Prototype Design Pattern in Ruby

1. Definition

The Prototype Design Pattern involves creating objects based on a template of an existing object through cloning. Instead of creating a new instance of an object from scratch, a copy of an existing instance is made.

2. Problem Statement

Consider scenarios where object creation is a costly affair in terms of resources, time, or both. In such situations, creating multiple instances from scratch is inefficient. Yet, you may need multiple objects that are similar but not identical.

3. Solution

The Prototype pattern helps by allowing objects to be cloned, giving a faster alternative to new object instantiation. A prototype object is created, and new objects are cloned from this prototype when needed, possibly with some modifications.

4. Real-World Use Cases

1. In video games, to clone characters, weapons, or items.

2. In document editors, clone shapes or styles for consistency.

3. Creating unique instances of data from a default configuration.

5. Implementation Steps

1. Create a prototype interface with a 'clone' method.

2. Concrete classes will implement this interface to offer a cloning capability.

3. Use the 'clone' method to produce new objects rather than using the 'new' keyword.

6. Implementation in Ruby

# Step 1: Prototype Interface
module Prototype
  def clone
    raise NotImplementedError
# Step 2: Concrete class implementing the Prototype interface
class ConcretePrototype
  include Prototype
  attr_accessor :data
  def initialize(data)
    @data = data
  # Implementing the clone method
  def clone
    # In Ruby, dup creates a shallow copy of an object.
    copy = self.dup
    # Perform any other deep copy or modifications if needed
  def show_data
# Client Code
prototype ="Original Data")
copy = prototype.clone = "Cloned Data"


Original Data
Cloned Data


1. The Prototype module provides an interface with a 'clone' method which every concrete prototype should implement.

2. The ConcretePrototype class includes this module and implements the 'clone' method. Here, we used Ruby's dup method which provides a shallow copy of an object.

3. In the client code, an object is cloned from the prototype, and its data is modified to show that the cloned object is a different instance.

7. When to use?

Use the Prototype Pattern when:

1. Classes to instantiate are specified at runtime.

2. Objects can be cloned into different configurations without involving subclassing.

3. Instantiation of a class is more costly than cloning an existing instance.