State Design Pattern in Kotlin

1. Definition

The State Design Pattern allows an object to change its behavior when its internal state changes. Instead of using conditionals to determine behavior, the pattern encapsulates state-dependent behaviors within separate state classes. This promotes loose coupling and high cohesion.

2. Problem Statement

Imagine developing a music player application. The player has several states: playing, paused, and stopped. If we use conditional statements (e.g., if-else or switch) to handle the player's behavior for each state, the code can quickly become cumbersome, hard to maintain, and not easily extensible.

3. Solution

The State pattern suggests that we create separate state classes for each state of the player, encapsulating the behavior pertinent to that state. The context (music player) will have a reference to a state object that represents its current state, allowing for easy transitions between states.

4. Real-World Use Cases

1. Managing the phases of a multi-step authentication process.

2. Game characters with different abilities based on their health or power levels.

3. Tools in graphic editors that change behavior based on selected modes (draw, erase, fill).

5. Implementation Steps

1. Define a State interface specifying methods representing actions.

2. Implement concrete state classes for each distinct state.

3. The context class holds a reference to the current state and delegates actions to it.

6. Implementation in Kotlin

// Step 1: State Interface
interface State {
    fun play()
    fun pause()
    fun stop()
// Step 2: Concrete States
class PlayingState : State {
    override fun play() = println("Already playing.")
    override fun pause() = println("Pausing music.")
    override fun stop() = println("Stopping music.")
class PausedState : State {
    override fun play() = println("Resuming music.")
    override fun pause() = println("Already paused.")
    override fun stop() = println("Stopping music from paused state.")
class StoppedState : State {
    override fun play() = println("Starting music from beginning.")
    override fun pause() = println("Can't pause. Music is already stopped.")
    override fun stop() = println("Already stopped.")
// Step 3: Context - MusicPlayer
class MusicPlayer {
    var state: State = StoppedState()
    fun play() =
    fun pause() = state.pause()
    fun stop() = state.stop()
// Testing the implementation
fun main() {
    val player = MusicPlayer()


Starting music from beginning.
Pausing music.
Resuming music.
Stopping music.


1. We start with the State interface, which dictates the methods (actions) our concrete state classes will have to implement.

2. The concrete state classes (PlayingState, PausedState, and StoppedState) encapsulate the behavior specific to each state.

3. The MusicPlayer (context) maintains a reference to a state object, delegating its actions to the current state.

4. In our test scenario, the music player transitions from the stopped state to playing, then to paused, back to playing, and finally stops.

7. When to use?

Use the State Pattern when:

1. An object's behavior depends on its state, and its behavior must change at runtime based on its state.

2. Code has numerous conditional statements over an object's state, making it complex and hard to maintain.

3. You want to keep state-specific logic decoupled from the main context class.