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Head First Design Patterns Paperback – Nov 4 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 694 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Nov. 4 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596007124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596007126
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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 recently ended nearly a decade as a media company executive, having held the position of CTO of Disney Online & at The Walt Disney Company. Eric is now devoting his time to and lives with his wife and young daughter in Austin, TX. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Yale University.

Elisabeth Robson is co-founder of Wickedly Smart, an education company devoted to helping customers gain mastery in web technologies. She's co-author of four bestselling books, Head First Design Patterns, Head First HTML and CSS, Head First HTML5 Programming, and Head First JavaScript Programming.

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, the largest (and friendliest) all-volunteer Java community.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
I have read many OOP principle / design pattern books and this one stands out as a clear winner for anyone new to the subject. An especially invaluable recommendation to your peers if you want them up to speed quick.

Even without completing all of the multi-discipline evaluation tests (from crosswords to sketches) I found the retention level of this book to be extremely high. The authors clearly had fun letting their geek humour loose - it really helps with what can sometimes be an inaccessible subject matter.

My only criticism would be aimed at one or two of the examples. I enjoyed the story telling and settings, but whilst I sympathise with the paradox of needing to provide examples, some were verging on bad design (e.g. coffee decorator!). But I think the authors state regularly the real merits of the patterns, so I for one will let this slide.

Great. Well considered and takes the original GoF Design Patterns book forward.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
I bought this book because of the rave reviews on I am a Flash ActionScripter who was looking to see how I can make use of design patterns. Actionscript 2.0 is very similar to Java so understanding the examples was no problem. Most people would recommend "Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software" (a.k.a. GoF, Gang Of Four) but that's a tough read. The examples in a copy I got were done in C Language.
The book if you page through it is silly but if you read it the way it is supposed to be read, you will see into your code further down the road and into the future and figure out that there is at least one certainty and that is that the code will change.
Learning about design patterns and OOA/D will 1) prepare your code to handle that inevitable change by decreasing the probably that it will break and 2) it will provide you with a broader vocabulary to express those parts of a program and be able to communicate it with other developers.
I recommend this book not at novice ActionScripters but those who are intermediate or advanced who have a confortable grasp of the syntax. This is a good read for those who want to make better use of AS2.0 and stop coding themselves into a corner by coding to concrete classes instead of interfaces. Moock's take on design patterns left alot to be desired but I have to admit that he opened the door for me to learn more about patterns and how it can make life easier developing in Flash.
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