In programming you will commonly see abstraction layers. Say, for instance, you wanted to have a program to take some arbitrary data format and load it into your data. We’ll call it product feeds (just because some people like relevant examples). So, you want to pull in product data from various different web sites and vendors to list some products on your site. Now if you have ever done this task before then you’re already thinking “jeez, what a pain in the ass it is to get everybody to use the same format!” If you’ve done this task before then you’ve probably already dabbled in this type of abstraction. In Perl – my go-to language (since I arbitrarily prefer it) – this usually results in dynamically loading a “driver” class based on the data format which is likely vendor-specific. This makes it easy/easier for you to allow each data source to have its own format while using them all in the same way.
If you were to pick a Design Pattern for this, you would do well to choose a Factory pattern. In Perl, since you have so much dynamic leeway, you don’t need to go with a pure Factory pattern here, but what you end up with I think is most certainly in keeping with a factory pattern.
For this Gist, I will demonstrate three common ways to get from knowing which class you need to getting that class:
- Use and re-bless
- Eval of use and instantiation