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AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis 1st Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471197133
ISBN-10: 0471197130
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 3, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471197130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471197133
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #715,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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's Design Patterns book. (In which case they would have been better off with "Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture: A System of Patterns.") 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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
I was very anxiuos about reading this book. Before of purchasing it, I had already read some info and presentations on the web (c2 wiki, antippaterns site, etc.). I already knew the catalog and i'd like it very much.
But the book...what can i say of the book? first of all, I found it quite boring and verbose. The same could have been sayed using half of the words or maybe less...
In the book I've found a couple of annoying things:
- The authors quote themselves ALL the time
- The solution to ALL architecture antipatterns (and software as well) includes a reference to CORBA, OMG IDL or open systems...There are more things in the world! What can we, developers in sin, that don't use open systems or corba do?!?!
- They never do quote the GoF work, altough in same cases it would be very helpful, instructive and fair. In turn, they quote to their CORBA patterns book
- They only quote the GoF to say that their patterns are complex and that antipatterns are easier and funnier. Couldn't disagree more on this!
- There are some contradictory ideas throughout the book
- They are doing themselfs in some of the antipatterns (I would not say which ones, but after a quick read is easy to guess ;))
- The second chapter, the reference model, is very boring and with lots of unnecesary rethoric
- In fact, all the book is full of unnecesary and unpleasant rethoric stuff
- After reading the book from cover to cover, I realized that just reading the "Appendix A" I would had enough
- The name of the book is tricky. They don't say nothing about CORBA, but inside the book they say that this is the companion book of "CORBA Design Patterns"
- Many of the solutions are biased
- Their concept about refactoring is quite "fuzzy"...
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