Peter Heller is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook, The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
The delegate injection point must be an injected field, initializer method parameter or bean constructor method parameter. If an injection point that is not an injected field, initializer method parameter or bean constructor method parameter is annotated @Delegate, the container automatically detects the problem and treats it as a definition error.
When we instantiate a SimpleMessage and then pass it to the various decorators, we now get new behavior. Moreover, since both the concrete component and the concrete decorators all implement / descend from IMessage, they are interchangeable as far as the program is concerned, meaning that we can loop over them together. Further, rather than having to create a new ExcitedAndQuizzicalMessageDecorator class, we were able to achieve the same effect by double wrapping a SimpleMessage object (first in an ExcitedMessageDecorator and then in a QuizzicalMessageDecorator). Finally, note that despite having been passed into various decorators, our simpleMsg object remains unchanged at the end of the program.
None of these alternatives gained much traction. The alternatives which involve square brackets only serve to make it obvious that the decorator construct is not a list. They do nothing to make parsing any easier. The '<...>' alternative presents parsing problems because '<' and '>' already parse as un-paired. They present a further parsing ambiguity because a right angle bracket might be a greater than symbol instead of a closer for the decorators.
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.