Tutorial :Not quite a Singleton


I'm using ActionScript3 to develop a Data Access Layer for an application another developer is working on in my team. One of the objects, lets call it User is expensive to construct. Each user has a unique ID number so I can tell if they've been created before or not, and all User objects are stored in an array somewhere else.

I want to be able to restrict it so that there can be only once instance of a User per ID. I.E. each user has to be unique, and requests for an already constructed User should receive the pre-constructed User.

If I was using a sane, well-designed language I would simple make it a private constructor and force all requests for the object to go through a function that cached things. But flash doesn't allow private constructors (only public and internal, neither of which will work). How can I achieve this?


If you want to do the private construtor then you can achieve this like this:

package somepackage {    public class User {      public function User(SingletonEnforcer s):void {        if (s == null)          throw new Exception("Sorry mate!!!");      }      public static GetUserWithId(id:String):User {        //user with this id exists then return it.        //create a new user, initialize it, cache it and return      }    }  }  class SingletonEnforcer {    //this is only visible to this class (User).  }


You could use a dictionary to store user ids mapped to User instances. This way you could check to see if there was already an existing user before creating a new one. Here is some pseudo code:

public class UserLookup()  {      var _lookup:Dictionary = new Dictionary();        function getUser( id:int ):User       {          if( _lookup[id] ) {              return _lookup[id]          } else {              var user = new User( id );              _lookup[ id ] = user;              return user;          }      }  }  

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