Design patterns Command pattern Command pattern example in Java


wikipedia definition:

Command pattern is a behavioral design pattern in which an object is used to encapsulate all information needed to perform an action or trigger an event at a later time

UML diagram from dofactory:

enter image description here

Basic components and workflow:

  1. Command declares an interface for abstract commands like execute()
  2. Receiver knows how to execute a particular command
  3. Invoker holds ConcreteCommand, which has to be executed
  4. Client creates ConcreteCommand and assign Receiver
  5. ConcreteCommand defines binding between Command and Receiver

In this way, Command pattern decouples Sender (Client) from Receiver through Invoker. Invoker has complete knowledge of which Command to be executed and Command knows which Receiver to be invoked to execute a particular operation.

Code snippet:

interface Command {
    void execute();
class Receiver {
    public void switchOn(){
        System.out.println("Switch on from:"+this.getClass().getSimpleName());
class OnCommand implements Command{
    private Receiver receiver;

    public OnCommand(Receiver receiver){
        this.receiver = receiver;
    public void execute(){
class Invoker {
    private Command command;
    public Invoker(Command command){
        this.command = command;
    public void execute(){

class TV extends Receiver{
    public String toString(){
        return this.getClass().getSimpleName();
class DVDPlayer extends Receiver{
    public String toString(){
        return this.getClass().getSimpleName();

public class CommandDemoEx{
    public static void main(String args[]){
        // On command for TV with same invoker 
        Receiver receiver = new TV();
        Command onCommand = new OnCommand(receiver);
        Invoker invoker = new Invoker(onCommand);
        // On command for DVDPlayer with same invoker 
        receiver = new DVDPlayer();
        onCommand = new OnCommand(receiver);
        invoker = new Invoker(onCommand);


Switch on from:TV
Switch on from:DVDPlayer


In this example,

  1. Command interface defines execute() method.
  2. OnCommand is ConcreteCommand, which implements execute() method.
  3. Receiver is the base class.
  4. TV and DVDPlayer are two types of Receivers, which are passed to ConcreteCommand like OnCommand.
  5. Invoker contains Command. It's the key to de-couple Sender from Receiver.
  6. Invoker receives OnCommand -> which calls Receiver (TV) to execute this command.

By using Invoker, you can switch on TV and DVDPlayer. If you extend this program, you switch off both TV and DVDPlayer too.

Key use cases:

  1. To implement callback mechanism
  2. To implement undo and redo functionality
  3. To Maintain a history of commands