Steven E. Newton
Crater Moon Development
When a business object has setters for attributes that are interdependent, one way of ensuring that those attributes maintain the required relationship is to use check constraints on the setters. But there is a better way, using Whole Value
An example first. Suppose the attributes are startDate and endDate must always be before or the same as endDate. A naive implementation, the kind that usually comes to mind for developers used to breaking things up into itty-bitty pices for primitives and database columns, is to have the two separate properties on the larger object. The setters for each attribute each check the new values against the constraint on the other value, to ensure the business object’s state is always sane.
A better way to handle this is to code the properties in a way that eliminates the possibility of the business object ever being in an inconsistent state. An immutable Value Object can be the solution.
A Duration object can encapsulate the startDate and endDate into a single object with no setters, only a constructor that takes two arguments, for the start and end dates, and does the check in the constructor, throwing an exception if the required relationship is violated by the supplied values. The business object that formerly had both attributes instead has the single attribute with stters and getters for an immutable Duration.