Visitor Design Pattern in Kotlin

1. Definition

The Visitor Design Pattern involves adding further operations to objects without having to modify them. It uses a visitor class to offer an extended interface that other objects can accept.

2. Problem Statement

Imagine you have a series of shapes (like circles and squares) and want to introduce various operations on them, such as calculating area or perimeter. Over time, adding new operations or shapes can lead to a bloated structure and violates the Open-Closed Principle, as existing code is often modified.

3. Solution

The Visitor pattern suggests separating the operation from the object structure. A visitor class is introduced, offering an interface with a visit method for each object type. Objects then provide an 'accept' method that takes the visitor as a parameter, enabling the operation to be applied to the object without altering its structure.

4. Real-World Use Cases

1. Graphic editors where new tools or operations can be added without changing the shape classes.

2. Compilers, where different operations can be applied to parse trees, like optimization, validation, or interpretation.

5. Implementation Steps

1. Define a visitor interface declaring visit methods for each element class.

2. Concrete visitor classes implement this interface.

3. Element classes offer an 'accept' method that takes a visitor as an argument.

4. The client passes the visitor to elements using the accept method.

6. Implementation in Kotlin Programming

// Step 1: Element Interface and Concrete Elements
interface Shape {
    fun accept(visitor: ShapeVisitor)
class Circle(val radius: Double) : Shape {
    override fun accept(visitor: ShapeVisitor) {
class Square(val side: Double) : Shape {
    override fun accept(visitor: ShapeVisitor) {
// Step 2: Visitor Interface and Concrete Visitors
interface ShapeVisitor {
    fun visit(circle: Circle)
    fun visit(square: Square)
class AreaVisitor : ShapeVisitor {
    override fun visit(circle: Circle) {
        println("Area of Circle: ${Math.PI * circle.radius * circle.radius}")
    override fun visit(square: Square) {
        println("Area of Square: ${square.side * square.side}")
// Client Code
fun main() {
    val shapes: List<Shape> = listOf(Circle(5.0), Square(4.0))
    val visitor = AreaVisitor()
    for (shape in shapes) {


Area of Circle: 78.53981633974483
Area of Square: 16.0


1. Shape is the element interface with an accept method that takes a visitor.

2. Circle and Square are concrete elements. They implement the accept method, passing themselves to the visitor's visit method.

3. ShapeVisitor is the visitor interface with a visit method for each element type.

4. AreaVisitor is a concrete visitor that calculates the area for each shape.

5. In the client code, shapes accept the visitor, which then performs the desired operation.

7. When to use?

Use the Visitor pattern when:

1. You need to add further operations to objects without modifying their classes.

2. A structure contains many unrelated operations, and grouping them in the same class isn't feasible.

3. Classes defining the objects that you're going to work with aren't likely to change, but you want to define new operations on them without modification.