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Head First Design Patterns

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  • Posted September 2, 2012

    I picked up Head First Design Patterns by Eric Freeman, Elisabet

    I picked up Head First Design Patterns by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson, Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra while working through some particularly difficult design/code reviews. In these reviews, I found that very few developers actually knowingly use design patterns beyond the most simplistic of forms. In fact, during several interviews, I asked candidates what design patterns they could name and most could not name a single one. However, when I asked them if they had heard of the Singleton Pattern, they immediately began giving examples of writing code to meet this pattern. With this discovery, I quickly began recommending this book to java developers of all levels as a way to renew why we design code the way we do.

    Head First Design Patterns quickly gives the reader exposure to some of the most common patterns and why they work. Does this book cover every possible pattern and the intricacies in its use? No. However, it brings to the reader a mode of thought that begins to look at design patterns as a way to solve common problems without “reinventing the wheel.” The examples are relatively simple to understand and the writing style straightforward and logic in its flow.

    I recommend Head First Design Patterns to any entry through advanced level developer or designer in the object-oriented world that desires to find a solution to common problems in a way that allows your design/code reviewer and maintainers the ability to understand why the design/code was “done” the way that is was “done” in a less-than-four-hour line-by-line review meeting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Well-made Introduction

    This book is a nicely written introduction to software design patterns that is easy to read. Any level of developer will benefit from reading this book at least once. There seem to be a few good lessons about software design embedded in the material. By paying attention to the themes of the lessons, readers can learn a lot about software design in general as well as build up knowledge of common solutions to common problems.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Overall a good book to learn patterns, in my opinion.

    I recently got a copy of Head First Patterns, a book by Eric Freeman and Elisabeth Freeman. This is the very first (and so far, only) Head-First book I have read, so am not sure if this is the standard format for this book series. I was given this book to review, and hence received a free copy, with no obligation to provide a favorable impression. I actually read it on Safari first, and then got a hard-copy.


    The reading experience feels more like taking a "Patterns 101" course. The book is rather thick but sparse due to the space taken up by pictures and blank areas, so don't be put off by the bulk. The book has zen-ish conversation pieces, Principles explained with cute diagrams, exercises, challenge questions, even crossword puzzles. It is organized into chapters that teach a pattern or two each, and covers a reasonable number of design patterns overall. The patterns are summarized yet again, in the "Bullet Points" section. There are "Design Toolbox" sections that define the pattern at hand, and show the OO Principles at work, for that pattern. I especially like the way patterns are explained here. Most chapters start with an every-day example. The "Decorator" pattern is explained using a coffee-shop chain, the "Factory" pattern is explained using a pizza factory and so on. It is not easy to find simple, concrete occurrences and build complex and abstract concepts based on them. The authors have walked that tight-rope well. Each chapter starts simple but by the end of it you know a lot about the pattern, including its definition and the UML diagram that models it. The book emphasizes good OO principles, a must for a book on software design in my opinion.


    There are however, a few content and stylistic aspects that may put this book at a disadvantage. They convey a sense of overreaching attempts to make the book informal and fun e.g. two Tables of Content (A summary and one, and "The Real Thing"), choice of font that resembles handwriting in many places and so on. A more formal font would have been a better choice for the body as well as margin notes. Similarly, setting code lines at an angle, pasted like refrigerator poetry in the section on "code magnets" does injustice to the holy grail of code: structure, clarity and precision.


    Overall, I think the book is a good choice for someone looking for "Patterns 101". By the way, in my opinion there is no such thing as "Patterns 102" or higher (since it is all about exposure, and experience, "101" onwards.)If you can get over the empty spaces, cartoon bubbles, and other stylistic quirks, it has solid content that is useful professionally. While it is not necessarily a good buy for someone who already knows their patterns; for someone learning about them from this book for the first time, it would be valuable as a learning tool at first and as a ready reference thereafter.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2009

    Great book for beginners

    Great for the beginning object oriented programmer. Comprehensive and flows well. Information is put in a way that makes the learning fun and enjoyable for a self-paced learning book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2005

    First design patterns book that hasn't put me to sleep!

    I think it¿s safe to say that this is the first design patters book I¿ve read that hasn¿t immediately put me to sleep. Don¿t get me wrong, I absolutely believe in the concept of design patterns. It¿s just that most of the books that talk about them are so unbelievably dull, that it¿s hard to not to fall asleep. This book does an amazing job of discussing design patterns, but managed to talk about it in a way that actually made me want to continue reading. The book starts off with probably the best explanation I have read about the difference between inheritance and interfaces, and why to use one over the other. The book proceeds to discuss such patterns as the Factory pattern, Singleton, the Command pattern, the Decorator pattern, the Observer pattern, and the Adaptor pattern to name a few. Be warned, this book may not be for everyone. For example, if you¿re looking for a pattern reference book, you might want to avoid this one. If you¿re looking for a good tutorial so that you can learn patterns for the first time, then this is probably the book you want. Please also note that all examples are provided in Java, but it should be fairly straightforward to translate most of these into your target language. The workbook style of this book as well as the informal writing make this an excellent book to use to learn what patterns are, how to use them, and why you should even care. I would highly recommend this book to someone falling into this category.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2005

    EXCELLENT!!!

    <p>If you're looking to truly understand Design Patterns, and keep them in your head, this is a MUST BUY. <p>No need for detail, this is the best Design Pattern book on the market. It's entertaining and uses a multitude of examples to help keep all the pattern types in your memory. <p>Once done, I recommend what the book recomends: Get more design pattern books. Specifically, you want to maintain an encyclopedia of design patterns from all walks of development. <p>This book will teach you what a design pattern is, how to identify them, and how to use them effectively. It will teach you the most popular ones from the GoF book (plus MVC). It will make you beg for a sequel. :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2004

    for new Java programmers

    There have been several successful books in this Head First series. They tackled the learning of Java, EJBs, Servlets and JSPs. By necessity, a fair portion of those books had to deal with teaching the elementary syntax. But suppose you are now programming in Java. It's time to move to more powerful abstractions, called design patterns, and addressed by this book. What the authors have done is take well known patterns, like Observer, Decorator, Factory and Singleton, and explain them in an informal, conversational style. Replete with many diagrams, also informally marked up. Basically, they have taken classic texts on design patterns, like by the Gang of Four, and totally rewritten them in simpler form, to reach a broader audience. Experienced Java programmers who've never dealt with this subject should probably consult those standard texts. But newer programmers might come here.

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    Posted December 1, 2009

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    Posted March 27, 2011

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    Posted February 28, 2010

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    Posted November 9, 2009

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    Posted September 17, 2010

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