Can you explain Observer Pattern?

 Posted by ArticlesMaint on 9/25/2009 | Category: Design Pattern & Practices Interview questions | Views: 3844

Observer pattern helps us to communicate between parent class and its associated or dependent classes. There are two important concepts in observer pattern ‘Subject’ and ‘Observers’. The subject sends notifications while observers receive notifications if they are registered with the subject. Below figure ‘Subject and observers’ shows how the application (subject) sends notification to all observers (email, event log and SMS). You can map this example to publisher and subscriber model. The publisher is the application and subscribers are email, event log and sms.

Figure: - Subject and Observers

Let’s try to code the same example which we have defined in the previous section. First let’s have a look at the subscribers / notification classes. Figure ‘Subscriber classes’ shows the same in a pictorial format. So we have a common interface for all subscribers i.e. ‘INotification’ which has a ‘notify’ method. This interface ‘INotification’ is implemented by all concrete notification classes. All concrete notification classes define their own notification methodology. For the current scenario we have just displayed a print saying the particular notification is executed.

Figure: - Subscriber classes

As said previously there are two sections in an observer pattern one is the observer/subscriber which we have covered in the previous section and second is the publisher or the subject.

The publisher has a collection of arraylist which will have all subscribers added who are interested in receiving the notifications. Using ‘addNotification’ and ‘removeNotification’ we can add and remove the subscribers from the arraylist. ‘NotifyAll’ method loops through all the subscribers and send the notification.

Figure: - Publisher/Subject classes

Now that we have an idea about the publisher and subscriber classes lets code the client and see observer in action. Below is a code for observer client snippet. So first we create the object of the notifier which has collection of subscriber objects. We add all the subscribers who are needed to be notified in the collection.
Now if the customer code length is above 10 characters then tell notify all the subscribers about the same.

Figure: - Observer client code

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