Protection Proxy Pattern

It controls the access to a resource based on access rights.

Bates and SierraHead First Design Patterns

Scenario. A proxy controls the access to the real object applying protection to the method calls in a transparent way. The client will invoke methods against the proxy thinking it is the real object.

Java dynamic proxy support. java.lang.reflect package can be used to create a proxy class on the fly. The proxy class implements one or more interfaces and delegates method invocation to a specified class, the invoker handler.

Class diagram. The use of java.lang.reflect package imposes a change in the proxy pattern class diagram. /images/posts/design-patterns/protection_proxy.jpg

Proxy in action. The handler answers to any method call made by the client on the proxy. The proxy implements the same interface as the real object.

##Example A reviewer can only get information about a movie and write comments, he cannot change the title or the actors of the movie.

###Start The MovieReviews class simply creates a of two movie proxies, each proxy manages one movie. Using the static method Proxy.newProxyInstance(Movie.class.getClassLoader(), new Class[]{Movie.class}, forrestGumpHandler); allows the creation of a new proxy on the fly passing:

  • the same class loader of the Movie interface or of the real movie object,
  • the interface the proxy has to expose,
  • the handler every method call has to be delegated to, it also wraps the real object.
import java.lang.reflect.InvocationHandler;
import java.lang.reflect.Proxy;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class MovieReviews {
	public static void main(String[] args) {
		new MovieReviews().run();

	public void run() {
		Reviewer reviewer = new Reviewer(buildMovieList());
		try {
		} catch (Exception e) {
			System.out.println("operation not permitted.");

	public List<Movie> buildMovieList() {
		List<Movie> movieList = new ArrayList<Movie>();

		Movie forrestGumpMovie = new MovieImpl("Forrest Gump", "Tom Hanks", "Gary Sinise", "Robin Wright");
		InvocationHandler forrestGumpHandler = new InvocationHandlerImpl(forrestGumpMovie);
		Movie forrestGumpProxy = (Movie) Proxy.newProxyInstance(Movie.class.getClassLoader(), 
			new Class[]{Movie.class}, forrestGumpHandler);

		Movie djangoMovie = new MovieImpl("Django", "Quentin Tarantino", "Jamie Foxx", "Franco Nero");
		InvocationHandler djangoHandler = new InvocationHandlerImpl(djangoMovie);
		Movie djangoProxy = (Movie) Proxy.newProxyInstance(Movie.class.getClassLoader(), 
			new Class[]{Movie.class}, djangoHandler);


		return movieList;

###The Interface Very simple interface with some getters, setters and the method to comment the movie.

import java.util.List;

public interface Movie {
	String getTitle();
	void setTitle(String title);
	List<String> getActors();
	void setActors(List<String> actors);
	void comment(String comment);

###The Invocation Handler This class will invoke the method, by using reflection, on the real object that is wrapped. The proxy object will create at runtime, so the handler is the only place where the protection logic can be put.

The protection disallow to use any setter method, only getters and comment methods can be invoked.

import java.lang.reflect.InvocationHandler;
import java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;

public class InvocationHandlerImpl implements InvocationHandler {

	private Movie movie;

	public InvocationHandlerImpl(Movie c) {
		movie = c;

	public Object invoke(Object proxy, Method method, Object[] args) throws Throwable {
		try {
			if (method.getName().startsWith("set")) {
				throw new IllegalAccessException();
			} else if (method.getName().equals("comment")) {
				return method.invoke(movie, args);
			} else if (method.getName().startsWith("get")) {
				return method.invoke(movie, args);
		} catch (InvocationTargetException e) {
		return null;

###The Client The client will receive the list of the movies which he can write a comment on. From the reviewer point of view every object exposes the Movie interface, so he doesn’t know to invoke methods against a proxy object.

Remember, both the proxy and the real movie object implement the same interface so the proxy can take the place of the real object.

import java.util.List;

public class Reviewer {

	List<Movie> movieList;

	public Reviewer(List<Movie> list) {
		movieList = list;

	public void spoilMovieTitle() {
		for (Movie movie : movieList) {

	public void printMovieTiles() {
		for (Movie movie : movieList) {