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Head First Design Patterns: A Brain-Friendly Guide

Eric Freeman, Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra, Elisabeth Robson · 7 HN comments
HN Books has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention "Head First Design Patterns: A Brain-Friendly Guide" by Eric Freeman, Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra, Elisabeth Robson.
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Amazon Summary
What’s so special about design patterns? At any given moment, someone struggles with the same software design problems you have. And, chances are, someone else has already solved your problem. This edition of Head First Design Patterns—now updated for Java 8—shows you the tried-and-true, road-tested patterns used by developers to create functional, elegant, reusable, and flexible software. By the time you finish this book, you’ll be able to take advantage of the best design practices and experiences of those who have fought the beast of software design and triumphed. What’s so special about this book? We think your time is too valuable to spend struggling with New concepts. Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First Design Patterns uses a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep.
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Head First Design Patterns: A Brain-Friendly Guide

I used to like Thinking in Java [1], but not sure how it holds up now, I think I read the first the edition.

I enjoyed reading the headfirst patterns book as a refresher

[1] [2]

I've seen multiple people mention the GoF's Design Patterns book. This is well known and worth several reads through; it will take multiple passes to grok all of it.

There are several other books that have tried to explain the GoF's Design Patterns in either an easier to approach manner, or in the context of a specific language they have tried to explain where new design patterns have emerged or the original patterns had mutated.

A couple of those worth checking out are

"Head First Design Patterns"

"Design Patterns In Ruby"

"Learning JavaScript Design Patterns"

Learn about Design Patterns, they will force you to really use Java's features such as Interfaces and Abstract Classes, accessibility modifiers (public, private, protected) and others. That is the method I use when tutoring individuals in similar situations as yours that want to get back into Java specifically.

I recommend the Head First Design Patterns book if you're not turned off by the less-than serious nature of it. I really did not like the book at first glance, but after actually working through some of it as instructed I enjoyed it and really developed a solid understanding. Simple examples like Vending Machines and Washers really helped me, I still use them in my head when thinking about problems. Design Patterns are not always the best solution and forcing them on problems can make things worse, but as far as teaching Java I really recommend it.

I also recommend learning about Test Driven Development as previously suggested, we use JUnit4 to teach our undergrads at my university. There are also other methods of testing besides TDD, but I feel it was the easiest to help students.

TDD is a very valuable practice. We've used it for years. Please see this resource that I have found useful:
Mar 06, 2011 · cletus on Design Patterns in the JDK
> check out the GoF book

Oh dear God, that's the last thing he should do. That book is so incredibly dull. It makes Death Valley look like a lush rain forest.

Might I suggest Head First Design Patterns [1] as a good introductory alternative that won't sap his will to live.


Thank you to both of you. I own and have read both - I agree they are excellent. My question was however not concerning design patterns, but architectural patterns, such as MVC, Blackboard or a layering.

I found the collection of concrete examples/applications of design patterns interesting, and wondered if anyone knew of a similar collection of examples/application of common architectural patterns.

Since you say you are a novice, I'd recommend Head First Design Patterns:

Do not jump in with the GoF Design Pattern book. :)

I'd suggest starting a little closer to the beginning:

Head First C# [1st choice because the program exercises are far more interesting] or Head First Java [which is pretty dull]

Learn Python the Hard Way would be my choice for learning old school style.

The Head First books are a great idea, but to me they force too much of their way to learning instead of just presenting the information. I'm sure that is helpful to some... but it just gives me a headache when I try to read through them.
I thought that book was very well done, in terms of getting its lessons into your head -- but the lessons gave poor advice on the subject. (I don't remember specifics, it's been years.)
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