Difference between static class and singleton pattern?

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What makes you say that either a singleton or a static method isn't thread-safe? Usually both should be implemented to be thread-safe.

The big difference between a singleton and a bunch of static methods is that singletons can implement interfaces (or derive from useful base classes, although that's less common, in my experience), so you can pass around the singleton as if it were "just another" implementation.

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The true answer is by Jon Skeet, on another forum here.

A singleton allows access to a single created instance - that instance (or rather, a reference to that instance) can be passed as a parameter to other methods, and treated as a normal object.

A static class allows only static methods.

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  1. Singleton objects are stored in Heap, but static objects are stored in stack.
  2. We can clone (if the designer did not disallow it) the singleton object, but we can not clone the static class object .
  3. Singleton classes follow the OOP (object oriented principles), static classes do not.
  4. We can implement an interface with a Singleton class, but a class's static methods (or e.g. a C# static class) cannot.
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The Singleton pattern has several advantages over static classes. First, a singleton can extend classes and implement interfaces, while a static class cannot (it can extend classes, but it does not inherit their instance members). A singleton can be initialized lazily or asynchronously while a static class is generally initialized when it is first loaded, leading to potential class loader issues. However the most important advantage, though, is that singletons can be handled polymorphically without forcing their users to assume that there is only one instance.

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static classes are not for anything that needs state. It is useful for putting a bunch of functions together i.e Math (or Utils in projects). So the class name just gives us a clue where we can find the functions and nothing more.

Singleton is my favorite pattern and I use it to manage something at a single point. It's more flexible than static classes and can maintain it's state. It can implement interfaces, inherit from other classes and allow inheritance.

My rule for choosing between static and singleton:

If there is a bunch of functions that should be kept together, then static is the choice. Anything else which needs single access to some resources, could be implemented as a singleton.

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