GRASP Design Principles

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GRASP stands for General Responsibility Assignment Software Patterns. It guides in assigning responsibilities to collaborating objects.

9 GRASP patterns

  1. Creator
  2. Information Expert
  3. Low Coupling
  4. Controller
  5. High Cohesion
  6. Indirection
  7. Polymorphism
  8. Protected Variations
  9. Pure Fabrication

How to Attache Responsiblity to a Object

  • Responsibility can be accomplished by a single object or a group of object collaboratively accomplish a responsibility.
  • GRASP helps us in deciding which responsibility should be assigned to which object/class.
  • Identify the objects and responsibilities from the problem domain, and also identify how objects interact with each other.
  • Define blue print for those objects e.g. class with methods implementing those responsibilities.

The following are mail design principle

1. Creator

  • Who creates an Object? Or who should create a new instance of some class?
  • Container” object creates “contained” objects.
  • Decide who can be creator based on the objects association and their interaction.

2. Expert

  • provided an object obj, which responsibilities can be assigned to obj?
  • Expert principle says that assign those responsibilities to obj for which obj has the information to fulfill that responsibility.
  • They have all the information needed to perform operations, or in some cases they collaborate with others to fulfill their responsibilities.

3. Low Coupling

  • How strongly the objects are connected to each other?
  • Coupling – object depending on other object.
  • When depended upon element changes, it affects the dependant also.
  • Low Coupling – How can we reduce the impact of change in depended upon elements on dependant elements.
  • Prefer low coupling – assign responsibilities so that coupling remain low.
  • Minimizes the dependency hence making system maintainable, efficient and code reusable
  • Two elements can be coupled, by following if
    • One element has aggregation/composition or association with another element.
    • – One element implements/extends other element.

4. High Cohesion

  • How are the operations of any element are functionally related?
  • Related responsibilities in to one manageable unit.
  • Prefer high cohesion
  • Clearly defines the purpose of the element
  • Benefits
    – Easily understandable and maintainable.
    – Code reuse
    – Low coupling

5. Controller

  • Deals with how to delegate the request from the UI layer objects to domain layer objects.
  • when a request comes from UI layer object, Controller pattern helps us in determining what is that first object that receive the message from the UI layer objects.
  • This object is called controller object which receives request from UI layer object and then controls/coordinates with other object of the domain layer to fulfill the request.
  • It delegates the work to other class and coordinates the overall activity.
  • We can make an object as Controller, if
    • Object represents the overall system (facade controller)
    • Object represent a use case, handling a sequence of operations

(session controller).
Benefits of Controller:
– can reuse this controller class.
– Can use to maintain the state of the use case.
– Can control the sequence of the activities

is Bloated Controllers Good Or Bad

  • Controller class is called bloated, if the class is overloaded with too many responsibilities.
  • follwoing are the solution
    • Add more controllers
    • Controller class also performing many tasks instead of delegating to other class.
    • controller class has to delegate things to others.

6. Polymorphism

  • How to handle related but varying elements based on element type?
  • Polymorphism guides us in deciding which object is responsible for handling those varying elements.
  • Benefits: handling new variations will become easy.

7. Pure Fabrication

  • Fabricated class/ artificial class – assign set of related responsibilities that doesn’t represent any domain object.
  • Provides a highly cohesive set of activities.
  • Behavioral decomposed – implements some algorithm.
  • Examples: Adapter, Strategy
  • Benefits: High cohesion, low coupling and can reuse this class.

8. Indirection

  • How can we avoid a direct coupling between two or more elements.
  • Indirection introduces an intermediate unit to communicate between the other units, so that the other units are not directly coupled.
  • Benefits: low coupling, e.g Facade, Adapter, Obserever.
  • Class Employee provides a level of indirection to other units of the system.

9. Protected Variation

  • How to avoid impact of variations of some elements on the other elements.
  • It provides a well defined interface so that the there will be no affect on other units.
  • Provides flexibility and protection from variations.
  • Provides more structured design. Example: polymorphism, data encapsulation, interfaces


  • Applying UML and Patterns, Third Edition, Craig Larman

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