Showing posts with label dependency injection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dependency injection. Show all posts

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Challenge #5: Fixed Gear or 3-speed?

When I first encountered an OO language (Java) there was a tutorial that used bicycles to explain polymorphism. All bikes have some behaviors in common - you pedal them to move forward, you turn one of the two wheels using the handlebars to steer. While there are exceptions - pedal-less bikes for kids, sit down bikes with levers to steer, pedal assist (actually a moped) - the common case serves as great fodder for object oriented programming. With that, let's start the next challenge!

You don't have to use Java to take on this challenge, there are many many object oriented languages and many that have support for classes. Use whatever you would like to use - learn a new lang maybe!

Given the following types of bikes:

3-speed cruiser, id=1, type=MultiSpeedBicycle
10-speed mountain bike, id=2, type=MultiSpeedBicycle
BMX - fixed gear, id=3, type=SingleSpeedBicycle

Write a method that takes in a bike id and returns the bike. The method signature should have the base/parent type as the return type.

Bicycle getBicycle(int id);

Bicycle is an abstract type.

You can either make a static method on Bicycle if your language allows it, or make a BicycleFactory to house the method.

The basic bike (the abstract Bicycle type) has 3 methods - pedal(int pressure), applyBrakes(int pressure), steer(float angle).

A bike with gears EXTENDEDS the basic bike with two additional methods: shiftUp(), shiftDown().

*If you'd like, you can add some additional methods like getCurrentGear(), getMaxGear()...or you could return a bool from shiftUp and shiftDown to say if it changed or not...or return the resultant gear of the action. The more the internals of the object are protected the better, the consumer should not know what gear the bike is in, only that they can shift gears up or down.

Whatever you use to call getBicycle will eventually want to check what type that bicycle far as it knows it only has the basic bicycle methods. Until it does know, shifting isn't an option.

Let's say we have a UI for this bicycle. Actually we would want a different UI for each type since users will interact differently with each type. The shiftable bicycles will have some way to shift gears in the UI - maybe a certain keypress or tapping the screen a certain about pressing shift levers?

Fetch the proper UI for the type inside a method that has this signature...

BikeView getView(Bicycle bike); 

Inside that method, interrogate the type of bicycle and return the view for that type. Put that method into a BicycleViewFactory - do you think the constructor for it takes in all the views or maybe something that knows how to load all the views? Just stub out something for now - create the various view classes and have the method return the right one for the type of bicycle. Maybe you really only need two types of bicycles, maybe you want three - that's entirely up to you and far you want to go with the details.

So that's the challenge...write up those classes and put it altogether with some way to exercise (pun intended) the methods and verify that the right View is returned in the end. The View doesn't actually need to have anything in it, neither do the methods on Bicycle...stubs will work just fine. The lesson here is in how getBicycle and getView are implemented.

Oh! I almost forgot! There's one more thing you can do - you'll want something to load the bike and return the proper views...a BicycleController! First it needs to load up an input view to receive the bike id (maybe list them all - listBicycles() and have the user select one if you'd like). Once an id is sent to getBicycle, that method should call your _bicycleFactory.getBicycle() method to load up the bike. Pass that instance to the ViewFactory to get the view...if you got back a BicycleView return it to the user - else maybe return an ErrorView...the BicycleController should take in both the BicycleFactory and the BicycleViewFactory and hold internal references to those...they should both be set up and ready to use before they are passed into the controller.

Feel free to implement the UI in any way you see fit - heck try going for multiple UIs! Everything should be re-usable at this point...the only things that should change based on the UI you want to implement are the Views!

Let's take that a bit further... Consider different UIs. Maybe the user has certain preferences. Or maybe it's a different view per screen type. Perhaps there's a VR view with actual pedals and steering wheel as input...a stationary bike! Got it!? Those would have different Views for different user interfaces.

Alright, have fun! Happy Coding!

This challenge is all about polymorphism, factory pattern, MVC pattern, encapsulation, Dependency Injection.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What is Dependency Injection and Why Does it Matter?

While DI may be ubiquitous among most developers, it recently occurred to me that there are entire batches of newly minted grads entering the industry who, by and large, would not be familiar with the concept. Don't worry, you aren't the only ones! Although this topic has been bludgeoned to death by bloggers, I somehow feel the need to bubble it up here as well - sorry, it's a fun topic for me and I strongly feel that it's necessary to understand the principle. So if you are reading this and thinking - here we go again! Just give it a glance. But if you're like "what's this cool thing about?" or maybe still foggy on the principle read on and see if this doesn't clear things up.

I like to think about Dependency Injection/Inversion (DI) like this: A consumer should not be responsible for producing a resource that it consumes, the execution context should do that.

For a concrete example, consider the need to check whether or not a user is currently enrolled for mentoring. I'm going to be abstract in terms of implementation in order to make things a bit more language and platform agnostic (aside from the example being a web UI)...

We have some web site for managing mentor opportunities. Users who are mentors can navigate to the mentor page if they are mentors. If not a mentor, they cannot go to that page. Also, if they are not a mentor, we want to see if they have enough XP to serve as a mentor - if they do, encourage them to sign up for mentoring.

There are a few scenarios at play here so let's iterate those with specific examples:


| user   | XP    | is mentor |
| Tyler | 564   | yes           |
| Julie  | 8274 | no            |
| Jeff   |  128   | no            |

Scenario: User is a mentor.

Given user "Tyler" is logged in
When the navigation is shown
Then the user should see the mentors link.

Given user "Tyler" is logged in

When "Tyler" goes to the Mentors page
Then the Mentors page should be shown.

Scenario: User is not a mentor and is not qualified to mentor.

Given user "Jeff " is logged in
When the navigation is shown
Then the user should not see the mentors link.

Given user "Jeff " is logged in

When"Jeff " goes to the Mentors page
Then the user should be redirected to the home page.

Scenario: User is not a mentor and is qualified to mentor.

Given user "Julie" is logged in
When the navigation is shown
Then the user should see the mentors link, but it should be disabled.

Given user "Julie" is logged in

When"Julie" goes to the Mentors page
Then the user should be redirected to sign up for mentoring.

Given user "Julie" is logged in
When messages are displayed
And the user has not accepted the offer to become a mentor
Then an invite to become a mentor should be included in the messages.

Scenario: User becomes a mentor.

Given user "Julie" is logged in
When the navigation is shown
Then the user should see the mentors link.

Given user "Julie" is logged in

When "Julie" goes to the Mentors page
Then the Mentors page should be shown.

That's a lot of description, but it's worth noting the various scenarios in this example. But now back to focusing on the DI part...

So we have a module (note: I'm using "module" to express a class or function or whatever the unit is called in whatever language you use) for each component of the website -  the navigation bar, the mentor page, the mentor signup page. Those modules each need information about the user - is the user a mentor and can they become a mentor. Let's make a User module - one that can be passed into each web module and which can answer those questions. . Let's see how that would look:

        isMentor() : boolean
        isQualifiedForMentor() : boolean
        becomeMentor() : boolean

        getLinks(user) : links



The User module would be passed to the web modules by the request context (usually in the web framework) - the same thing that initializes the given web module.

So, something in the web request process will authenticate the user, load the user data, and pass the user details to the web page module as a User module. That User will be used to answer questions for each module that depends on it.

Notice what we are not going to do here - we are NOT going to call the database from within authorizeUser(), getLinks(), or signup()...those are details those modules simply should not care about! What they care about is whether or not the user is a mentor or is qualified to be one. Even the Signup page doesn't care about HOW to sign up the user, it just needs to direct something else to do the actual signup.

A level deeper...

The User itself could have some dependencies. Let's say the User needs to send a message to some signup processor - perhaps to a message queue so that the signup processor can pick off the queue and process at it's own pace (so the user won't have to wait for processing to complete).

Let's say at first, it handles the signup right there in the web process. Now let's say the site scales massively and running the signup process within the web processes impacts all users of the site due to the additional load on the web servers - we would want to offload that process. When we use DI, we can change the way the User handles the signup without changing the consumer (the User module).

    internals/private members/curried functions:
    public function:
        becomeMentor() : boolean
             calls _mentorSignup -> signup(user_id) or signupForMentoring(user_id)

Whatever happens when a user signs up is passed into the user module by the module that constructs the entire web request handling process (or whatever consumes the User for that matter).

The MentorSignup dependency (the one User is depending on) can either handle the signup itself OR pass off the signup to some other process that runs asynchronously so that the current process can continue execution without delay. It can be changed without touching the User module or any module that consumes User (theoretically).

A goal in good system design is to produce product that can be changed at a minimal cost - because software is soft (malleable, changeable).

In the case of changing the MentorSignup module, it's an ideal situation to be able to change the implementation without changing the consumers. However, there is one problem - if the MentorSignup module is consumed in a way that the web modules need to be recompiled or the MentorSignup module would need to be replaced in those modules in some other way, then we haven't achieved the ultimate goal. We are coupled architecturally.

Instead, we could have some communication between the web process and the signup process using a common interchange protocol such as HTTP and a mechanism to tell the signup process that a specific user would like to sign up to become a mentor. That's getting in a bit deeper than DI so I'll back off a little...

So here's what we have now: web modules, a User, a MentorSignup module, and something to build it all up and pass those dependencies in (MentorSignup into User, User into web modules).

We can do some interesting things with that - we can create some fake User code that gives us pre-defined answers so that we can build and test the web modules without depending on all the details of how a User is signed up, how user data is stored and retrieved, etc. We've decoupled the web modules from the dependency on the user data.

How else could we do it? Let's say we started out with the user data in a db and coded everything into the web modules directly:

        lookupUserLinks ... open a db connection, run query, map results, close connection, use results

        authorizeUser(user) ... open db connection, run query, map results, close connection, use results

        authorizeUser(user) ... open db connection, run query, map results, close connection, use results
        signup(user) ... open db connection, excute email...send email...close db connection...close different db connection....execute another command...close different db connection...etc

For one thing, we have a lot more room for errors...then duplicating errors. Another, our web modules would be difficult to understand - what does all this db code have to do with redirecting a user??? Ok you let's pull that out an put it into a User module, call up the user module to run the code...

        lookupUserLinks ... create User module...use User module to query (get user)...use results

        authorizeUser(user) ... create User module...use User module to query (get user)...use results

        authorizeUser(user) ... create User module...use User module to query (get user)...use results
        signup(user) ... create User module...use User module to query...use results...create Email module...use Email module to create and send email

At least the "goo" is centralized and has some re-usability - we no longer have a copy and paste scenario. But now we're still coupled to the specific User module that the functions know about directly! So we can't change those without changing the web modules - we can't do cool things like swap the User module on the fly or in test scenarios!

Now we get into programming to abstractions...we've already abstracted the details somewhat, but we've got this wicked coupling to only one specific implementation. So let's level that up and program to an abstraction...

For the purpose of building the web module, we don't care about the details of how to get the user, we don't even care that the user was got at all! What we really care about is that we have something to tell us certain things about the user and something that will sign the user up for mentoring. That's the abstraction we care about. We'll get into the details of implementation later in the development process - regardless of what those are, this thing should still work as described above in those Scenarios.

An important note on abstractions - they can leak! While we may only care logically that the user is a mentor, we also care that finding out does not take ages...if it did, that would be a leak in the abstraction! We really want to find out almost immediately when that block of consuming code runs - therefore we may want to load up all the user data BEFORE the web page is shown to the user. And of course we know this needs to be done quickly as well so we'll have to consider that in the implementation of the User module.

Now that we've gotten this far and (hopefullly) you can see how DI and many other fundamentals (programming to abstractions) are important to producing good software, let's take a look at one of the primary benefits of having done so...testing.

Now that we've designed the system in a way that depends on abstractions whose implementations are injected, we can swap out the implementation. For each of the defined scenarios described waaay above in this post, we can create a User that gives the pre-defined responses and exercise the code without depending on complicated - one-time only, db interactive - test setups.

We can have a setup for the first Scenario similar to:

MentorUser : User
    isMentor(): true

NonMentorNotQualifiedUser : User
    isMentor(): false
    isQualifiedForMentor() : false

NonMentorQualifiedUser : User
    isMentor(): false
    isQualifiedForMentor() : true
    becomeMentor(): true

Well, there you have a whole set of subtypes all based on the User with only isMentor()! Of course each has its own's own domain...we could further break those down to become specific dependencies of each web module, but that'll be enough detail for now...

think about the DI principle and other scenarios where you may want to swap some dependency based on context...connected to internet v not connected, testing v production, logging per environment, exception handling per environment, multi-tennant apps...just to name a few.

If you've now come to understand the DI principle then you've gained some valuable XP! Next you'll probably want to exercise the idea...look for something soon that'll help with that (hint:subscribe now to see what happens on Friday)!