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AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis [Paperback]

William J. Brown , Raphael C. Malveau , Hays W. "Skip" McCormick , Thomas J. Mowbray
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 3, 1998 0471197130 978-0471197133 1
"The AntiPatterns authors have clearly been there and done that when it comes to managing software development efforts. I resonated with one insight after another, having witnessed too many wayward projects myself. The experience in this book is palpable." -John Vlissides, IBM Research "This book allows managers, architects, and developers to learn from the painful mistakes of others. The high-level AntiPatterns on software architecture are a particularly valuable contribution to software engineering. Highly recommended!" -Kyle Brown Author of The Design Patterns Smalltalk Companion "AntiPatterns continues the trend started in Design Patterns. The authors have discovered and named common problem situations resulting from poor management or architecture control, mistakes which most experienced practitioners will recognize. Should you find yourself with one of the AntiPatterns, they even provide some clues on how to get yourself out of the situation." -Gerard Meszaros, Chief Architect, Object Systems Group Are you headed into the software development mine field? Follow someone if you can, but if you're on your own-better get the map! AntiPatterns is the map. This book helps you navigate through today's dangerous software development projects. Just look at the statistics:
* Nearly one-third of all software projects are cancelled.
* Two-thirds of all software projects encounter cost overruns in excess of 200%.
* Over 80% of all software projects are deemed failures.
While patterns help you to identify and implement procedures, designs, and codes that work, AntiPatterns do the exact opposite; they let you zero-in on the development detonators, architectural tripwires, and personality booby traps that can spell doom for your project. Written by an all-star team of object-oriented systems developers, AntiPatterns identifies 40 of the most common AntiPatterns in the areas of software development, architecture, and project management. The authors then show you how to detect and defuse AntiPatterns as well as supply refactored solutions for each AntiPattern presented.

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AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis + Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software + Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition
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Editorial Reviews Review

If patterns are good ideas that can be re-applied to new situations, AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis looks at what goes wrong in software development, time and time again. This entertaining and often enlightening text defines what seasoned developers have long suspected: despite advances in software engineering, most software projects still fail to meet expectations--and about a third are cancelled altogether.

The authors of AntiPatterns draw on extensive industry experience, their own and others, to help define what's wrong with software development today. They outline reasons why problem patterns develop (such as sloth, avarice, and greed) and proceed to outline several dozen patterns that can give you headaches or worse.

Their deadliest hit list begins with the Blob, where one object does most of the work in a project, and Continuous Obsolescence, where technology changes so quickly that developers can't keep up. Some of the more entertaining antipatterns include the Poltergeist (where do-nothing classes add unnecessary overhead), the Boat Anchor (a white elephant piece of hardware or software bought at great cost) and the Golden Hammer (a single technology that is used for every conceivable programming problem). The authors then proceed to define antipatterns oriented toward management problems with software (including Death by Planning and Project Mismanagement, along with several miniature antipatterns, that help define why so many software projects are late and overbudget).

The authors use several big vendors' technologies as examples of today's antipatterns. Luckily, they suggest ways to overcome antipatterns and improve software productivity in "refactored solutions" that can overcome some of these obstacles. However, this is a realistic book, a mix of "Dilbert" and software engineering. A clever antidote to getting too optimistic about software development, AntiPatterns should be required reading for any manager facing a large-scale development project. --Richard Dragan

From the Publisher

Patterns are popular in software development and used to identify different types of procedures, designs, or codes that work. AntiPatterns are the exact opposite. They target common mistakes, errors, and people issues that can cause a software project to fail. Despite its negative sounding name, the positive benefits of AntiPatterns are enormous. This book discusses what AntiPatterns are and then provides practical guidelines on how to detect AntiPatterns and the refactored solutions that correct them. The authors discuss over 40 different AntiPatterns in the areas of software development, architecture, and project management.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 3, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471197130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471197133
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Tom Mowbray is the author of a new John Wiley & Sons book:
Cybersecurity: Managing Networks, Conducting Tests, and Investigating Intrusions
November 2013

Written explicitly to be the core hands-on textbook for Network Security courses at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels. At the time of writing, no other textbook served this purpose, and cybersecurity professors in 2 and 4 year colleges were teaching from their own hand cobbled notes. How can we ever scale cybersecurity defenses to the necessary levels to defend America and the civil society... with no textbook?

This new book is a useful handbook for cybersecurity professionals and colleagues new to the field. The book covers an amazing breadth and depth of topics, with advanced coverage of Windows/Linux/Python network programming and Advanced Log Analysis (with downloadable scripts); rare skills in the workforce, but extremely useful in penetration testing and cyber network defense.

BIO: Thomas J. Mowbray, PhD, holds gold-level certification from the SANS Institute in network penetration and ethical hacking. Dr. Mowbray who has earned a doctorate in computer science, has co-authored 5 other professional books, including Wiley's bestseller: Antipatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis. After founding the Northrup Grumman Cyber Warfare Community of Practice, Dr. Mowbray joined the Certification and Accreditation Team (an elite cybersecurity test group) as their network administrator, security tools customizer, and hands-on penetration tester. At the time of writing, Dr. Mowbray is the Chief Enterprise Architect of The Ohio State University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let this book be what it is. December 11, 2001
By A Customer
I can't believe the number of reviews on this site that compared the book to Design Patterns from GOF. If you bought it expecting the same, write yourself the one-star review. This book does have some problems, but it really does a whole lot of things very well.
- It's easy, and fun, to read. The authors expertly inject humor and life into a dead topic. A dull book with good ideas will rot on the shelf.
- It provides a fresh, new angle that has value. We programmers do not learn enough from war stories told around the water cooler.
- It provides the other side of the design pattern. You really do need both, and this industry needed someone to take a stab at creating a template for antipatterns. Consider health care. You need diagnostics and preventative care. Ditto for auto maintenance. Operations research has been built around building models that work while trouble shooting the kinks in a system. The authors did a noble job of seeing the vacuum and stepping up to fill it.
I find it incredible that this book has been slammed for something that it does not pretend to be. If you wrote a one star review because this book was not the second coming of the Design Patterns book, then shame on you. What you will get is a humerous look at some very real problems around software development. The bias is clearly toward project management, and that is a appropriate for a first book on antipatterns. That much was clear to me from browsing the book for a minute or two. Great job, team.
If I had a criticism, it would be that the contributions from the four authors were not better coordinated. After writing two books with two additional co-authors each, I can testify that it is a difficult problem to solve. Still, better coordination could have helped. Five stars for the writing style and the concept. That's why this book is a smashing success.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, usable guide to project management August 19, 1999
By A Customer
Perhaps the title of this book is unfortunate, given the fact that those who have posted bad reviews here seem to have expected it to be an extension of the GoF Design Patterns book. (In which case they would have been better off with the GoV A System of Patterns book.) All such expectations aside, however, this book is an enjoyable guide to project management that is well worth reading. As for the criticism that it is nothing more than common sense packaged as wisdom, I would argue that common sense is nothing more than applied wisdom, and the common sense this book aims to teach is sadly lacking in too many companies today (hence the existence and popularity of Dilbert).
BTW, the reviewer who attributed the quote, "there is nothing new under the sun" to Shakespeare might be amused, given the nature of the quote itself, to find that it was originally written by Solomon (in Ecclesiastes 1:9), quite some time prior to Shakespeare! There is nothing new, indeed.
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79 of 96 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better idea than execution December 27, 2000
By baylor
OK, i *know* i'm going to get beaten up for picking on a classic like this, but i just did something most people i know who own this book never do - i read the whole thing cover to cover. And here's what i learned - the authors are not very intelligent, the book is hopelessly biased towards the author's preferences (OOP and extreme programming; it also seemed CORBA heavy, but i'm not sure they actually implied CORBA was the best), the format or the way they used it was worthless, most of the points they make are unjustified (and wrong) assertions and the authors love to talk about things they have no background or experience in (a good chunk of the book is spent in an amateurish attempt at psychology, telling you about the personal insecurities and what not of people you don't like)
Bottom line, after reading this, there's nothing you can really do to change your projects or your software
i don't expect you to believe me, so let me quote some pieces of the book
Problem: email is bad because it puts things in writing. Solution: don't use it for criticism. Quote: "e-mail discussion groups send dozens of postings on all kinds of topics, including the trivial and nonessential. These lengthy discussions are time-consuming and labor-intensive."
Antipattern: Irrational Managment. Refactored Solution: Rational Decision Making. Quote: "the manager may have... personality limitations that cause them to be ineffective or irrational managers... Refactored Solution... 1. Admit you have a problem and get help."
Antipattern: Functional Decomposition. Refactored Solution: Object Oriented Reengineering. Symptoms and Consequences: "- An incredibly degenerate architecture that completely misses the point of object-oriented architecture.
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52 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT a book on architectural patterns September 4, 2001
- This book is on process and *NOT* architecture.
- It is for managers and not for developers.
- It concentrates primarily on project management issues.
- The book is filled with personal opinion.
- It is spotted with questionable "anicdotal" evidence.
- It will not save a project in crisis--but maybe the next project.
- Less than half of the book is even worth reading.
Anyone looking for a companion to the GoF Design Patterns book will be *sorely* disappointed in AntiPatterns. This is not a "bad apples" version of architecture patterns. Instead, it devotes itself to describing symptoms resulting from failed or missing processes. As far as being a process book, it's barely average. It has some good insights and might help a manager spot emerging problems, but much of the advise is too generalized to be of much applied use.
You can tell that this book was written by four seperate people. One of them did an outstanding job (making about 1/4 of the book 5 stars). He describes solutions with detail and clarity. One does a decent job. Two of them are clearly jargon blowhards who have trouble completing a thought. Their chapters offer no detailed advice on what action to take but rather generalize and summarize on vague remedies. For instance, "put more money into architecture" is one fortune cookie they offer.
I wish they had a critical eye preview the book and point out all of their holes -- both in supportive argument and in solution description. Often times a paragraph introduces a concept, and the author neither explains it nor offers any futher reading.
The book is spotted with questionable "evidence" supporting their opinions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Off target for what I was after
I'd previously bought the Management Anti-patterns book, which is excellent. There were a couple of references to this book that intrigued me, so I followed up and got this one. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Paul Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars insightful
Anybody who has ever been in a large group and tried to get something accomplished will appreciate this book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good lay of the land and hope for the future of software...
AntiPatterns brings to light a previously unaddressed problem with the way software is currently developed. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Aaron S Vannatter
4.0 out of 5 stars Reality in front of us
This book showed me the reality: problems in management and development. And then a solution appears to every problem. These problems repeat again and again over time. Read more
Published on April 18, 2011 by Alexis Henríquez
5.0 out of 5 stars lots of good stuff
A must read, in addition to reading "Design Patterns". A good compilation of reasons and events why many software projects fail in our days. Read more
Published on April 24, 2007 by Baskin I. Tapkan
3.0 out of 5 stars worth a read
This book starts slowly. I put it down more than once before I got as far as the catalog of anti-patterns. Read more
Published on March 26, 2007 by Greg Klinkel
4.0 out of 5 stars helps to improve situation in software projects
I bought this book eight years ago in January 1999.

At that time I was employed with a company, which had

several anti patterns in use. Read more
Published on January 22, 2007 by Edward Zeh
4.0 out of 5 stars The dark side of software development
Developers might say that the many chapters in this book about managing (projects) makes it a management book. Read more
Published on November 6, 2005 by Simon Laub
2.0 out of 5 stars And the next thing you know your momma is a pattern
Printed in 1998 this book is likely to have been in the works in 1996-1997, the very beginning of the patterns movement. Read more
Published on July 17, 2005 by Dmitry Dvoinikov
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start
Now that Design Patterns have been in the main stream for a decade or so, the idea is ready for rejuvenation. "Antipatterns" does a good job at its part of that update. Read more
Published on April 25, 2004 by wiredweird
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