Tag Archives: Builder Design Pattern

Design Patterns – Builder Pattern – Part V

Continuing the series of posts about design patterns, we will talk about builder pattern in this post. Builder pattern is of type creational design pattern. One of the major uses of Builder pattern is when there are too many constructor parameters to handle.

When to use Builder Pattern?

Builder pattern enforces a step by step approach to create a complex object. The object can not be used till it’s a finished product. It helps to encapsulate complex creation logic. One of the examples from real time is file creation with a format. If you are create a file about certain format (example xml, csv), you can builder pattern to create simple logical approach to creating file.

How to use Builder Pattern?

Lately working on a project to build an EDI file to transfer between customer, I have to create a file of format 834. So 834 file format varies according to different health insurance carrier. This file format contains headers, records and trailers. Headers indicate different paradigm about the file and the customer and who is sending it. To show example of builder pattern, I will use one of the headers of this file format and how it can be created using builder pattern.

One of the headers is called Transactional Group Header. This header looks like below in a real file

ST*834*5432853*005010X220A1~

First field “ST” indicates that it is a transactional group. All the records for one customer can lie between ST and SE. 834 is a transaction code for file format. Since this is 834 file format, code is 834. 5432853 is a unique transaction control number, this can be anything between 4 digits in length to maximum 9 digits in length. 005010X220A1 is a implementation reference number.

Our implementation of the class with have fields for each of these field from header, a private constructor and a static builder class. This is shown below:


public class TransactionalHeader implements Serializable {
private static final long serialVersionUID = 7517644545656169045L;

private String st;

private String transactioncode;

private String transactioncontrolnumber;

private String implementationreference;

public static class Builder {

private String st;

private String transactioncode;

private String transactioncontrolnumber;

private String implementationreference;

public Builder st(String st) {

this.st = st; return this;

}

public Builder transactioncode(String transactioncode) {

this.transactioncode = transactioncode; return this;

}

public Builder transactioncontrolnumber(String transactioncontrolnumber) {                            this.transactioncontrolnumber = transactioncontrolnumber; return this;

}

public Builder implementationreference(String implementationreference) {                                this.implementationreference = implementationreference; return this;

}

public TransactionalHeader build() {

return new TransactionalHeader(this);

}

}

private TransactionalHeader(Builder builder) {

this.st = builder.st;

this.transactioncode = builder.transactioncode;

this.transactioncontrolnumber = builder.transactioncontrolnumber;

this.implementationreference = builder.implementationreference;

}

public String toString() {

String result = "";

StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer();

sb.append(st);

sb.append(FileUtil.FIELD_SPLITTER);

sb.append(transactioncode);

sb.append(FileUtil.FIELD_SPLITTER);

sb.append(transactioncontrolnumber);

sb.append(FileUtil.FIELD_SPLITTER);

sb.append(implementationreference);

sb.append("~");

result = sb.toString();

return result;

}

}

This was our builder class. Let’s create a demo class that will use this builder class to build an object that will give us transactional header in file. This will look like below:


public String getTransactionalHeader() {

String result = "";

TransactionalHeader th = new TransactionalHeader.Builder()

.st("ST")

.transactioncode(TRANSACTION_IDENTIFIER_CODE)

.transactioncontrolnumber(FileUtil.getTransactionControlNumber())

.implementationreference("005010X220A1").build();

result = th.toString();

return result;

}

In this way, builder design pattern can be used to construct complex objects. One of the easy way to identify when to use this design pattern is when you have more than 4 or more parameters in your constructor.

Code for this post is available to download here.