This page explains some common design patterns used in the Daml Finance library.

Factory pattern

Factories are helper contracts that are used to create instruments, holdings, and other contracts. The reason why using factories is a recommended pattern when using Daml Finance has to do with application decoupling / upgradeability of your application.

For example, suppose that you are writing Daml code to issue equity instruments. Your workflow references the version 0.2.1 of the Equity implementation package and at some point creates an instrument as follows.

create Equity.Instrument with
  issuer = myParty
  id = Id "MyCompany"

If the equity package gets updated to version 0.2.2 and a new field is added to the instrument (or a choice is changed, or a new lifecycle event is added, …) then you are forced to upgrade your Daml code in order to use the new feature and will have to deal with upgrading multiple templates on the ledger.

A safer approach is for your Daml code to only reference the Equity interface package, which contains interface definitions and is updated less frequently.

However, you would now need a way to create equity instruments without referencing Daml.Finance.Instrument.Equity in your main Daml workflow. To do this, you can setup a Script to run during ledger initialisation that will create a factory contract and cast it to the corresponding interface. You can then use the factory in your main workflow code to create the instruments.

When an upgraded instrument comes along, you would need to write code to archive the old factory and create the new one, in order to issue the new instruments. However, the Daml code for your workflow could in principle stay untouched.

For an example where the Factory pattern is used, check out the Holdings tutorial.

Reference pattern

The Reference pattern is used to leverage the functionalities of Contract Keys when working with interfaces. This is required as there is currently no built-in support at the language level for interface keys.

We want for instance to use an InstrumentKey to identify instruments across a number of implementing templates.

To do that, we define a Reference template that
  • is keyed by the InstrumentKey
  • contains the interface contract id of the target instrument
We can then fetch an interface “by key” by
  • fetching the Reference template by key (fetchByKey)
  • reading and fetch-ing the stored contract id
Example using the reference pattern to fetch an interface "by key".

Similarly, this pattern also lets us exercise a choice on an interface “by key”.

The Reference pattern is currently used in Daml Finance for instruments and accounts, where we ensure that a template and its companion Reference template are kept in sync. It is however important to understand this pattern should you implement custom instruments or accounts.

View of an interface contract and the GetView choice

There are different ways to access the data of a contract, for example the terms of an instrument:

  1. fetch the interface contract using its contract ID (this requires the submitting party to be a stakeholder of the contract). It is then possible to use the view built-in method to get the interface view.
  2. GetView: by calling this choice on the interface, for example on a callable bond, a party can get the view of a contract, without necessarily being a stakeholder of the contract. This can be useful in situations where someone needs access to reference data, but should not be a stakeholder of the contract. Specifically, if publicParty is an observer of an instrumentCid, a party would only require readAs rights of publicParty in order to exercise GetView. In the Daml Finance library, this choice has been implemented not only for instruments but also for other types of contracts, e.g. Holdings and lifecycle related contracts like Rule and Effect.