An Extensible Compiler for Implementing Software Design Patterns as Concise Language Constructs

Published in International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, 2021

Taher A. Ghaleb, Khalid Aljasser, Musab A. Alturki

Design patterns are generic solutions to common programming problems. Design patterns represent a typical example of design reuse. However, implementing design patterns can lead to several problems, such as programming overhead and traceability. Existing research introduced several approaches to alleviate the implementation issues of design patterns. Nevertheless, existing approaches pose different implementation restrictions and require programmers to be aware of how design patterns should be implemented. Such approaches make the source code more prone to faults and defects. In addition, existing design pattern implementation approaches limit programmers to apply specific scenarios of design patterns (e.g. class-level), while other approaches require scattering implementation code snippets throughout the program. Such restrictions negatively impact understanding, tracing, or reusing design patterns. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to support the implementation of software design patterns as an extensible Java compiler. Our approach allows developers to use concise, easy-to-use language constructs to apply design patterns in their code. In addition, our approach allows the application of design patterns in different scenarios. We illustrate our approach using three commonly used design patterns, namely Singleton, Observer and Decorator. We show, through illustrative examples, how our design pattern constructs can significantly simplify implementing design patterns in a flexible, reusable and traceable manner. Moreover, our design pattern constructs allow class-level and instance-level implementations of design patterns.