In object-oriented programming, the decorator pattern is a design pattern that allows behavior to be added to an individual object, dynamically, without affecting the behavior of other objects from the same class. The decorator pattern is often useful for adhering to the Single Responsibility Principle, as it allows functionality to be divided between classes with unique areas of concern. The decorator pattern is structurally nearly identical to the chain of responsibility pattern, the difference being that in a chain of responsibility, exactly one of the classes handles the request, while for the decorator, all classes handle the request.
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Concrete Decorator: Here we have two concrete decorators, ExcitedMessageDecorator and QuizzicalMessageDecorator, each of which descends from the abstract MessageDecorator class. However, these decorators do have special behavior in that they override the GetMessage and PrintMessage behaviors and enhance them by calling the base version from MessageDecorator (which in turn delegates to the relevant IMessage object) and then appending exclamations.
There have been a number of objections raised to this location -- the primary one is that it's the first real Python case where a line of code has an effect on a following line. The syntax available in 2.4a3 requires one decorator per line (in a2, multiple decorators could be specified on the same line), and the final decision for 2.4 final stayed one decorator per line.
Modifying classes in this fashion is also possible, though the benefits are not as immediately apparent. Almost certainly, anything which could be done with class decorators could be done using metaclasses, but using metaclasses is sufficiently obscure that there is some attraction to having an easier way to make simple modifications to classes. For Python 2.4, only function/method decorators are being added.
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