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Vivek Kurmi
Vivek Kurmi

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Prototype Design Pattern

The Prototype Design Pattern is a creational design pattern that allows you to create new objects by copying an existing object, known as the prototype. This pattern is useful when creating an object is more expensive than copying an existing one. Let's go through a real-time example in Java to illustrate the Prototype Design Pattern.

Example: Cloneable Employees

Let's say we have an application where we want to create instances of Employee objects. The Employee class might have various attributes like name, id, designation, etc.

Step 1: Define the Employee class

public class Employee implements Cloneable {
    private String name;
    private int id;
    private String designation;

    public Employee(String name, int id, String designation) { = name; = id;
        this.designation = designation;

    // Getter methods...

    protected Object clone() throws CloneNotSupportedException {
        return super.clone();
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Here, the Employee class implements the Cloneable interface, and it overrides the clone() method. The clone() method is used to create a copy of the object.

Step 2: Create a EmployeeRegistry to manage prototypes

import java.util.HashMap;
import java.util.Map;

public class EmployeeRegistry {
    private Map<String, Employee> employeePrototypes;

    public EmployeeRegistry() {
        employeePrototypes = new HashMap<>();

        // Initialize prototype employees
        Employee softwareEngineer = new Employee("John Doe", 1, "Software Engineer");
        Employee manager = new Employee("Jane Smith", 2, "Manager");

        employeePrototypes.put("softwareEngineer", softwareEngineer);
        employeePrototypes.put("manager", manager);

    public Employee getEmployeeClone(String type) throws CloneNotSupportedException {
        return (Employee) employeePrototypes.get(type).clone();
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In this example, EmployeeRegistry acts as a manager for the prototype Employee objects. It initializes prototype employees and provides a method getEmployeeClone(type) to create a clone of the specified employee type.

Step 3: Using the Prototype Pattern

Now, let's use the prototype pattern to create employee instances:

public class PrototypeExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws CloneNotSupportedException {
        EmployeeRegistry registry = new EmployeeRegistry();

        // Create a clone of a Software Engineer
        Employee softwareEngineerClone = registry.getEmployeeClone("softwareEngineer");
        System.out.println("Software Engineer Clone: " + softwareEngineerClone);

        // Create a clone of a Manager
        Employee managerClone = registry.getEmployeeClone("manager");
        System.out.println("Manager Clone: " + managerClone);
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Software Engineer Clone: Employee{name='John Doe', id=1, designation='Software Engineer'}
Manager Clone: Employee{name='Jane Smith', id=2, designation='Manager'}
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In this example:

  • The EmployeeRegistry manages prototype instances of Employee.
  • The Employee class implements the Cloneable interface, allowing it to be cloned.
  • The getEmployeeClone(type) method in EmployeeRegistry creates a clone of the specified employee type.

This pattern is useful when object creation is more complex, and it's more efficient to copy an existing object rather than creating a new one from scratch. It helps avoid the overhead of repeated object creation logic.

The Prototype Design Pattern comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are the pros and cons of using the Prototype Design Pattern in your software design:


  1. Reduced Object Creation Overhead: One of the primary advantages of the Prototype Pattern is that it reduces the overhead of creating objects from scratch. Instead of invoking constructors and performing costly initialization repeatedly, you simply clone an existing object, which can be faster.

  2. Improved Performance: Cloning an object can be more efficient than creating it from scratch, especially if the object creation process is complex or resource-intensive. This can lead to improved application performance.

  3. Flexibility: The Prototype Pattern allows you to create new objects by copying existing ones. This flexibility is particularly useful when objects have numerous possible configurations or states.

  4. Isolation of Complex Object Creation Logic: It isolates the complex initialization and object creation logic within the prototype objects. This can lead to cleaner, more maintainable code by separating object construction from the rest of the code.

  5. Dynamic Object Creation: You can create new objects at runtime by cloning prototype objects based on certain conditions or user input, allowing for dynamic object creation.


  1. Cloning Complexity: Cloning objects may not always be straightforward, especially if the objects being cloned have complex internal structures or reference other objects. Properly implementing the clone() method can be challenging.

  2. Shallow vs. Deep Cloning: The default clone() method in Java performs a shallow copy, which means that only the object itself is cloned, not the objects it references. If your prototype objects contain references to other objects, you may need to implement deep cloning, which can be complex.

  3. Not Always Suitable: The Prototype Pattern is most suitable for objects that share a common interface but have different configurations or states. It may not be the best choice for objects with significantly different behaviors.

  4. Overhead for Storing Prototypes: In applications with a large number of prototype objects, storing and managing these prototypes can introduce additional memory overhead.

  5. Not Suitable for All Use Cases: The Prototype Pattern is not the best choice for every scenario. It is most effective when you have a need to create multiple instances of similar objects with slight variations.

In summary, the Prototype Design Pattern is a valuable tool for improving object creation efficiency and flexibility, but it may introduce complexity and require careful implementation, especially when dealing with object references and complex internal structures. You should carefully consider its applicability in your specific software design context.

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