Clients vs. Wrappers: Selecting the Ideal Pattern for Your Project
May 31, 2023
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Dealing with APIs can sometimes become complex and challenging. The integration of APIs within software systems entail managing a multitude of factors, such as diverse protocols, data formats, authentication mechanisms, and endpoint specifications. These complexities can lead to increased difficulty and potential hurdles. In such situations, developers seek effective solutions to simplify the process and ensure better understanding between the application and the API. This is where patterns come into play, offering a way to alleviate the associated difficulties and make life easier for developers. It is imperative to grasp the distinction between Clients and Wrappers and possess the knowledge to determine the appropriate usage of each pattern. This understanding empowers the dedicated team to build robust and efficient API relationships, ultimately leading to successful integration and optimal utilization.
What is a Client pattern?
The Client pattern involves creating a separate module or component, known as the Client, that serves as an interface to interact with a specific service or library. The Client pattern encapsulates the essential logic pertaining to the process of making HTTP requests, handling authentication mechanisms, and effectively processing API responses.
What is a Wrapper pattern?
The Wrapper pattern is most effective when utilized as a layer that encapsulates complex or non-expressive libraries, particularly within the specific domain of an application. Wrapper proves to be highly valuable when the default responses provided by these libraries are not sufficiently useful in their original form.
Difference Between Client and Wrapper
Client and Wrapper can perform similar functions. Wrapper in some cases can take over Client’s responsibilities. However, the main difference is that the Client works as a simple layer for sending requests when Wrapper usually goes as a complex ‘wrapper’ around the client. The last one is referred to as ‘Facades’ (Object-Oriented design pattern). Wrapper works with libraries with complex interfaces, with inexpressive libraries. Layer by layer, Wrapper creates mechanisms for interaction. But at the same time, a developer is limited to use only Wrapper capabilities.
Client works ‘more directly’ providing the ability to send flexible requests:
The Client pattern can also modify responses in a straight way, but sometimes there are too many variables and lines of code. Then Wrapper joins the game and makes it neat and clean (of course depending on the developer skills).
The Wrapper pattern is useful when the response is needed in a particular format. It is preferred in such situations as differences in library and application interface – simplifying or performing complicated programs easily.
To avoid any misconceptions, these patterns are not mutually exclusive; rather, they can be complementary. Sometimes a Wrapper really requires a Client, for example when an API works only with its own Client.
The Best Choice For Handling API Internal And External Services
Whether it is JSON API or SOAP or GraphQL or any other kind of format or protocol, it is obvious that each project needs its own architectural solution.
On the one hand, sometimes there is no need to complicate things. In terms of clarity and efficiency, the Client is a great and simple decision.
Conversely, some tasks require another good solution that effectively addresses input and output formatting challenges. In such scenarios, leveraging Wrapper can prove advantageous.
Both the aforementioned approaches serve as convenient and even necessary tools for working with APIs.
Key Principles for Achieving Optimal and Reusable Code
How to get more benefits from each pattern and to be sure that your code is optimal and reusable? Answering the question in a short way, the developers should adhere to a few key principles: employing clear and expressive naming, avoiding reinventing the wheel, be cautious not to fall for accidental complexity, and prioritize thorough documentation.
Expressive naming can significantly enhance efficiency for individuals working within a particular scope, as it effectively communicates the purpose and functionality of each component.
Reinventing the wheel and accidental complexity are known antipatterns in software design architecture. It is important to acknowledge that there may already exist well-established Wrappers that effectively serve their intended purpose. In such instances, there is no need to unnecessarily complicate the development process by attempting to implement numerous unrelated methods and reinventing solutions that already exist.
Better not to make this any tougher than it already is; it can be written with simply organized requests separated for certain tasks. In certain cases, it may be feasible to accomplish the desired tasks by structuring requests without the need for employing a “wrapper”.
Never neglect documentation. For a Client, it is an ability to clarify specification of endpoint; for a Wrapper, it is a necessity to understand the underlying simplification principles. For this case, you can use different tools for code documentation, for example Ruby Standard Library includes RDoc for this purpose.
Maximizing the Potential of the Client Pattern
Methods and results should match endpoints. What do endpoints usually look like? For example, if you needed to return the list of products, it would be something like ‘/products’. So, the method might be called ‘products’. A count of arguments should be the same as in the endpoint. By following these practices, developers can ensure their code is both emphatic and appropriate.
Isolated Clients. Client should look like a segregated app and work the same way – it should know nothing about the application it works for.
Separate instances the Client can work with. Using instances for multiple calls is better than using static methods. So, it will be something like DummyJson.new.products then DummyJson.all_products because services might need to perform sessions for multiple calls of the same method (for example, authentication).
Maximizing the Potential of the Wrapper Pattern
Wrapping other libraries. By acting as a “wrapper”, Wrapper simplifies the process of engaging with the underlying library, enabling users to utilize its functionalities in a more intuitive and expressive manner.
Isolate Wrapper from the main app. Wrapper exists to streamline the interfaces of services or libraries, ensuring the delivery of highly usable responses. Similar to maintaining personal boundaries in healthy relationships, it is preferable to establish a sense of personal space within the context of Wrapper. This means refraining from sharing internal details or having knowledge of external processes that are deemed irrelevant to the Wrapper’s functionality. By upholding this principle, Wrapper can maintain their integrity and ensure a robust and dependable performance.
Developers can maximize the potential of their APIs, enable smoother integration, and greater flexibility by following our advice on how to use the Clients and Wrappers patterns. Both patterns greatly facilitate the development process and enhance efficiency. However, it is important to remember that each project has its own unique requirements and may necessitate its own software architecture design solution.
When there is a need for more expressive, complex, better-suited, and well-supported requests, the Wrapper pattern becomes a highly advantageous choice. On the other hand, if developers seek a straightforward connection with APIs, devoid of intricate actions, resembling a streamlined layer, then the Client pattern emerges as the optimal option. By incorporating the Clients and Wrappers patterns strategically and adhering to proper design patterns, developers can successfully navigate the challenges of working with APIs and achieve optimal outcomes for their projects.