State Design Pattern in R

1. Definition

The State Design Pattern allows an object to change its behavior when its internal state changes. It appears as if the object has changed its class. Instead of using conditional statements to dictate behavior, the pattern delegates this behavior to individual state objects.

2. Problem Statement

Suppose you have an object that exhibits different behavior based on its current state. If you use conditional statements (like if-else or switch) to manage these behaviors, the code can become cluttered, hard to maintain, and prone to errors.

3. Solution

The State Pattern proposes that you create individual classes for each possible state of the object. These classes encapsulate the behavior associated with that particular state. The main object delegates its behavior to the associated state object.

4. Real-World Use Cases

1. Managing the states of a traffic light (Red, Yellow, Green).

2. Implementing different user access levels in software (Guest, User, Admin).

3. Tracking order status in e-commerce platforms (Placed, Shipped, Delivered).

5. Implementation Steps

1. Define an interface that encapsulates the behavior for each state.

2. Create concrete classes implementing this interface for each individual state.

3. Implement a context class that maintains a reference to the current state and can transition between states.

6. Implementation in R Programming

# Step 1: State Interface
State <- setRefClass("State",
  methods = list(
    handle = function() {}
# Step 2: Concrete States
RedState <- setRefClass("RedState", contains = "State",
  methods = list(
    handle = function() {
      cat("Red light. Stop!\n")
GreenState <- setRefClass("GreenState", contains = "State",
  methods = list(
    handle = function() {
      cat("Green light. Go!\n")
# Step 3: Context Class
TrafficLight <- setRefClass("TrafficLight",
  fields = list(currentState = "State"),
  methods = list(
    change_state = function(newState) {
      currentState <<- newState
    operate = function() {
# Client Code
light <- TrafficLight$new(currentState = RedState$new())


Red light. Stop!
Green light. Go!


1. The State interface provides a method handle that defines the behavior for all concrete states.

2. RedState and GreenState are concrete implementations of the State pattern, each encapsulating behavior for the respective states.

3. The TrafficLight class (context) has a reference to the current state and delegates its operate method to the current state's handle method.

4. In the client code, we can easily change the behavior of the traffic light by switching its state.

7. When to use?

The State Design Pattern is particularly useful when:

1. An object's behavior is dependent on its state and needs to change at runtime based on this state.

2. Code has many conditional statements that dictate behavior based on object states.

3. States transition frequently, and you want to keep these transitions organized.

This pattern helps in reducing the complexity by encapsulating state-specific behaviors and provides a clearer structure for state management.