Strategy pattern

The Strategy pattern allows you to select the type of algorithm that implements a common interface, right while the application is running. This pattern refers to the behavioral design patterns.

Sun Tzu

Suppose we are developing a music player with embedded codecs. The built-in codecs imply reading music formats without using external sources of the operating system (codecs), the player should be able to read tracks of different formats and play them. VLC player has such capabilities, it supports various types of video and audio formats, it runs on popular and not very operating systems.

Imagine what a naive player implementation looks like:

var player: MusicPlayer?

func play(filePath: String) {
    let extension = filePath.pathExtension

    if extension == "mp3" {
        playMp3(filePath)
    }
    else if extension == "ogg" {
        playOgg(filePath)
    }
}

func playMp3(_ filePath: String) {
    player = MpegPlayer()
    player?.playMp3(filePath)
}

func playOgg(_ filePath: String) {
    player = VorbisPlayer()
    player?.playMusic(filePath)
}

Next, we add several formats, which leads to the need to write additional methods. Plus, the player must support plug-in libraries, with new audio formats that will appear later. There is a need to switch the music playback algorithm, the Strategy pattern is used to solve this problem.

Let’s create a common protocol MusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm, write the implementation of the protocol in two classes MpegMusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm and VorbisMusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm, to play mp3 and ogg files with-but. Create a class MusicPlayer, which will contain a reference for the algorithm that needs to be switched, then by the file extension we implement codec type switching:

import Foundation

class MusicPlayer {
    var playerCodecAlgorithm: MusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm?
    
	func play(_ filePath: String) {
            playerCodecAlgorithm?.play(filePath)
	}
}

protocol MusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm {
    func play(_ filePath: String)
}

class MpegMusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm: MusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm {
	func play(_ filePath: String) {
		debugPrint("mpeg codec - play")
	}
}

class VorbisMusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm: MusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm {
	func play(_ filePath: String) {
		debugPrint("vorbis codec - play")	
	}
}

func play(fileAtPath path: String) {
	guard let url = URL(string: path) else { return }
	let fileExtension = url.pathExtension
		
	let musicPlayer = MusicPlayer()
	var playerCodecAlgorithm: MusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm? 
		
	if fileExtension == "mp3" {
                playerCodecAlgorithm = MpegMusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm()
	}
	else if fileExtension == "ogg" {
                playerCodecAlgorithm = VorbisMusicPlayerCodecAlgorithm()
	}
		
	musicPlayer.playerCodecAlgorithm = playerCodecAlgorithm
	musicPlayer.playerCodecAlgorithm?.play(path)
}

play(fileAtPath: "Djentuggah.mp3")
play(fileAtPath: "Procrastinallica.ogg")

The above example also shows the simplest example of a factory (switching the codec type from the file extension) It is important to note that the Strategy strategy does not create objects, it only describes how to create a common interface for switching the family of algorithms.

Documentation

https://refactoring.guru/en/design-patterns/strategy

Source code

https://gitlab.com/demensdeum/patterns/

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