Introducing Clean Architecture By Refactoring A Go Project

Adapters and converters are used to convert models when they are propagating between layers to make them convenient to work with on a specific layer and do not spread extra dependencies to other layers. Entities and use cases are the core of an application. These layers are the most important when we are talking about an architecture.

Use Cases are encapsulated in one place meaning they are very visible and easier to understand. Business rules are not scattered all over the place making debugging onion architecture and modification of the code painful. I’ve typed out the entire use case here for reference so you don’t need to digest the whole thing right now.

This helps to stay on the same page with domain experts, but what is more important to keep our software system maintainable and ready for domain rules changes without spending months rewriting 50% of a project. A whole application domain layer is split into smaller ones. Each subcontext has some models, that make sense in this context, as well as it has it boundaries. Dividing the application domain into bounded contexts makes an application even more maintainable, loosely coupled and reusable. For example, you may have multiple Customer models across you domain, but each of them belongs to a specific bounded context. Have you ever had a model class with more than 10 properties, due to the same name used for different concerns in the application.

onion architecture vs layered architecture

That one takes either browser, or Rack driver, or just a test driver on the left side, and either a constant, or in-code, or from-a-file rate db on the right side. I wrote this to show the implementation in a simple but real setting. All of these examples are about making the ‘’primary ‘’ports’ APIs visible.

And if you find out that performance should be boosted – there is no reason to re-write whole implementation of the IDateUtils. Rather, the method to be optimized within the already created class. Instead, I want to take a tailored approach to my system, where I treat each request as a distinct use case in how to approach its code. Because my system breaks down neatly into “command” requests and “query” requests (GET vs POST/PUT/DELETE in HTTP-land), moving towards a vertical slice architecture gives me CQRS out of the gate. I won’t cover these principles in details, due to a great number of really valuable articles and books on this matter, I want just to highlight the most important points of these principles. The next evolutionary step in software architecting was changing the values of a classical software architecture (like 3-Layer).


You may find that you need more than just these four. There’s no rule that says you must always have just these four. As you move inwards the level of abstraction increases. As you move inwards the software grows more abstract, and encapsulates higher level policies. Initially, the project had all layers mixed, and it wasn’t possible to mock dependencies. The only way to test it was to use integration tests, with proper database and all services running.

onion architecture vs layered architecture

Here we also define all interfaces used in infrastructure and persistence layer. Basically this layer is saying how our application handles business logic and deals with domain dependencies and Common containing crosscutting concerns. At the center part of the Onion Architecture, the domain layer exists; this layer represents the business and behavior objects. The idea is to have all of your domain objects at this core. Besides the domain objects, you also could have domain interfaces.

Therefore, very often The Data Layer and The Business layer are mixed together so tightly that it is much easier to rewrite the whole application instead of diving into existing codebase. Here is an example of such code, it is really terrible. You should always pay attention to objects being passed between layers. An object being passed should be isolated, simple or even just a plain data type without hidden dependencies. You can encounter problems when you are using ORM libraries and passing ORM objects outside the boundaries.

Flexible and portable – because the Use Cases are completely decoupled from any UI or infrastructure it’s easy to do things like switch the database or web framework or even port to an entirely new platform. Our example runs in a console app but it could just as easily work on the web, desktop or a phone. Sometimes it’s needed more effort to isolate dependencies and even framework dependency from core app, but it’s worth this efforts in future. Its purpose is to extract data from transport layer, initialize EC and send it for further processing. Each connector using same port, has to be able to serialize data from transport layer to one common format. If data coming from client is using different format, port dedicated to that format must be used.

A graphical user interface or GUI is an example of an adapter that maps the movements of a person to the API of the port. Other adapters that fit the same port are automated test harnesses such as FIT or Fitnesse, batch drivers, and any code needed for communication between applications across the enterprise or net. Conforming to these simple rules is not hard, and will save you a lot of headaches going forward. By separating the software into layers, and conforming to The Dependency Rule, you will create a system that is intrinsically testable, with all the benefits that implies. When any of the external parts of the system become obsolete, like the database, or the web framework, you can replace those obsolete elements with a minimum of fuss. The same technique is used to cross all the boundaries in the architectures.

It has no idea whether it’s being called by an HTTP request, a Pub/Sub handler, or a CLI command. The first one is using separate models for database entities and HTTP responses. I’ve introduced changes in the users service in my post on the DRY principle. I applied the same pattern now in trainer and trainings as well.

Alternative Name: hexagonal Architecture

There are several traditional architectures available, and one of the basic issues with these architectures is the coupling of UI and business logic layer to data access. Personally, I strongly suggest you NOT to use any of these and further explained architectures in their pure forms. To be a good architect you should make important decisions yourself instead of following how-to guides. Every project is unique and requires a distinct approach. I think, this is great to be aware of different architectures and approaches, this will help you to find weak and strong points of them and as a result define an architecture for a specific project.

  • You may have noticed that each next architecture we review has more layers and is more detailed itself, but the main ideas stay the same.
  • I used the standard Go approach of table-driven tests to make all cases easy to read and understand.
  • And these layers should not be affected by changes in “detail layers”.
  • Onion architecture is a software architectural configuration to maintain libraries and dependencies on the extremities of a software system while sustaining a strong and cohesive system core.
  • Secondly, there may be more than two ports to the application, so that the architecture does not fit into the one-dimensional layer drawing.
  • As application subsystem and databases get completed, the mocks are replaced with test databases.

Or some other very generic name with unknown purpose – up until I open this project and look onto the code. Sometimes there are two or more projects like that, written by different generations/teams of software developers. Application might be formally split into layers following layered or onion architecture, but these folders are referenced from everywhere. And sometimes they want to reference each other, which is no-op due to potential circular dependency. Additional layers were introduced to provide a better Separation of Concerns between parts of a system. The Application layer is one more mediator between the outer world and the Domain core.

Explaining Clean Architecture

In “Patterns for Generating a Layered Architecture”, Barry Rubel describes a pattern about creating an axis of symmetry in control software that is very similar to ports and adapters. The ‘’Pedestal’’ pattern calls for implementing an object representing each hardware device within the system, and linking those objects together in a control layer. The ‘’Pedestal’’ pattern can be used to describe either side of the hexagonal architecture, but does not yet stress the similarity across adapters.

This is not just another article with random code snippets. Easy switching from prototypes to proper solutions (e.g., changing in-memory storage to an SQL database). Avi started as a Flash Animator in 1999, moving into programming as Action Script evolved. He’s worked as a Software Architect at OnceHub since September 2019, where he focuses on Cloud Native Automated workflows and improving team practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing games, Dungeons & Dragons, Brazilian jujitsu, and historical European sword fighting.

onion architecture vs layered architecture

I would argue with the point that every framework is an attempt to improve the language – rather it is an attempt to adopt the language to programming models/principles, not present in this language natively. Such as Spring has grown as DI framework/IoC container . RxJava is designed to account for the reactive programming.

Utah Code Camp Sept 19, 2009 : Coding Assignment

Just to make a bit clearer, here are two code snippets, representing how two different approaches may look in code. One essential thing in any architecture are the directions of dependencies, how do each layer depends on another. Let me explain what do these arrows mean in real code. The Presentation layer imports classes or modules from the Business layer, in it’s turn the Business layer depends on the Data layer. In a programming language dependencies are mostly represented via using, import, include, require statements. You are organize and split your code into several layers in accordance with responsibilities, define communication protocols between layers.

By making each application executable in headless mode through APIs, they could add an app-to-add adapter and unbundle the application suite, connecting the sub-applications on demand. The term ‘’hexagonal architecture’’ comes from this visual effect. Typically the data that crosses the boundaries is simple data structures.

Creating The Entities

Value objects may have some constraints, like not all strings that have the at sign (@) are valid email addresses. For instance, we can treat a date, a price, a point, a weight as a Value Object. A Post, an Order, a Customer could be an example of an Entity. It is very important to have understand all terms in a specific business domain, because there a lot of words that have different meanings depending on the context they are used in . This language should be based on the business domain.

Onion Architecture layers are connected through interfaces. Onion Architecture was introduced by Jeffrey Palermo to provide a better way to build applications in perspective of better testability, maintainability, and dependability. The problel with tradional architechture used in ASP .Net was tight coupling and separation of concerns. And, finally, our server class, with a start method, that will start the application at the desired port and get it ready to receive HTTP requests. Let’s dive into the layers of the application now, starting from the inner and going to the outer ones, in sequence.

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While coupling seems mostly related to microservices across multiple teams, we find loosely coupled architecture just as useful for work within a team. Keeping architecture standards makes parallel work possible and helps onboard new team members. Working with incomplete data often leads to an incomplete understanding. Whenever you talk to others about clean architecture, make sure you are able to provide all three images, to reduce confusion. If you wish to learn more about various architecture techniques and when to use them, join us or follow this blog.

Usually it contains Use Cases that are used throughout an application. Usually a Use Case may act like an assembly unit, that collects all required input data, directs it to the Domain Services and returns the result back to the calling party. Multiple use cases can be combined and reused according application rules. We will see later how this layer could be designed and implemented. All in all the main idea is to represent software architecture as close as possible to how the business sees the problem domain.

The Hexagonal Architecture

We first create our own class called MemoryData that will implement some basic operations that will be used later by our repository. The infrastructure layer is responsible for every communication with external systems such as the system state . Mainly we will compose our domain methods here, and eventually, use what was injected from the infrastructure layer to persist data.

It is useful to use the hexagonal architecture pattern to reinforce the preferred way of writing use cases. At this point the application can be both demoed and regression tested. In the Application Notes, the left-right asymmetry will be brought up again.

A clear separation between ports, adapters, and application logic is useful by itself. Clean Architecture improves it further with Dependency Inversion. I introduced similar packages in the trainer service.

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