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Implementation Patterns [Paperback]

by Kent Beck
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 2, 2007 0321413091 978-0321413093 1

“Kent is a master at creating code that communicates well, is easy to understand, and is a pleasure to read. Every chapter of this book contains excellent explanations and insights into the smaller but important decisions we continuously have to make when creating quality code and classes.”

Erich Gamma, IBM Distinguished Engineer

 

“Many teams have a master developer who makes a rapid stream of good decisions all day long. Their code is easy to understand, quick to modify, and feels safe and comfortable to work with. If you ask how they thought to write something the way they did, they always have a good reason. This book will help you become the master developer on your team. The breadth and depth of topics will engage veteran programmers, who will pick up new tricks and improve on old habits, while the clarity makes it accessible to even novice developers.”

Russ Rufer, Silicon Valley Patterns Group

 

“Many people don’t realize how readable code can be and how valuable that readability is. Kent has taught me so much, I’m glad this book gives everyone the chance to learn from him.”

Martin Fowler, chief scientist, ThoughtWorks

 

“Code should be worth reading, not just by the compiler, but by humans. Kent Beck distilled his experience into a cohesive collection of implementation patterns. These nuggets of advice will make your code truly worth reading.”

Gregor Hohpe, author of Enterprise Integration Patterns

 

“In this book Kent Beck shows how writing clear and readable code follows from the application of simple principles. Implementation Patterns will help developers write intention revealing code that is both easy to understand and flexible towards future extensions. A must read for developers who are serious about their code.”

Sven Gorts

 

Implementation Patterns bridges the gap between design and coding. Beck introduces a new way of thinking about programming by basing his discussion on values and principles.”

Diomidis Spinellis, author of Code Reading and Code Quality

 

Software Expert Kent Beck Presents a Catalog of Patterns Infinitely Useful for Everyday Programming

 

Great code doesn’t just function: it clearly and consistently communicates your intentions, allowing other programmers to understand your code, rely on it, and modify it with confidence. But great code doesn’t just happen. It is the outcome of hundreds of small but critical decisions programmers make every single day. Now, legendary software innovator Kent Beck–known worldwide for creating Extreme Programming and pioneering software patterns and test-driven development–focuses on these critical decisions, unearthing powerful “implementation patterns” for writing programs that are simpler, clearer, better organized, and more cost effective.

 

Beck collects 77 patterns for handling everyday programming tasks and writing more readable code. This new collection of patterns addresses many aspects of development, including class, state, behavior, method, collections, frameworks, and more. He uses diagrams, stories, examples, and essays to engage the reader as he illuminates the patterns. You’ll find proven solutions for handling everything from naming variables to checking exceptions.

 

This book covers

  • The value of communicating through code and the philosophy behind patterns
  • How and when to create classes, and how classes encode logic
  • Best practices for storing and retrieving state
  • Behavior: patterns for representing logic, including alternative paths
  • Writing, naming, and decomposing methods
  • Choosing and using collections
  • Implementation pattern variations for use in building frameworks

Implementation Patterns will help programmers at all experience levels, especially those who have benefited from software patterns or agile methods. It will also be an indispensable resource for development teams seeking to work together more efficiently and build more maintainable software. No other programming book will touch your day-to-day work more often.


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kent Beck, one of the software industry’s most creative and acclaimed leaders, consistently challenges software engineering dogma and promotes ideas like patterns, test-driven development, and Extreme Programming. Currently affiliated with Three Rivers Institute and Agitar Software, he is the author of many Addison-Wesley titles, including Test-Driven Development (2003) and, with Cynthia Andres, Extreme Programming Explained, Second Edition (2005).

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

This is a book about programming—specifically, about programming so other people can understand your code. There is no magic to writing code other people can read. It’s like all writing—know your audience, have a clear overall structure in mind, express the details so they contribute to the whole story. Java offers some good ways to communicate. The implementation patterns here are Java programming habits that result in readable code.

Another way to look at implementation patterns is as a way of thinking “What do I want to tell a reader about this code?” Programmers spend so much of their time in their own heads that trying to look at the world from someone else’s viewpoint is a big shift. Not just “What will the computer do with this code?” but “How can I communicate what I am thinking to people?” This shift in perspective is healthy and potentially profitable, since so much software development money is spent on understanding existing code.

There is an American game show called Jeopardy in which the host supplies answers and the contestants try to guess the questions. “A word describing being thrown through a window.” “What is ‘defenestration’?” “Correct.”

Coding is like Jeopardy. Java provides answers in the form of its basic constructs. Programmers usually have to figure out for themselves what the questions are, what problems are solved by each language construct. If the answer is “Declare a field as a Set.” the question might be “How can I tell other programmers that a collection contains no duplicates?” The implementation patterns provide a catalog of the common problems in programming and the features of Java that address those problems.

Scope management is as important in book writing as it is in software development. Here are some things this book is not. It is not a style guide because it contains too much explanation and leaves the final decisions up to the reader. It is not a design book because it is mostly concerned with smaller-scale decisions, the kind programmers make many times a day. It’s not a patterns book because the format of the patterns is idiosyncratic and ad hoc (literally “built for a particular purpose”). It’s not a language book because, while it covers many Java language features, it assumes readers already know Java.

Actually this book is built on a rather fragile premise: that good code matters. I have seen too much ugly code make too much money to believe that quality of code is either necessary or sufficient for commercial success or widespread use. However, I still believe that quality of code matters even if it doesn’t provide control over the future. Businesses that are able to develop and release with confidence, shift direction in response to opportunities and competition, and maintain positive morale through challenges and setbacks will tend to be more successful than businesses with shoddy, buggy code.

Even if there was no long-term economic impact from careful coding I would still choose to write the best code I could. A seventy-year lifespan contains just over two billion seconds. That’s not enough seconds to waste on work I’m not proud of. Coding well is satisfying, both the act itself and the knowledge that others will be able to understand, appreciate, use, and extend my work.

In the end, then, this is a book about responsibility. As a programmer you have been given time, talent, money, and opportunity. What will you do to make responsible use of these gifts? The pages that follow contain my answer to this question for me: code for others as well as myself and my buddy the CPU.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (November 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321413091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321413093
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wrong title, outrageous price February 18, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The right title should be something like... "Kent Beck on writing readable code". The word "pattern" is way out of context, and will induce you to expect to find something way more precise, detailed and technical than then general advice that this book has to offer. This text could be considered like a chance to have a chat with Kent Beck discussing his ideas on the importance of writing readable code, and on general guidelines for code clarity and expressiveness. I have seen a review complaining about using Java for the examples, but the truth is, you will see very little code in this book. I am also not very sure of the idea target reader for this work. An experienced programmer has already figured out this general advice by himself, but the level of abstraction and detail is too terse to be useful to a beginner. I believe that more material, more detail and a more tutorial-like style could have made this book a worthwhile read for a junior developer. As it is , I have to say it, but I have to rate it as a pretty useless book. I am a big fan of Kent Beck, I admire his programming style, his 'very good habits' and all his did with the XP movement. Together with Martin Fowler, and Allen Holub he's one of those guys who can really have a deep influence on the way you program and think about Object Oriented programming, but this time he' really been a bit self condescending. And the price.. come on..40 bucks for this? You should be ashamed...
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, Not Great November 25, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off, this is a very thin tome. Which would make you expect a brisk pace, but instead, it's strangely just laconic. A lot of it is so elementary, it is kind of maddening. At one point, Kent tells us that if we need to fetch the time for a number of local variables, we ought use a local variable to 'freeze time.' The biggest problem here, however, is that when the book does turn to a topic that is worthy of some attention, the same paucity produces a feeling of futility: some of idioms, like collecting parameter, for instance, come up. No discussion of how it is a gateway to Visitor, nothing really interesting in fact, just a short little paragraph. Another section on parallel hierarchies ends with the author saying that he figured out how to solve his rather stilted example by introducing a CashFlow object. But he goes on without explaining it. Now, consider the fact that I believe books should ONLY take up topics like that one. This book is greatly confused about who it is for. The reality is this is probably best suited as a tome for people who have been doing basic programming but have not become really mature programmers. The problem is that it only does this in a way that I don't think will help those who have not crossed the bridge to do so. Ironically, I think the main use for this book will be to make people who are doing a lot of these things feel better about it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much material January 10, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pros: Gave me a tiny bit more insight into how a programmer I admire (Beck) thinks. Also the hand-drawn diagrams were intuitivie and easy to grasp.

Cons: Not much material. Book could have been half of its already short length. You sort of got the sense Beck was running out of things to say - the chapter on Collections has graphs of the running times of various collections, and an Appendix is devoted to the code used to create the graphs.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs More Meat March 28, 2008
Format:Paperback
Well written and organized, with a lot of short code fragments to illustrate the main points. However I have agree with the reviewer who suggested that this book should have been titled "Kent Beck on writing readable code". I'd add to this that the book is quite Java specific. Fine with me, but this needs to be pointed out. The book would have been more interesting to me if it documented the different approaches in use (along with their advantages and drawbacks) e.g. for choosing between checked and unchecked exceptions. Instead we get a few general statements about what exceptions are, and some suggestions along the lines of "low-level exceptions should be wrapped with high-level exceptions". The level of detail is often not enough to be interesting for somewhat experienced developers, but the book may be too abstract for beginners. Given the compact size of the book you'll still get good value for your time from reading it. Just don't set your expectations too high -- or expect to get good value for your money...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars this topic from this author deserves a better book August 2, 2008
Format:Paperback
The book is about writing readeable/maintanable code. It's an interesting/important subject.

The first few (1-3) pharagraph is good , they clearly explain the values/principles of the topic.
Then the book tries to apply these pricnciples in a structured way - classes, state, behaviour, methods. This is ok, but there's too much repetition going on. And the examples are very small/specific, some more complex/longer examples would be much better.

Then there's 2 whole paragraph about the performance characteristics of various collections (map,hash,etc.), and the description of the framework used to benchmark them. I don't think it has to do anyhting with the topic of the book, and it was probably included to increase the number of pages (by 30 to 150).

Finally, there's also a chapter "Evlolving Frameworks" which is mostly about JUnit 3->4 improvements done by the author. It's an interesting chapter focusing mainly on compatibility issues related to framworks.

So i think this topic from this author would deserve a much better book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Common sense in writing code
Implementation Patterns is basically a collection of coding-level patterns, whose purpose is to address values defined in the initial theory of programming: communication... Read more
Published on February 13, 2012 by Pietro Martinelli
4.0 out of 5 stars A platform for thought.
I'm not surprised to read reviews of this book claiming it states the obvious. The author writes coherently and intelligibly about the nuances of fundamental architectural element... Read more
Published on December 16, 2011 by anonymous
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for a professional... or a student
I've read a number of books by Mr. Beck; his Extreme Programming and Agile Programming books offer keen bits of insight and advice and are well written.

This book is ... Read more
Published on January 29, 2011 by John F. Meehan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Extra Credit
-Motivation-

The author is Kent Beck. That alone merits at least a thumb-through of any book. Beck's self-described premise of this book is that "good code matters. Read more
Published on April 15, 2010 by Steve Grubbs
2.0 out of 5 stars Much Fluff little Stuff
I agree with both the reviewer who said "An experienced programmer has already figured out this general advice by himself, but the level of abstraction and detail is too terse to... Read more
Published on February 14, 2010 by Donald Ruby
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book on how to communicate effectively with the code
The book contains a number of low-level programming techniques for improving design of a program. Kent Beck is grand master of programming and a great communicator. Read more
Published on January 18, 2009 by Shahzad Bhatti
4.0 out of 5 stars Principles for Maintainable Code
The title is misleading, as the book really isn't "Patterns." This is a good terse summary of principles to apply when writing code that others will need to work with. Read more
Published on October 24, 2008 by Steve Berczuk
4.0 out of 5 stars A mandatory reading for all software developer
Most of the patterns are just common sense but in this case you will also get a practical explanation of its importance. Read more
Published on September 13, 2008 by Nicolás Paez
2.0 out of 5 stars Terse and lack clarity
This book is too terse and the flow of thought is disorganized and lack clarity; at time too vague to know what he is thinking. Read more
Published on August 5, 2008 by B. K. Lau
5.0 out of 5 stars This time Beck talks about patterns "in the small"
I typically enjoy reading pattern's books and this is going to be one of my all-time favorites. This time Beck talks about patterns "in the small", not the traditional kind of... Read more
Published on May 25, 2008 by Foti Massimo
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Is this book similar to Kent's other book, "Smalltalk Best Practice...
Dear Timothy,

I used the same methodology to write this as I did to write Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns. I looked at a lot of code and carefully watched my own practice to determine which patterns best supported communication. All of the text is new although some of the patterns are the same.... Read more
Nov 9, 2007 by Kent Beck |  See all 9 posts
Sourcing Fee???
I have no idea. I haven't ever seen it before. I have asked Amazon but I haven't received an answer.
Oct 18, 2007 by Kent Beck |  See all 3 posts
Alright!!! 10 days until this book is available!!!
http://www.aw-bc.com/catalog/academic/product/0,1144,0321413091,00.html
Oct 13, 2007 by Andreas Guther |  See all 3 posts
When will this book get published?
From Product Details near the top of the product page:
"Addison-Wesley Professional; 1ST edition (November 3, 2006)"
Mar 13, 2007 by Amazon Customer |  See all 3 posts
Estimated arrival
Oh no! I hope this isn't the case! I was about to order it on the 23rd!!!
Oct 21, 2007 by Mark Twain |  See all 2 posts
Well, well, it's still on preorder today! Be the first to reply
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