Factories have been a key pattern in building applications, its fascinatingly simple, effective and to the point. When starting to learn a design oriented approach to applications or API, I would always recommend a factory pattern as one of the key starting notes of highlight in your design.

So today I am talking about the Abstract Factory pattern. Its not an “abstract” class or object that you call a pattern. But its a Factory of facotries and that is what exactly makes it so much wordingly abstract. Having “abstract” classes is there but just some other side of the coin.

When should I use an Abstract Factory:

  • Independence of how products are created, composed or represented
  • You need enforcable constraints for the products used as a group
  • You need to reveal only the interfaces of products and not thier implementation as part of a bigger picture.

So lets begin with the fun.

This is how I plan to implement it: Has A:

  • Product has a Specification
  • Factory has a Product
  • FactoryManager has FactoryConstants
  • FactoryManager has ComputerFactory

Is A:

  • BFactory is a ComputerFactory
  • AFactory is a ComputerFactory

Not shown.

  • ProductA is a Product
  • ProductB is a Product

Diagram Alt text

Creating a simple factory that returns products.

''' public abstract class ComputerFactory { public abstract String getName(); public abstract Product[] getProducts(); public abstract Product getProduct(int ProductID); } '''

Implementation of the ComputerFactory

''' public class AFactory extends ComputerFactory {

    public String getName(){
        return "A";

	public Product[] getProducts(){
        return null;

	public Product getProduct(int productID){
	case 1:
        return new ProductA();

	case 2:
        return new ProductB();

        throw new IllegalArgumentException("Sorry you hit the wrong factory, we closed down in 1600 BC");


A register base for factories. Refer to the main method for use later in this post.

''' public interface FactoryConstants { public int A = 1;   public int B = 2; } '''

The main Entrant class. the Factory Manager that will give the ComputerFactory resultant. Its assumed to be a Singleton as it registers as a Creator in the system (assumption).

''' public class FactoryManager{ private static FactoryManager factoryManager = null; private FactoryManager(){}   public static FactoryManager getInstance(){    if(factoryManager != null){     return factoryManager;    }    else return factoryManager = new FactoryManager();   }   public ComputerFactory getFactory(int factory) throws IllegalArgumentException{    switch(factory){     case FactoryConstants.A:     return new IBMFactory();     case FactoryConstants.B:     return new SUNFactory();     default:     throw new IllegalArgumentException(“Sorry you hit the wrong factory, we closed down in 1600 BC”);    }    } } '''

A main method to test the AbstractFactory

''' public static void main(String args[]){    System.out.println(FactoryManager.getInstance().getFactory(FactoryConstants.A).getName());    System.out.println(FactoryManager.getInstance().getFactory(FactoryConstants.B).getName());    System.out.println(FactoryManager.getInstance().getFactory(3).getName()); } '''

You can find the complete code listing here