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Head First Design Patterns Paperback – 4 Nov 2004


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Review

An intelligent and well thought-out discussion of Java design patterns and interesting dicussion of object-orientated design. -- Visual Systems Journal, April 2005

To conclude, I can definitely say that I consider this book a must-have for all.
-- Argyro Kazaki, JHUG/Weekend Geeks, October 2007

From the Publisher

This is a US educational market only edition of Head First Design Patterns. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By C. CLARK on 15 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. I have read other books on design patterns including Design Patterns Explained by Shalloway Trott and whilst it was a good book it was rather a dry read.

By contrast the Head First book although looking a bit like a Design Patterns for Dummies type book by the cover does indeed cover the same material but in a way which is definetely easy to read and hopefully better to remember.

Where the book excels is in it's examples which clearly show you where you may wish to apply a paticular pattern which is really the key to the whole field. There may be more exhaustive books on the market but this one explains the key patterns and more importantly the principles behind them well.

I'm a C# programmer and the fact it's a Java book doesn't really make a difference. The code samples are almost exactly the same as they would be in C#. On a few occasions it does make reference to paticular Java classes to show examples of patterns in use (e.g. Iterator) but it's easy enough to relate these to their .NET equivalent and even if you can't it doesn't really matter.

All in all the most enjoyable computer book I have ever read and thoroughly recommended if you want to start learning about Design patterns and their use.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
Ok, if you work in a big consultancy your boss/client may not want to see this on your desk.
If you can read the GOF patterns book, then you dont need it. If like me, you know patterns are good, but you quickly lose the will to live when seeing yet another esoteric UML diagram describing a pattern, then get this book.
One important way that this book differs from others I read, is in the examples. These actually look like something you might write and the final example using many of the major patterns was superb.
Oh, and this book is funny.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yossu on 24 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read several books on design patterns before, and ending up no wiser than before, this book was a refreshing change. Even without the wacky style (which I liked a lot), the explanations were clear, and the samples realistic enough to be useful, without being boring.

So my overall opinion of this book is that it's easily the best design patterns book around, and essential reading for anyone who wants to do Grown Up Programming.

Having said that, I have a very serious complaint about this book, which is why I gave it four stars not five.

Design patterns are language agnostic, so you can use them equally well in any true OO language. Given that Java is (probably) the most widely-used OO language around today, it made sense to give the samples in Java. I don't think anyone could complain about that.

However, why oh why did the author have to make it SO Java-oriented? A lot of the book kept referring to the JVM, and using the Java console and so on. This was unnecessary and annoying to us non-Java programmers. The chapter on the Iterator pattern made it even worse by using a Java-specific feature, without any real explanation of how to do it in other languages.

Even this might not have knocked it off the five-star rating, had it not been for the chapter on the Proxy pattern, which was basically useless to non-Java programmers, as instead of showing how to implement it in a neutral way, they used a Java-specific one, which doesn't help the rest of us. Although the description of the pattern was good, it wasn't clear enough how to implement it in other OO languages, and I ended up skimming most of the chapter.

So, the book was brilliant, but if you aren't a Java programmer, be prepared for some disappointing bits.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael on 12 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
After reading some of the reviews for this book I had high hopes for its content and I wasn't dissapointed! this is easily the most well written computer book on my shelf.
I never really use Java and mostly use C# however I don't think it matters what language your used to using as this book concentrates more on the design principles of OOP rather than the how to apply it to a particular language, however the syntax between the two are so similar it didn't take long to pick it up.
If you understand the basic's of OOP Abstraction, Encapsulation, Polymorphism, Inheritance... but want to find out how best to apply these to create robust and extensible applications then I definitely recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Baldock on 23 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book before I read that the examples inside it are written in Java. I do not have any knowledge of Java, the only language I know is PHP.

However this was not a problem as the code in the book is minimal and is very focused on the design pattern being explained at the time. If you have knowledge of object oriented programming then I'm sure this book will be good for you. It is an absolute Gem!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
Before reading this book I was not that passionate about programming. I could knock out some code and get things to work which was fine. After reading this book my thinking has been changed forever...this book presents ways in which you can write slick, elegant code....and get more of a buzz out of your work because you know how to do it better. It's easy to read, entertaining and best of all it sinks in without you straining trying to stay awake.
The different patterns are presented in each chapter. The chapter begins with a problem scenario and then proceeds to follow the thoughts of a developer as to how to implement the solution. A solution using basic programming techniques is used first which would work, and then the design pattern is used to show how the problem could be solved in a way that would make the code easier to maintain and extend. In amongst all of this are puzzles and games that allow knowledge to sink in, and detailed explanations of class diagrams and code.
A day after reading a few chapters of this book I was able to look at code in my workplace, and could immediately see how to improve it.
The designers of the book did all the hard work so that we wouldn't have to. Brilliant.
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