Helper (Helper)

Architectural Role

This pattern is unrestricted; it is used within any architectural layer.

Behavior DefinED

A PED Helper contains supporting logic. A typical force promoting use of this pattern is a desire to aggregate reusable functions; thus eliminating duplicate code within invoking classes. An additional force may simply be the avoidance of code bloat within a single invoking class or enhanced design cohesion.

Helper classes have an additional role within frameworks. They enable direct invocation of a function that might otherwise be wrapped with an API intended for use via inheritance, composition or annotation.  That is, this pattern facilitates framework composability.

PED recommends:

  • using an Enum for worker-thread safety
  • ensuring that any Helper  cache (state) is worker-thread safe

Classes containing cache are specifically addressed by Joshua Bloch (Effective Java: 2nd Edition): 

Unless you have a compelling reason to do otherwise, use ConcurrentHashMap in preference to Collections.synchronizedMap or Hashtable.”

The clever use of static and instance methods can enhance public API clarity for a software engineer using code completion within an IDE. A static method is immediately visible with Content Assist…

JstPortableJndiUtilHelper.bind(JNDI_BEANMANAGER, beanManager);

… whereas an instance method can be labelled “INTERNAL” to communicate limited public use: 

JndiContextCacheHelper.INTERNAL.bind(ldapName, new Object());

When using a Helper consider these suffix variants for expressive readability:

  • …UtilHelper [Stateless]
  • …CacheHelper [Stateful]

Structural Characteristics




 Extend Base Class N  
 No-arg Constructor N/A  
 CDI Scoping N  
 Instance State N 1. 
 Static Public Methods (enum) Y  
 Fluent Methods N  
 Delegate to Helper Y  
 Worker-thread Safe Y 2.
  1. By convention state may be coded as static to express intent.
  2. Ensure that cached objects are atomic.
Source Code Example