examples of each type to give you a better understanding of how design patterns can be applied in practice.

Types of Design Patterns

Design patterns are broadly classified into three categories: creational, structural, and behavioral. Each type addresses a different aspect of software design and provides a solution to a common problem.

Creational Patterns

Creational patterns deal with object creation. They try to create objects in a manner suitable to the situation. The basic form of object creation could result in design problems or added complexity to the design. Creational design patterns solve this problem by controlling the object creation and providing a flexible and efficient way to create objects.

Some common examples of creational patterns are:

  • Singleton Pattern: Ensures that only one instance of a class is created, providing a global access point to that instance.
  • Factory Pattern: Creates objects without specifying the exact class to create.
  • Prototype Pattern: Creates new objects by copying existing objects.

Structural Patterns

Structural patterns deal with object composition, creating relationships between objects to form larger structures. These patterns focus on creating relationships between objects to increase the flexibility and reuse of the code.

Some common examples of structural patterns are:

  • Adapter Pattern: Allows incompatible classes to work together by converting the interface of one class into another.
  • Bridge Pattern: Decouples an abstraction from its implementation, allowing the two to vary independently.
  • Composite Pattern: Composes objects into tree structures to represent part-whole hierarchies.

Behavioral Patterns

Behavioral patterns focus on communication between objects and how they operate together. These patterns use inheritance to provide new behavior between objects. By using behavioral design patterns, you can create object interactions that are more dynamic and adaptable, allowing your software to respond to changing requirements and conditions.

Some common examples of behavioral patterns are:

  • Observer Pattern: Defines a one-to-many dependency between objects, such that when one object changes state, all its dependents are notified and updated automatically.
  • Strategy Pattern: Allows you to choose different implementations of the same functionality at runtime, without overloading methods or writing duplicate code.
  • Template Method Pattern: Defines the skeleton of an algorithm as an abstract class, allowing subclasses to provide specific implementation details.

By understanding and applying these different types of design patterns in your work, you can become a more skilled and effective developer and solve complex problems with ease.

Singleton Pattern (Creational)

The singleton pattern is a creational design pattern that ensures that a class has only one instance and provides a global access point to it. This is useful when you only want one instance of a particular object, such as a database connection or a configuration object.

For example, consider a web application that needs to connect to a database. Instead of creating a new connection for each request (which can be resource intensive), you can use the singleton pattern to ensure that only one connection instance is shared among all requests. This can improve performance and reduce the burden on the database server.

Here is an example of how the singleton pattern can be implemented in Java:

public class Singleton {
  private static Singleton instance;

  private Singleton() {}

  public static synchronized Singleton getInstance() {
    if (instance == null) {
      instance = new Singleton();
    return instance;

In this example, the Singleton class has a private constructor, which prevents other classes from instantiating it directly. Instead, they must use the getInstance() method, which returns the single instance of the Singleton class. The getInstance() method uses a synchronized block to ensure that only one instance is created, even if multiple threads try to access it simultaneously.

To use the Singleton class, you would simply call Singleton.getInstance() and store the returned object in a variable. This ensures that you are always working with the same instance of the Singleton class, regardless of how many times you call getInstance().

Adapter Pattern (Structural)

The adapter pattern is a structural design pattern that allows you to use an incompatible interface by wrapping it in an adapter class. This is useful when you have a component that you want to use, but its interface is incompatible with your design.

For example, consider a legacy system that provides data through a proprietary API. You want to use this data in a new application, but the API is not compatible with your application's architecture. You can use the adapter pattern to create an adapter class that translates the API's interface into a form that your application can use.

Here is an example of how the adapter pattern can be implemented in Python:

class LegacySystem:
    def get_data(self):
        return {
            "value1": "legacy data",
            "value2": "more legacy data",

class Adapter:
    def __init__(self):
        self.legacy_system = LegacySystem()

    def get_data(self):
        data = self.legacy_system.get_data()
        return {
            "data1": data["value1"],
            "data2": data["value2"],

adapter = Adapter()
print(adapter.get_data())  # { "data1": "legacy data", "data2": "more legacy data" }

In this example, the LegacySystem class represents the component with the incompatible interface. It has a single method called getData() that returns an object with two properties, value1 and value2.

The Adapter class wraps the LegacySystem object and provides a compatible interface through the getData() method. It translates the value1 and value2 properties into the data1 and data2 properties, which are more suitable for use in the new application.

By using the adapter pattern, you can reuse the LegacySystem component without having to change its interface or modify your application's architecture. This can save you time and effort and allow you to take advantage of existing resources.

Observer Pattern (Behavioral)

The observer pattern is a behavioral design pattern that allows you to define a one-to-many dependency between objects. When one object changes state, all its dependents are notified and updated automatically. This is useful for implementing event-based systems and for keeping multiple objects in sync with each other.

For example, consider a chat application with multiple clients connected to a server. When a client sends a message, the server needs to notify all the other clients to update their chat logs. You can use the observer pattern to define the relationship between the server and the clients and to automate the notification process.

Here is an example of how the observer pattern can be implemented in JavaScript:

class Subject {
  constructor() {
    this.observers = [];

  addObserver(observer) {

  removeObserver(observer) {
    this.observers = this.observers.filter(o => o !== observer);

  notifyObservers() {
    this.observers.forEach(observer => observer.update());

class Observer {
  constructor(subject) {
    this.subject = subject;

  update() {
    console.log('Observer update');

const subject = new Subject();
const observer1 = new Observer(subject);
const observer2 = new Observer(subject);

// Output: "Observer update"
// Output: "Observer update"

In this example, the Subject class represents the object being observed, and the Observer class represents the object doing the observing. The Subject class maintains a list of observers and provides methods for adding and removing observers, and notifying them when its state changes.

The Observer class has a reference to the Subject object and registers itself as an observer when it is created. It also has an update() method that is called when the Subject's state changes.

When the Subject's notifyObservers() method is called, it loops through its list of observers and calls their update() methods. In this way, the Observer objects are kept in sync with the Subject object.


In conclusion, design patterns are a valuable tool for any software engineer or developer looking to improve their code and become more efficient. By leveraging the collective knowledge and experience of the programming community, you can save time and energy and avoid common pitfalls. Design patterns can help you speed up your development process, communicate more effectively with other developers, and follow best practices to produce high-quality code.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of design patterns and how they can be applied in real-world examples. Whether you're just starting out in your programming career or an experienced developer, design patterns are an invaluable resource that can help you write better code and easily solve complex problems. So keep learning and keep coding!