factory method : Java Glossary


factory method
A factory is a sort of generic constructor that might produce any of a number of different kinds of objects. You have to implement it as a static method, rather than a constructor.
In Javadoc, click USE to discover factory methods that will produce objects of the current class. Often there is no public constructor and you have to dig around to find the corresponding factory method in some other class. It is not formally linked to the class it is the factory for.
You can implement a factory in several ways: If you want to give others the ability to add new types to the factory, the static method pretty well has to fob the work off on a factory delegate object or objects that can be changed. You can can’t directly override a static factory method and others would ignore an overridden instance factory method.

You can also use factories to build complicated objects of only a single class that must be built-in stages, when there are too many parameters to handle conveniently with a constructor. You want to avoid allowing any malformed or partly-formed objects loose out into the universe.

Sample Factory Pattern Code

Here is the code for two simple-minded factories, that illustrate some of the things factories are commonly used for:

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