Interpreter Design Pattern in JavaScript

1. Definition

The Interpreter Design Pattern provides a way to evaluate language grammar or expressions for particular languages. It involves implementing an expression interface which tells to interpret a particular context. This pattern involves the use of small, specialized classes to represent each possible grammar rule.

2. Problem Statement

Imagine you have a language with simple mathematical expressions. You want a way to interpret these expressions and compute their value without resorting to hard-coded, inflexible parsing strategies.

3. Solution

The solution lies in representing each rule of the grammar with a separate class. These classes will interpret the expressions for the given rule.

4. Real-World Use Cases

1. SQL parsers interpret SQL queries to produce understandable results.

2. JavaScript engines interpret JavaScript code.

3. Config parsers that interpret config files and produce configuration objects.

5. Implementation Steps

1. Define an abstract Expression class with an interpret() method.

2. Create terminal and non-terminal expressions that implement the Expression class.

3. Use these expressions to interpret the context.

6. Implementation in JavaScript

// Abstract Expression
class Expression {
    interpret(context) {}
// Terminal Expression
class NumberExpression extends Expression {
    constructor(value) {
        this.value = value;
    interpret() {
        return this.value;
// Non-Terminal Expression
class AddExpression extends Expression {
    constructor(leftExpression, rightExpression) {
        this.leftExpression = leftExpression;
        this.rightExpression = rightExpression;
    interpret() {
        return this.leftExpression.interpret() + this.rightExpression.interpret();
// Client Code
const five = new NumberExpression(5);
const two = new NumberExpression(2);
const add = new AddExpression(five, two);




1. We defined an abstract Expression class that has an interpret method.

2. NumberExpression is a terminal expression that simply returns its value when interpreted.

3. AddExpression is a non-terminal expression. It's composed of two other expressions and returns the sum of their interpretations.

4. In the client code, we create two numbers (5 and 2) and then create an add expression to sum them.

5. The result of the interpretation of the add expression is 7.

7. When to use?

The Interpreter Pattern is best used when:

1. The grammar of the language is simple. For complex grammars, the pattern can become cumbersome.

2. Efficiency isn't a critical concern. Trees can be costly to traverse.

3. You want a grammatical representation that's easy to understand and change.