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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis » User review

How to avoid a rut in software development

  • Jan 9, 2000
In 1994, a book was published that caused a mini-revolution in the field of software development. The book was _Design Patterns_ by Gamma et. al. Their approach was to describe software in terms of patterns, which are abstractions that are more general than a standard algorithm. Since that time, a small but growing band of individuals have made great progress in the codification and application of patterns. Preliminary indications are that properly understood, and it is problematic that anyone really does at this time, and applied patterns will have a substantial affect on software development.
An antipattern is a pattern that has negative consequences when applied. This ranges from the antipattern that almost always leads to a negative consequence to those that are generally positive, but lead to negative results when used in the wrong context. One example is the Cut-and Paste Programming antipattern. We all have benefited from the use of cut and paste and we have all suffered when we used it in an inappropriate situation. Many such examples are given, and fortunately for us all, for each antipattern the authors provide instructions on how to recognize it, what causes it and how to cure it. Anyone who has worked in software development has experienced one or more of these problems.
In keeping with a negative often being more significant than a positive, it is quite possible that the study of antipatterns will yield more substantial results than similar effort being expended elsewhere. That is why I included this book in my list of best books of the year that appeared in the September, 1999 issue of _Journal of Object-Oriented Programming_.

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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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If patterns are good ideas that can be re-applied to new situations,AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisislooks 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 ...

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ISBN-10: 0471197130
ISBN-13: 978-0471197133
Author: William J. Brown
Publisher: Wiley

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