For an example of a Value Object> see Money (488) NET Implementation in Java

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For an example of a Value Object> see Money (488) NET Implementation
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NET has a first-class treatment of Value Object In C# an object is marked as a Value Object by declaring it as a struct instead as a class The environment then treats it with value semantics
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Treat something as a Value Object when you're basing equality on something other than an identity It's worth considering this for any small object that's easy to create Name Collisions
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I've seen the term Value Object used for this pattern for quite some time Sadly recently I've seen the J2EE community [Alur et al] use the term "value object" to mean Data Transfer Object (401), which has caused a storm in the teacup of the patterns community This is just one of those clashes over names that happen all the time in this business Recently [Alur et al] decided to use the term transfer object instead
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I continue to use Value Object in this way in this text If nothing else it allows me to be consistent with my previous writings!
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Represents a monetary value
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A large proportion of the computers in this world manipulate money, so it's always puzzled me that money isn't actually a first class data type in any mainstream programming language The lack of a type causes problems, the most obvious surrounding currencies If all your calculations are done in a single currency, this isn't a huge problem, but once you involve multiple currencies you want to avoid adding your dollars to your yen without taking the currency differences into account The more subtle problem is with rounding Monetary calculations are often rounded to the smallest currency unit When you do this it's easy to lose pennies (or your local equivalent) because of rounding errors
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The good thing about object-oriented programming is that you can fix these problems by creating a Money class that handles them Of course, it's still surprising that none of the mainstream base class libraries actually do this
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The basic idea is to have a Money class with fields for the numeric amount and the currency You can store the amount as either an integral type or a fixed decimal type The decimal type is easier for some manipulations, the integral for others You should absolutely avoid any kind of floating point type, as that will introduce the kind of rounding problems that Money is intended to avoid Most of the time people want monetary values rounded to the smallest complete unit, such as cents in the dollar However, there are times when fractional units are needed It's important to make it clear what kind of money you're working with, especially in an application that uses both kinds It makes sense to have different types for the two cases as they behave quite differently under arithmetic
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Money is a Value Object (486), so it should have its equality and hash code operations overridden to be based on the currency and amount
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Money needs arithmetic operations so that you can use money objects as easily as you use numbers But arithmetic operations for money have some important differences to money operations in numbers Most obviously, any addition or subtraction needs to be currency aware so you can react if you try to add together monies of different currencies The simplest, and most common, response is to treat the adding together of disparate currencies as an error In some more sophisticated situations you can use Ward Cunningham's idea of a money bag This is an object that contains monies of multiple currencies together in one object This object can then participate in calculations just like any money object It can also be valued into a currency
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Multiplication and division end up being more complicated due to rounding problems When you multiply money you do it with a scalar If you want to add 5% tax to a bill you multiply by 005, so you see multiplication by regular numeric types
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The awkward complication comes with rounding, particularly when allocating money between different places Here's Matt Foemmel's simple conundrum Suppose I have a business rule that says that I have to allocate the whole amount of a sum of money to two accounts: 70% to one and 30% to another I have 5 cents to allocate If I do the math I end up with 35 cents and 15 cents Whichever way I round these I get into trouble If I do the usual rounding to nearest then 15 becomes 2 and 35 becomes 4 So I end up gaining a penny Rounding down gives me 4 cents and rounding up gives me 6 cents There's no general rounding scheme I can apply to both that will avoid losing or gaining a penny
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