How to work with the Interpreter design pattern

Take advantage of the Interpreter design pattern to represent your application’s business rules in terms of domain specific languages

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Design patterns are proven solutions to common software design problems. They provide the correct and tested solution for what is often encountered while designing software applications. The interpreter pattern is such a solution.

The Interpreter design pattern defined

The Interpreter design pattern lets you define your application's business rules as classes. You can take advantage of this design pattern to build domain-specific languages. The Interpreter design pattern is a behavioral pattern, specifying how the instances of classes should communicate; behavioral design patterns deal with object collaboration and delegation of responsibilities among objects.

The Interpreter design pattern is similar to the Composite design pattern. The Composite design pattern works like an Interpreter design pattern when the resulting hierarchical structure represents grammar: You have an interpreter that accepts a set of rules and interprets them. In essence, this pattern evaluates language grammar and expressions.

Typical use cases for the Interpreter design pattern

The Interpreter design pattern isn’t as popular as other patterns are, and it is often overlooked due to its complexity. However, it is a powerful design pattern with some distinct use cases. A typical use case of the Interpreter design pattern is to represent a simple grammar as an abstract syntax tree like structure. Another use case is to produce various types of output of your application's data; that is, generating reports—maybe in different formats. You can also take advantage of the Interpreter design pattern to implement SQL parsers and symbol processing engines.

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