Factory Method vs Abstract Factory

For this week’s assignment, exercise #2, I had an opportunity to refactor a poor design of Duck Simulator using the factory pattern. It was nice that I could approach this design pattern step by step and learned its definition by understanding why I had to create an abstract method or why I had to create a factory class. Moreover, after skimming through a long chapter, Chapter 4. Baking with OO Goodness: The Factory Pattern, although there are many important definitions in this chapter, I believe that there are two concepts that I shouldn’t miss, the factory method and the abstract factory. Both are new tools that I need to know what they are and how to apply them to a design.

Furthermore, for better understanding, I also wondered what was the difference between factory method and abstract factory. Although, the textbook has a comparison between those two concepts, but for myself, it was long and difficult to follow till the end. So, I did a few searches to see if there were any good resources that I could take a quick look at for my question. I found a good blog, called Factory Method vs Abstract Factory. In this blog, the writer makes some comparisons to show the difference between factory method and abstract factory. Through the blog and the textbook, I know that both concepts are used to encapsulate object creation, and they apply the dependency inversion principle by allowing coders to decouple code from concrete classes . On the other hand, the two concepts differ in many ways. First, the number of products produced is different. The factory method is used to create only one product while the abstract factory is used to create families of related products. Second, for the factory method, the object creation is decided by subclasses (depending on inheritance), whereas the abstract factory has a separate class to creates a family of products, then its object can be passed to client class for using (object composition). Next, it is the level of abstraction. Since the abstract factory are at higher level in abstraction, we can use factory methods to create products in factories.

For myself, this is a resource worth referring to because its concise, well-organized content helps readers easily distinguish the difference between the two concepts. Thanks to this resource, I got a better understanding of the factory pattern, especially the abstract factory and factory method, which is really helpful for my diagram design latter.

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