Top positive review
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Great book on concurrent system design.
on March 24, 2017
I read this book briefly in the past. But recently, I have thoroughly re-studied this book in about two months time. The book is an old grandma book in the computer age. But interestingly, the ideas and design principles are still very applicable when working on complex concurrent systems. The patterns described in the book such as Active Object/Proactor/Async Completion Token/Interceptor/Half Sync & Half Async are used extensively in my daily work. By reading the book, I have a new level of understanding on these patterns.
That being said, the author has been very wordy when explaining a simple idea and some of the examples are bit confusing. To fully grasp the ideas of the patterns, readers need patience and might have to review it a few times. More importantly, the examples used to illustrate patterns are tightly tied to a particular OS feature and make the pattern less meaningful in a broad sense. In fact, many patterns described in the book can be applied to a wider and more general context. For example, Acceptor/Connector can be applied to telephony application e.g. SIP or P2P communications systems to model the initiator and receiver. The Proactor/Async Completion Token can be applied to build electronic trading system where orders are filled asynchronously, also async operation processor within the Proactor can be implemented in the application level. In addition, the downloadable papers from author's web site explain acceptor/connector and leader/follower patterns (e.g. Bound variant etc) better than the book though the book explains other patterns well.
Comparing with GOF book, this book has illustrated some of the architectural level patterns which minimize locking and increase the efficiency for concurrent system. Surprisingly, this book receives much less reviews comparing to GOF design pattern books which is more related to micro level design strategies. I believe that this book is heavily under-rated.
After finishing the book, I like the book very much and bought a used one for a much cheaper price than the original $90 so I can have all patterns in one collection. Overall, it is a great book and highly recommended.