Advent calendar #8 - Why Singletons and static methods are often the wrong thing to do

Advent calendar #8 - Why Singletons and static methods are often the wrong thing to do

This might shock you, but I bet you are using Singletons wrong. With this post I will talk about the only valid use case and the more often practiced wrong usages of the singleton pattern.


Singletons themselves are not bad. The problem is the reason why they are being used. Singletons should only be used to ensure, that there is only one instance of an object. More often, it is abused to access a certain object anywhere in the code base without further thinking about what actor in the system would take care of providing me with this dependency.


That brings me to the solution. Dependency injection is the better alternative, which requires a bit more know-how. With little experience, I've found myself using more and more static methods on classes or plain singletons, just because I wanted access real fast.

With bad code design, it's easy to fall for Singletons. Getting over them requires some code design experience and some time put into the actual code design.

Further reasons why Singletons are bad

Singletons are bad because they make testing impossible or at least nearly impossible. If you have a call to a Singleton in any of your methods, the unit test would have to override this certain piece just to make it work.

A good example of Singleton

There are certain cases, where you want to access a singleton, for example, the File object in Java;

Anyway: abstract!

In that case, however, you still would want to abstract it further. So that you can change the actual implementation of creating a file with a dummy method for testing.

interface ReportOutputAdapter {
    write(content: string): Promise<any>;

class FileAdapter implements ReportOutputAdapter {
    constructor(filePath: string) {


    public async write(content: string) {

class TestAdapter implements ReportOutputAdapter {
    public async write(content: string) { }

class ReportCurrentRevenue {

    constructor(private _reportOutputAdapter: ReportOutputAdapter, private _sales: number[]) { }

    private _calculate() {
        // sum up all the sales
        return this._sales.reduce((prev, curr) => prev+curr, 0);

    public report() {
        const sum = this._calculate();
        return `<h1>Total sales:</h1><p>${sum}</p>`


If you want to use singletons, then make sure it's for the correct reason of just having a single instance running at the same time. For me, this was a great issue with legacy code. Getting such code inside a test scenario is a real pain and requires great effort.

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