Observer Design Pattern in Kotlin

1. Definition

The Observer Design Pattern defines a dependency between objects such that when one object changes its state, all its dependents (observers) are notified and updated automatically.

2. Problem Statement

In a scenario where the state of one object (subject) is crucial to multiple other objects, there needs to be an efficient way to communicate state changes without tightly coupling these objects together.

3. Solution

The Observer pattern involves a subject and multiple observers. Observers register themselves to the subject to receive updates. When the subject's state changes, it broadcasts an update to all registered observers.

4. Real-World Use Cases

1. A news agency publishing news and subscribers receiving real-time updates.

2. GUI elements that respond to changes in data (like data binding).

3. Monitoring systems where a change in one component may affect others.

5. Implementation Steps

1. Define the Observer interface that outlines methods for being notified of updates.

2. Define the Subject interface that allows observers to register, unregister, and is responsible for notifying them.

3. Implement concrete classes for both Observer and Subject.

6. Implementation in Kotlin Programming

// Step 1: Observer interface
interface Observer {
    fun update(message: String)
// Step 2: Subject interface
interface Subject {
    fun registerObserver(o: Observer)
    fun unregisterObserver(o: Observer)
    fun notifyObservers()
// Step 3: Concrete implementations
class NewsAgency : Subject {
    private val observers: MutableList<Observer> = mutableListOf()
    private var news: String = ""
    override fun registerObserver(o: Observer) {
    override fun unregisterObserver(o: Observer) {
    override fun notifyObservers() {
        for (observer in observers) {
    fun postNews(newNews: String) {
        news = newNews
class NewsSubscriber(private val name: String) : Observer {
    override fun update(message: String) {
        println("$name received the news: $message")
// Client Code
fun main() {
    val newsAgency = NewsAgency()
    val subscriber1 = NewsSubscriber("Subscriber 1")
    val subscriber2 = NewsSubscriber("Subscriber 2")
    newsAgency.postNews("Breaking News: Observer Pattern in Kotlin!")


Subscriber 1 received the news: Breaking News: Observer Pattern in Kotlin!
Subscriber 2 received the news: Breaking News: Observer Pattern in Kotlin!


1. The Observer and Subject interfaces define a contract for the pattern.

2. NewsAgency, our concrete subject, maintains a list of observers and notifies them whenever new news is posted.

3. NewsSubscriber, our concrete observer, defines how each observer should react when they receive an update.

7. When to use?

The Observer pattern is useful when:

1. One-to-many dependency is established where a change in one object must be broadcasted to others.

2. You want to build a decoupled system where the subject and its observers can evolve independently.

3. Changes in the subject might affect other dependent objects and those changes need to be communicated automatically.