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Head First Design Patterns [Paperback]

Eric Freeman , Elisabeth Robson , Bert Bates , Kathy Sierra
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 4 2004 Head First

You're not alone.

At any given moment, somewhere in the world someone struggles with the same software design problems you have. You know you don't want to reinvent the wheel (or worse, a flat tire), so you look to Design Patterns--the lessons learned by those who've faced the same problems. With Design Patterns, you get to take advantage of the best practices and experience of others, so that you can spend your time on...something else. Something more challenging. Something more complex. Something more fun.

You want to learn about the patterns that matter--why to use them, when to use them, how to use them (and when NOT to use them). But you don't just want to see how patterns look in a book, you want to know how they look "in the wild". In their native environment. In other words, in real world applications. You also want to learn how patterns are used in the Java API, and how to exploit Java's built-in pattern support in your own code.

You want to learn the real OO design principles and why everything your boss told you about inheritance might be wrong (and what to do instead). You want to learn how those principles will help the next time you're up a creek without a design pattern.

Most importantly, you want to learn the "secret language" of Design Patterns so that you can hold your own with your co-worker (and impress cocktail party guests) when he casually mentions his stunningly clever use of Command, Facade, Proxy, and Factory in between sips of a martini. You'll easily counter with your deep understanding of why Singleton isn't as simple as it sounds, how the Factory is so often misunderstood, or on the real relationship between Decorator, Facade and Adapter.

With Head First Design Patterns, you'll avoid the embarrassment of thinking Decorator is something from the "Trading Spaces" show. Best of all, in a way that won't put you to sleep! We think your time is too important (and too short) to spend it struggling with academic texts.

If you've read a Head First book, you know what to expect--a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works. Using the latest research in neurobiology, cognitive science, and learning theory, Head First Design Patterns will load patterns into your brain in a way that sticks. In a way that lets you put them to work immediately. In a way that makes you better at solving software design problems, and better at speaking the language of patterns with others on your team.

Frequently Bought Together

Head First Design Patterns + Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design: A Brain Friendly Guide to OOA&D + Head First Java
Price For All Three: CDN$ 95.62

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This is a gimmicky book that actually works for once. It is an intelligent and well thought-out discussion of Java design patterns, and if you dont know what a design pattern is then this is an excellent way to find out. It is also an interested discussion of object-oriented design. I found that the authors often anticipated my reaction to their initial explanations and asked the questions that I would have asked had it been a lecture. - Mike James, VSJ, April 2005

About the Author

Eric Freeman is a computer scientist with a passion for media and software architectures and coauthor of Head First Design Patterns. He just wrapped up four years at a dream job-- directing internet broadband and wireless efforts at Disney--and is now back to writing, creating cool software, and hacking Java and Macs. Eric spent a lot of the '90s working on alternatives to the desktop metaphor with David Gelernter (and they're both still asking the question, "Why do I have to give a file a name?"). Based on this work, Eric landed a Ph.D. at Yale University in 1997. He also co-founded Mirror Worlds Technologies (now acquired) to create a commercial version of his thesis work, Lifestreams.

In a previous life, Eric built software for networks and supercomputers. You might know him from such books as JavaSpaces Principles Patterns and Practice. Eric has fond memories of implementing tuple-space systems on Thinking Machine CM-5s and creating some of the first internet information systems for NASA in the late 1980s.

When he's not writing text or code you'll find him spending more time tweaking than watching his home theater and trying to restore a circa 1980s Dragon's Lair video game. He also wouldn't mind moonlighting as an electronica DJ.

Write to him at eric at wickedlysmart dot com or visit him at http://www.ericfreeman.com .

Elisabeth Robson (formerly Freeman) is coauthor of O'Reilly's Head First Design Patterns and Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML. She is currently Special Projects Director at O'Reilly where she is developing new brain-friendly learning ideas and products.

Bert Bates is a 20-year software developer, a Java instructor, and a co-developer of Sun's upcoming EJB exam (Sun Certified Business Component Developer). His background features a long stint in artificial intelligence, with clients like the Weather Channel, A&E Network, Rockwell, and Timken.

Kathy Sierra has been interested in learning theory since her days as a game developer (Virgin, MGM, Amblin'). More recently, she's been a master trainer for Sun Microsystems, teaching Sun's Java instructors how to teach the latest technologies to customers, and a lead developer of several Sun certification exams. Along with her partner Bert Bates, Kathy created the Head First series. She's also the original founder of the Software Development/Jolt Productivity Award-winning javaranch.com, the largest (and friendliest) all-volunteer Java community.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Patterns Book for the Rest of Us June 15 2006
Oh sure, we've all got the Gang-Of-Four Design Patterns books on the shelf, right up there next to Knuth. I'd yank down my dusty copy whenever I needed to look up what a fellow coder meant by Facade or Visitor. (Actually, the short description of the patterns on the inside front cover usually was enough to fake my way through the rest of the conversation.)

In contrast, I charged through Head First Design Patterns in all of about two days. It was my first exposure to the breezy diagram- and photo-laden Head First series. You could consider the non-text portions to be just so much tree-killing fluff, but I found them a pleasant respite from what is, at heart, a pretty dry subject.

There were more than a few times during my reading that I sat back, whistled, and said aloud, "so that's how that works." The book covers the most common patterns from GoF in an incremental order. I was disappointed that some patterns were lumped in the last "Leftover Patterns" chapter because I would've enjoyed the authors' take on them, particularly the Flyweight pattern, a personal fave.

Examples are illustrated using Java. That's definitely an improvement over the templated C++ in GoF, but it does illustrate a failing: the old-school object-oriented languages like C++ and Java needed patterns to solve common problems. The latest batch of OO/functional languages like Python and Ruby have little use for some patterns, and add new patterns all their own. For instance, what use is there for an iterator pattern in Ruby that uses closures to loop? Why bother with factory patterns in languages with first-order functions and class objects?

That opinion aside, patterns are still an everyday matter for the OO practitioner, and Head First Design Patterns is a superb introduction to them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to dominate OO design patterns Feb. 11 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book to understand OO design patterns and when to use each, this is for you. The stories in the book show how each pattern can be practically used. If you really want to understand various patterns and are not afraid of reading lengthy books, this is a good investment!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book Aug. 20 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book the learn design patterns while "having fun".
This book doesn't overwhelm you with scientific terms and what not.

Great book for starters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple July 9 2012
By Andreas
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is absolutely simple. Exercises are fairly helpful. Small asides are good reminders for the concepts.

Overall a great book for programmers that never use design patterns but still get GoF for a much deeper understanding of these patterns.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and Easy to Understand June 6 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Head First Design Patterns gets you up to speed on this vital topic. Perfect for the beginner and an excellent resource for even the most accomplished OO designer this book provides easy-to-understand examples, and covers a wide range of patterns. If you are looking for a book that you can truly learn from then this book is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Never learned so much so fast May 9 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While I think it greatly helps that this book happens to fit my skill level perfectly (I know everything it assumes I know, and I don't know most of what it assumes I don't know), it is really amazingly well designed as a learning tool. There are some books (like the GoF book that this is based off of) that are such an unbelievable chore to absorb, requiring a monumental effort to get anything out of, but Head First Design Patterns is built specifically to avoid that exact problem.

Normally, we see low-level books that are written in an accessible manner, with high-level books written pretty much ignoring accessibility, leaving the reader to fend for himself. But it doesn't have to be that way. Head First Design Patterns is a high-level book written to be accessible. You will be floored by just how fast you can read this book, and just how fast you can learn what it teaches.
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Head First Design Patterns is an outstanding book. I first encountered this book when a friend loaned me his copy when I was in a bit of a time crunch. My first thought was "oh, man, I've got no time, and this book is HUGE!" Well, after 5 minutes of reading, I knew that I had jumped to conclusions. The Head First books are really good at conveying their subject matter, and do so quickly. Personally, I really think in terms of analogies, and when I am explaining something to someone else, I use analogies to get my point across. After reading Head First Design Patterns cover to cover, I don't think I could point to another book that is better tailored to my (and I hope your) kind of thinking. I've already used several of the chapters to help out with specific projects. Don't let the fact that this book is aimed at Java Developers. You can just as easily apply it's contents to C++ or any other object oriented language. Heck, I've even implemented some of the patterns in plain-old ANSI-C (i.e., a non-OO language), with great results (there are many books out there on how to implement objects in a non-OO language). If you are doing much code development, either as a student, hobbyist or professional, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, fun and enjoyable April 29 2009
I have over 4 years of experience with programming and through all this years I've read many books that try to explain Design Patterns; I got to master Design Patterns after I read this book. It's so smart the way they explain everything and how they use real life examples to make you understand what something 'abstract' really means. It's highly recommended! I'm a PHP developer and although the books is written with Java examples, most (if not all) of the examples and cases can be brought with no problem to PHP.

It's not only the best design patterns book, it's one of the best books I've ever read.

5 stars
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