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Head First Design Patterns 1st Edition

485 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 000-0596007124
ISBN-10: 0596007124
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Editorial Reviews


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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Product Details

  • Series: Head First
  • Paperback: 694 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596007124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596007126
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (485 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

289 of 310 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on November 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
At first I didn't understand how they would apply the Head First formula to design patterns. I'd read two head first before this one and I was impressed with those so I took a look and now, not only is it clear how they approached the topic, it's also clear to me that this is the best way to learn design patterns.

The Gang of Four book laid out the basics. Here is the pattern, here are some examples. The head first book goes a lot further. They show you good and bad examples of the pattern. They give solid reasoning behind the pattern. It's great.

There are times when I would look at a piece of code and have the author explain to me that it was based on one of the GoF patterns. I would come away thinking, if that's the pattern, then that pattern sucks. It's clear that patterns can be misapplied. So understanding the the how design patterns are applied, and how they are commonly applied wrongly, or to an extreme, is just as important as understanding the basic mechanics of the pattern itself.

The example code is in Java, but I think this is an ideal book for anyone passionate about patterns.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Thompson on December 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Head first books tend to polarize readers I feel: you either love the unique methodology of the books or you hate it. They are extremely visual, often hilarious, and require you to do various activities to engage more fully with the content. This is similar to the traditional teaching methdology in mathematics: motivating example -> theory -> example -> your turn. This I find as a teacher, is a strong (pedagogical approach) methodology, particularly if you can make it fun, interesting and engaging. I, like the masses, like Head First Books (I have Servlets & JSP as well as this one. I have also read tracts of Java).

Anyway, that aside, the book provides a solid inroduction to selected design patterns- it doesn't cover all the GoF patterns. It contains (in order)

* Strategy

* Observer

* Decorator

* Factory

* Singleton

* Command

* Adapter and Facade

* Template

* Iterator and Composite

* State

* Proxy

* Compound Patterns

* Living better with Patterns

If you have no experience with patterns, I recommend this as a good Intro to the MasterWork by the GoF-> Design Patterns, Elements of reusuable Oject-oriented software IBSN: 0201633612. From personal experience, I found after reading the Head First pattern, I could pick up the GoF book, look at the same pattern and understand it with virtually no problems.

I have no hesitation recommending this book, if you like the Head First way, championed by Kathy Sierra. If you don't like apparent frivolity (I say apparent because there is an ulterior motive to this frivolity-> engagement.
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122 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Unlike a lot of people, I don't care much for this book's 'irreverent' sytle. I think it masks some shortcoming in the examples it uses. But once you get past that, this is still the best introduction to object-oriented programming that I have read.

HFDP is not just about design patterns. It's a great introduction to object-oriented programming. The book does a great job of explaining the benefits of OOP over traditional procedural programming, and it explains OOP very well in terms of the most commonly used design patterns.

Now for the bad news. The examples are rather lightweight. They do a pretty good job of illustrating the concepts presented, but the code is in no way real-world. For example, if you are looking for which pattern to use to organize a UI (the 'Mediator', 'State', and 'Composite' patterns), with sample code, you won't find it here. The patterns are discussed, but they are used to create quacking ducks (really).

While that's by-and-large a shortcoming of the book, the code is so simple that non-Java programmers (like me) should have no problem using the book. The code samples are very basic, and should translate with little difficulty into .NET languages such as C# and VB.

One other item of note--this book contains a pretty good chapter on Model-View-Controller architecture, which seems to bedevil a lot of people. If you can get a handle on MVC, then you can pretty much do OOP.

In short, this is probably the book I would recommend as an intro to OOP. If you are under the age of 30, you will probably like the examples of quacking duck simulators and java-enabled gumball machines. For everybody else--it's worth looking past this book's insufferable cuteness if you are getting started in OOP.
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240 of 274 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wuehler on November 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Usually when reading through a book or article on design patterns I'd have to occasionally stick myself in the eye with something just to make sure I was paying attention. Not with this book. Odd as it may sound, this book makes learning about design patterns fun.

The first thing you notice is the pages are not paragraph after paragraph of information. There isn't a single page that doesn't contain a doodle, a sidebar, a picture, or something different. While at times it can be a little distracting, it's in a good way (at least I don't have to poke myself with something sharp anymore).

The chapters cover various design patterns and along the way have exercises such as crossword puzzles or match games to test your understanding. The answers are also included at the end of the chapters - so you don't need to purchase a "Teacher's Edition" on the black market. =)

Other books on design patterns are saying, "Buehler... Buehler... Buehler..." while this book is on the float belting out "Shake it up, baby!"
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