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on 13 January 2003
The patterns start in chapter five. Ignore the rest of the book on pain of absolute boredom. For example chapter two (32 pages) defines the keywords to be used in catagorising the patterns. Chapter three (9 pages) defines all the ways that patterns are ever written up, probably in order to justify changing it in this book. I notice that most or all the good reviews are by management and consultants, so maybe it works better for them, but I found the engineering antipatterns too few in number and too obvious in solution. Instead try Deathmarch Projects, Writing Solid Code, and Debugging the Development Process. They don't have the magic word "pattern" in the titles, but they're a lot more use.
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on 7 July 1999
This book tries to follow on the success of the wonderful book Design Patterns (Gamma, et. al.) but fails miserably. It's been said in other reviews that this is "common sense packaged as wisdom", and this is not far from the mark.
While some of the anti-patterns are mildly useful -- particularly the ones specifically related to software development itself -- the ones related to project management are so obvious and general that all but the novice will roll his or her eyes back with disbelief that these could be included in a software engineering book.
For instance, the "Corncob Pattern" is a difficult person who causes problems through destructive behaviors and how to work around him or her. It's true that we all run into people like this, but this is supposed to be a book at least _somewhat_ related to software.
They have three patterns that essentially deal with overplanning ("Analysis Paralysis", "Death by Planning", and "Design by Committee"), and while I suppose these are possible, too little planning is much more likely to cause project debacle than too much. In fairness, they do have a not-enough-planning pattern, "Architecture by Implication", though this deals with architecture and not requirements.
Believe it or not, "Irrational Managment" is a "pattern" in an engineering book that discusses what to do if your boss is the problem. This seems to be a topic best left to Dr. Laura, in "Ten Stupid Things Managers Do To Mess Up Your Project".
I was unfortunate enough to read "Anti-Patterns" before "Design Patterns", and the poor quality of the former nearly kept me from reading the latter. These books are simply not in the same league, and some might say not even in the same industry.
Avoid this book unless you have very little real-world experience in the software business.
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on 2 December 2015
In 1994, a book was published that caused a mini-revolution in the field of software development. The book was _Design Patterns_ by Gamma et. al. Their approach was to describe software in terms of patterns, which are abstractions that are more general than a standard algorithm. Since that time, a small but growing band of individuals have made great progress in the codification and application of patterns. Preliminary indications are that properly understood, and it is problematic that anyone really does at this time, and applied patterns will have a substantial affect on software development.
An antipattern is a pattern that has negative consequences when applied. This ranges from the antipattern that almost always leads to a negative consequence to those that are generally positive, but lead to negative results when used in the wrong context. One example is the Cut-and Paste Programming antipattern. We all have benefited from the use of cut and paste and we have all suffered when we used it in an inappropriate situation. Many such examples are given, and fortunately for us all, for each antipattern the authors provide instructions on how to recognize it, what causes it and how to cure it. Anyone who has worked in software development has experienced one or more of these problems.
In keeping with a negative often being more significant than a positive, it is quite possible that the study of antipatterns will yield more substantial results than similar effort being expended elsewhere. That is why I included this book in my list of best books of the year that appeared in the September, 1999 issue of _Journal of Object-Oriented Programming_.
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on 18 July 1998
AntiPatterns: Worth it just for the shear fun of it.
I have never enjoyed reading about the foibles of software development and software project management than reading the AntiPatterns book.
Not only does this book tell you about a number of AntiPatterns, but you also get Patterns or refactored solutions to deal with the AntiPatterns.
I just skimmed the introductory chapters, so I could get to the meat of the book: the AntiPatterns. As you read through them, you will be nodding your head. Quite a number of them are just plain common sense. However, if you have not "Been there, done that", you will truly appreciate them.
I also like the fact they have AntiPatterns at all levels of Software Development. From the Blob: a CLASS that does it ALL, to the CORNCOB: the individual who says: "We must use CORBA". This book will be useful for all participants from the developer to the Project Manager.
I congratulate the authors on an informativ! e and entertaining book!
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on 3 April 1998
Well researched, methodically organized, and convincingly exposed. The book is an intelligent attempt at addressing software development project problems (categorized into Architectural, Developmental, and Managerial), identifying their root causes, and suggesting remedies. And the authors do so without being too philosophical nor prescriptive. If a "pattern" explicates a design approach that works in different contexts, an "antipattern" is a literary form describing a typical solution to a problem that generates decidedly negative consequences. By focusing on failures proactively ("two-thirds of all software projects encounter cost overruns in excess of 200%"), the book makes its readers mindful of the nature and consequences of every single decision in a software project. I relate to every insight in this book. A fantastic read and a permanent reference.
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on 15 September 1998
My experience in reading this book has been very much like: (1) Reading Dilbert -- It's a somewhat fun look at problems all to familiar to experienced developers and managers. (2) Reading someone's viewgraphs after missing the presentation -- The authors attempt to catalog the AntiPatterns, so many ideas are presented in bulleted form. Buzz words are perhaps overused, too. (3) Reading the Bible -- Many sentences are just too abstruse for me. A lot of effort is required to get the (apparently) *deeper* meaning.
The book's greatest, lasting value will be in codifying the many recurring software development problems, and establishing a vocabulary for discussing them. I hope a later edition will correct some of the recondite language.
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VINE VOICEon 20 December 2004
Reviews for "Patterns" books always seem to be highly polarised - "buy it!"/"burn it!".
So, let's be clear about (my opinion of) the purpose of Patterns: it is to generalise just enough to be identifiable & helpful.
This book does that, and uniquely, does it at 3 levels of applicability: so it has help for coders, architects and managers.
The best unique feature is that it helps you decide what NOT to do - a critically important decision! (And how to back-pedal if it's too late...)
Whichever of the roles above you hold, and especially if you've moved between them, this book will give you helpful perspectives on fixing problems you and your colleagues will meet in organisations of 1 or more people.
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on 23 July 2015
Probably the most pointless and boring book on IT I have encountered in the 40 years since I first learned to program (in FORTRAN on the University mainframe).

Not only are the authors masters of "stating the bleeding obvious" they manage to do so in the most boring and long-winded way imaginable, and rarely neglect to use a tired cliche whenever one is available.

Absolutely dire. What is worth saying in this book could have been said in about 30 pages.

Since I bought a copy the price appears to have increased to over 50 GBP. Fifty quid? It is not even worth 50p
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on 20 April 1999
After reading the reviews here on Amazon, I simply had to find out what it was about AntiPatterns that so polarized people.
I'm glad I did. This book has to be the absolute best PATTERNS book I have ever read.
As a software systems consultant in the real world, I loved Design Patterns, but I'm finding that I USE AntiPatterns practically weekly while explaining complex ideas to clients.
It is highly enjoyable to read, steeped with useful insight, and wonderfully illustrated. I hope these guys write more.
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on 13 May 1999
This book was quite a disappointment, especially since I heard so much about it. As Shakespeare said "There is nothing new under the sun" and this book proves it. It's really just putting fancy or cute titles (corncob!) on quite obvious, well-known software development problems. I don't think I saw a new or original thought in it except for the title. Having said all that, it might be a useful introduction to classic, well-known s/w problems for someone new in the field.
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