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Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns [Paperback]

Kent Beck
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Oct 1996 013476904X 978-0134769042 1
This classic book is the definitive real-world style guide for better Smalltalk programming. This author presents a set of patterns that organize all the informal experience successful Smalltalk programmers have learned the hard way. When programmers understand these patterns, they can write much more effective code. The concept of Smalltalk patterns is introduced, and the book explains why they work. Next, the book introduces proven patterns for working with methods, messages, state, collections, classes and formatting. Finally, the book walks through a development example utilizing patterns. For programmers, project managers, teachers and students -- both new and experienced. This book presents a set of patterns that organize all the informal experience of successful Smalltalk programmers. This book will help you understand these patterns, and empower you to write more effective code.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (3 Oct 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013476904X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0134769042
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 17.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 623,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Kent Beck is the founder and director of Three Rivers Institute (TRI). His career has combined the practice of software development with reflection, innovation, and communication. His contributions to software development include patterns for software, the rediscovery of test-first programming, the xUnit family of developer testing tools, and Extreme Programming. He currently divides his time between writing, programming, and coaching. Beck is the author/co-author of Implementation PatternsExtreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change 2nd EditionContributing to EclipseTest-Driven Development: By ExamplePlanning Extreme ProgrammingSmalltalk Best Practice Patterns, and the JUnit Pocket Guide.  He received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Oregon. 

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I'm amazed that there are no reviews for this book at Amazon UK.

On the face of it, this is a ten year old book on a obscure programming language. However, dig a little deeper, and it's actually one of the best books written about the art of programming.

My primary language is Java, and since I read this book about six years ago, and it's shaped my while approach to programming in any language. Sure, the advice is language specific, and you have to think about it a bit translate it into your chosen language. As long as your language is object oriented, I would guess that at least half of this book is applicable.

On the other hand, if you are a Smalltalk programmer, and haven't read this book, shame on you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm an Objective C developer, and as you know Objective C derives a lot from Smalltalk culture, including syntax. This book helped me a lot in class design, better code reuse. Some of the chapters are not applicable though, since Cocoa (Touch) provides different means for dealing with arrays, etc. But anyway. If you're going to become a (much) better class designer, this book will help a lot. Even if your language of choice stands well away from Smalltalk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Distilled Knowledge 2 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
This book is amazing, it takes a vast subject area and condenses it down into a very small, perfectly readable format. It is basically a walkthrough of all the things you should be doing in your code and why. The fact that it's in smalltalk makes it a little more difficult to understand, but it's worth the effort to learn it, although the messages are easily understood without.
If you're a professional programmer you really should own this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not only for Smalltalk 5 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
but also for polymorphic messages and object-oriented programs in general. The book is worth it for not only the short, succinct code examples, where Smalltalk really shines, but also for the preface and introduction, which goes straight to the point, how perception of programming and its role shapes how you think about and approach the activity of programming. I have found its examples useful not only in the context of other object-oriented programming languages, but even for programming languages in other paradigms, and programming in general. It is not just about "low-level design" or programming idioms, but how you think about your day-to-day activities in programming. It does this without becoming philosophical, and instead does it by showing code examples with just enough explanation to get an understanding of the rest.

I have found it much better the later book "Implementation Patterns" by the same author, which is just a lexicon of low-level idioms, which any programmer knows by heart, i.e. by doing, and doesn't stir the reflexions of the art of programming that this book does. It is difficult to pin-point the significant difference between the two books, but this one seems more pure hearted, not afraid, neither conventional nor industrial or dry, more fun, and coherent like a hard diamond in language, style, and examples. It is simply beautiful without being fashionable or flashy. While being a lexicon, it is more like a great disposition of small articles where the organization is as important as the content, and it has some of that flavor that the old Basic introductions of the 1980'ies had, the flavor of curiosity, fun, inspiration, and it leads by example and encouragement rather than dictating and advising in a misguided professional tone that so many other books do.

It reminded why programming is enjoyable when you leave out everything else that doesn't add to its fullfillment and satisfaction.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for SmallTalkers 9 Oct 2000
By Dennis Decker Jensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although I've never used SmallTalk and have read only a couple of on-line introduction chapters on Dolphin SmallTalk, I had no problems reading it and applying the patterns in another language like Java, C++ or Python.
Let me put it simple: If you want to learn to think in objects, don't just read the book, do it!
If you have read "Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code" by Martin Fowler et al. then you'll recognize the thougts presented in this book. In this book the patterns are close to refactorings with a bunch of simple, good, readable and understandable advices to just about every little thing - it's more than a simple style guide: You'll always get told what the raison d'etre is - and if not, where to look for it.
I'm currently using the book as a reference for style of OOP. From a teaching point of view, the book is also extremely useful. Kent Beck likes to ask quistions in a heuristic manner. Because of the simple approach to every day experiences of developing, all the way down to the experiences of beginners, you won't have any trouble answering these quistions. In fact you'll probably start asking quistions to yourself likewise because of the magnicifent way this mind trick works for your way of thinking in objects (or otherwise).
As a developer - doing these patterns - you'll be amazed at how much little things can mean in a much bigger and more complex context, when you develop systems applying OO - especially huge systems.
I am compelled to repeat: Don't just buy it, do it!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the title scare you away 27 Jan 1999
By John Vlissides (vlis@watson.ibm.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns isn't just for Smalltalkers---there's something here for everyone who programs. Kent's insights, experiences, and raw wit are as entertaining as they are enlightening. If you have any passion for programming, in any language, buy this book. Read it. Live it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful coding guidelines for beginners and the experienced 25 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Before I read Kent's book, my team had a Smalltalk coding guidelines document, a boring, cluncky text that didn't seem to help beginners write good code (mostly there so project quality plans could reference it). After I read Kent's book, I wrote a few team-specific points in the margins and declared it our new coding guidelines document.
Kent's book is a pleasant, readable mix of the obvious that beginners need to know and the clever that experienced Smalltalkers can still learn from. I was surprised at the absence of Booby Woolf's strategy for classifying instance variables (as identity, status or cache; see The Smalltalk Report, June 96) and at how little there was on protocol naming. Otherwise, it seems to cover almost everything at its chosen level (which complements, instead of competing with, that of books like the Smalltalk Design Patterns Companion).
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! One of my favorites. 20 April 2000
By LostInTokyo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought this book years ago from McGraw-Hill in NYC,...but I'd gladly pay double...for it today - don't be fooled by the fact that there are only 240 pages to this small, softcover book. The patterns are concise and the examples, priceless. Although I love Gamma's Design Patterns, if I were forced to be stuck on an island with one choice, it'd easily be Beck's BPP.
I currently use C++ on UNIX in practice (wish there were more Smalltalk & Objective-C jobs out there), but I would still highly recommend this book for any OO-Practitioner: the lessons here can be applied to many different scenarios.
Take this chance to observe the beauty of PURE OO - concise code with the semantic richness and clarity reminiscent of poetry... ...alas, if only code at work were so well crafted!
This is a handbook of OO Programming. Patterns are broken into the following categories: Behavior, State, Collections, Classes, and Formatting. Each pattern is given a question/problem that the pattern answers/solves and references to other patterns are shown with page numbers.
It's definitely one of those rare books that I return to over and over again... ...a classic.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Smalltalk book 19 Jun 1998
By Larry Trutter (ltrutter@inw.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book that all Smalltalkers should have. This book should be helpful for beginners in avoiding common programming mistakes.
I am using this book heavily for all software projects I'm in. Instead of wasting time on deciding how to code things, just look at the patterns, then decide and code. The patterns presented in the book simplify software code maintaintenance.
With a little work, many patterns in this book can apply to Java as well.
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