The decorator pattern, also known as the wrapper pattern, is when you wrap an object within another object, thus providing a means of enhancing or overriding certain behavior. The wrapper object will delegate any incoming method calls to the original object, unless it defines a new method to enhance or replace the original object’s behavior. By using the decorator pattern, you can dynamically create as many decorated objects as you want, each enhancing the behavior of the original object in a unique way — and all without mutating the original object. In this manner, you can effectively add, remove, or extend behaviors at runtime.
Aerosol paint (also called spray paint) is a type of paint that comes in a sealed pressurized container and is released in a fine spray mist when depressing a valve button. A form of spray painting, aerosol paint leaves a smooth, evenly coated surface. Standard sized cans are portable, inexpensive and easy to store. Aerosol primer can be applied directly to bare metal and many plastics.
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Now, assume one also desires the ability to add borders to windows. Again, the original Window class has no support. The ScrollingWindow subclass now poses a problem, because it has effectively created a new kind of window. If one wishes to add border support to many but not all windows, one must create subclasses WindowWithBorder and ScrollingWindowWithBorder etc. This problem gets worse with every new feature or window subtype to be added. For the decorator solution, we simply create a new BorderedWindowDecorator—at runtime, we can decorate existing windows with the ScrollingWindowDecorator or the BorderedWindowDecorator or both, as we see fit. Notice that if the functionality needs to be added to all Windows, you could modify the base class and that will do. On the other hand, sometimes (e.g., using external frameworks) it is not possible, legal, or convenient to modify the base class.
In a previous article, we discussed how to use the strategy pattern to dynamically change an object’s behavior at runtime. Classically, polymorphism in object-oriented design is static and achieved through inheritance; however, with the strategy pattern you can accomplish the same goal dynamically. Indeed, this is an excellent way to handle situations when you need an object to exhibit different behavior at different times. However, it’s worth noting that the strategy pattern requires mutation of the object you’re working with. By using the strategy pattern, you are necessarily changing the algorithm that an object uses for a given behavior. In some situations, it may be preferable not to mutate a given object. Or more likely, you won’t even have the option of mutating an object because it may come from a codebase over which you have no control (such as an external library). Such cases are relatively common; however, it’s still possible to enhance an immutable object’s behavior. One effective means to do so is with the decorator pattern.
In Python 2.4a3 (to be released this Thursday), everything remains as currently in CVS. For 2.4b1, I will consider a change of @ to some other single character, even though I think that @ has the advantage of being the same character used by a similar feature in Java. It's been argued that it's not quite the same, since @ in Java is used for attributes that don't change semantics. But Python's dynamic nature makes that its syntactic elements never mean quite the same thing as similar constructs in other languages, and there is definitely significant overlap. Regarding the impact on 3rd party tools: IPython's author doesn't think there's going to be much impact; Leo's author has said that Leo will survive (although it will cause him and his users some transitional pain). I actually expect that picking a character that's already used elsewhere in Python's syntax might be harder for external tools to adapt to, since parsing will have to be more subtle in that case. But I'm frankly undecided, so there's some wiggle room here. I don't want to consider further syntactic alternatives at this point: the buck has to stop at some point, everyone has had their say, and the show must go on.
The first example of modernism in painting was impressionism, a school of painting that initially focused on work done, not in studios, but outdoors (en plein air). Impressionist paintings demonstrated that human beings do not see objects, but instead see light itself. The school gathered adherents despite internal divisions among its leading practitioners, and became increasingly influential. Initially rejected from the most important commercial show of the time, the government-sponsored Paris Salon, the Impressionists organized yearly group exhibitions in commercial venues during the 1870s and 1880s, timing them to coincide with the official Salon. A significant event of 1863 was the Salon des Refusés, created by Emperor Napoleon III to display all of the paintings rejected by the Paris Salon.
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