oop - What is Inversion of Control?

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Top 5 Answer for oop - What is Inversion of Control?

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94

The Inversion-of-Control (IoC) pattern, is about providing any kind of callback (which controls reaction), instead of acting ourself directly (in other words, inversion and/or redirecting control to external handler/controller). The Dependency-Injection (DI) pattern is a more specific version of IoC pattern, and is all about removing dependencies from your code.

Every DI implementation can be considered IoC, but one should not call it IoC, because implementing Dependency-Injection is harder than callback (Don't lower your product's worth by using general term "IoC" instead).

For DI example, say your application has a text-editor component, and you want to provide spell checking. Your standard code would look something like this:

public class TextEditor {      private SpellChecker checker;      public TextEditor() {         this.checker = new SpellChecker();     } } 

What we've done here creates a dependency between the TextEditor and the SpellChecker. In an IoC scenario we would instead do something like this:

public class TextEditor {      private IocSpellChecker checker;      public TextEditor(IocSpellChecker checker) {         this.checker = checker;     } } 

In the first code example we are instantiating SpellChecker (this.checker = new SpellChecker();), which means the TextEditor class directly depends on the SpellChecker class.

In the second code example we are creating an abstraction by having the SpellChecker dependency class in TextEditor's constructor signature (not initializing dependency in class). This allows us to call the dependency then pass it to the TextEditor class like so:

SpellChecker sc = new SpellChecker(); // dependency TextEditor textEditor = new TextEditor(sc); 

Now the client creating the TextEditor class has control over which SpellChecker implementation to use because we're injecting the dependency into the TextEditor signature.

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82

Inversion of Control is what you get when your program callbacks, e.g. like a gui program.

For example, in an old school menu, you might have:

print "enter your name" read name print "enter your address" read address etc... store in database 

thereby controlling the flow of user interaction.

In a GUI program or somesuch, instead we say:

when the user types in field a, store it in NAME when the user types in field b, store it in ADDRESS when the user clicks the save button, call StoreInDatabase 

So now control is inverted... instead of the computer accepting user input in a fixed order, the user controls the order in which the data is entered, and when the data is saved in the database.

Basically, anything with an event loop, callbacks, or execute triggers falls into this category.

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78

What is Inversion of Control?

If you follow these simple two steps, you have done inversion of control:

  1. Separate what-to-do part from when-to-do part.
  2. Ensure that when part knows as little as possible about what part; and vice versa.

There are several techniques possible for each of these steps based on the technology/language you are using for your implementation.

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The inversion part of the Inversion of Control (IoC) is the confusing thing; because inversion is the relative term. The best way to understand IoC is to forget about that word!

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Examples

  • Event Handling. Event Handlers (what-to-do part) -- Raising Events (when-to-do part)
  • Dependency Injection. Code that constructs a dependency (what-to-do part) -- instantiating and injecting that dependency for the clients when needed, which is usually taken care of by the DI tools such as Dagger (when-to-do-part).
  • Interfaces. Component client (when-to-do part) -- Component Interface implementation (what-to-do part)
  • xUnit fixture. Setup and TearDown (what-to-do part) -- xUnit frameworks calls to Setup at the beginning and TearDown at the end (when-to-do part)
  • Template method design pattern. template method when-to-do part -- primitive subclass implementation what-to-do part
  • DLL container methods in COM. DllMain, DllCanUnload, etc (what-to-do part) -- COM/OS (when-to-do part)
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69

Inversion of Controls is about separating concerns.

Without IoC: You have a laptop computer and you accidentally break the screen. And darn, you find the same model laptop screen is nowhere in the market. So you're stuck.

With IoC: You have a desktop computer and you accidentally break the screen. You find you can just grab almost any desktop monitor from the market, and it works well with your desktop.

Your desktop successfully implements IoC in this case. It accepts a variety type of monitors, while the laptop does not, it needs a specific screen to get fixed.

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57

Inversion of Control, (or IoC), is about getting freedom (You get married, you lost freedom and you are being controlled. You divorced, you have just implemented Inversion of Control. That's what we called, "decoupled". Good computer system discourages some very close relationship.) more flexibility (The kitchen in your office only serves clean tap water, that is your only choice when you want to drink. Your boss implemented Inversion of Control by setting up a new coffee machine. Now you get the flexibility of choosing either tap water or coffee.) and less dependency (Your partner has a job, you don't have a job, you financially depend on your partner, so you are controlled. You find a job, you have implemented Inversion of Control. Good computer system encourages in-dependency.)

When you use a desktop computer, you have slaved (or say, controlled). You have to sit before a screen and look at it. Using the keyboard to type and using the mouse to navigate. And a badly written software can slave you even more. If you replace your desktop with a laptop, then you somewhat inverted control. You can easily take it and move around. So now you can control where you are with your computer, instead of your computer controlling it.

By implementing Inversion of Control, a software/object consumer gets more controls/options over the software/objects, instead of being controlled or having fewer options.

With the above ideas in mind. We still miss a key part of IoC. In the scenario of IoC, the software/object consumer is a sophisticated framework. That means the code you created is not called by yourself. Now let's explain why this way works better for a web application.

Suppose your code is a group of workers. They need to build a car. These workers need a place and tools (a software framework) to build the car. A traditional software framework will be like a garage with many tools. So the workers need to make a plan themselves and use the tools to build the car. Building a car is not an easy business, it will be really hard for the workers to plan and cooperate properly. A modern software framework will be like a modern car factory with all the facilities and managers in place. The workers do not have to make any plan, the managers (part of the framework, they are the smartest people and made the most sophisticated plan) will help coordinate so that the workers know when to do their job (framework calls your code). The workers just need to be flexible enough to use any tools the managers give to them (by using Dependency Injection).

Although the workers give the control of managing the project on the top level to the managers (the framework). But it is good to have some professionals help out. This is the concept of IoC truly come from.

Modern Web applications with an MVC architecture depends on the framework to do URL Routing and put Controllers in place for the framework to call.

Dependency Injection and Inversion of Control are related. Dependency Injection is at the micro level and Inversion of Control is at the macro level. You have to eat every bite (implement DI) in order to finish a meal (implement IoC).

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