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.

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.
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