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Book Reviews: Object Design

Agents Unleashed

May 20, 2004
Wayner, AP Professional, 1995
Amazing thing is, he describes agents, as were fashionable back then, using the wrong examples. What everyone did back then was imagine roving agents doing your shopping on the net, haggling over prices, coming back with the goods. It's still very unclear to me what "coming back" means in a permanently connected world. And why in the world it would be an advantage. But, replace the purchase bots with medical records, and you've got something here. Medical records are really "out there" on their own and may stay dormant for many years on obscure media. If these records took an active part in their own propagation and survival, it would be very meaningful. The examples are written for XLisp (a kind of Lisp interpreter), and the whole is pretty readable. There's also a floppy included, if you're that kind of person. (No comments yet)

Object Oriented Design

May 20, 2004
Booch, Benjamin/Cummings, 1991
One of the real original basic tremendously important books. And like most other of that ilk, not really essential anymore. Also, UML and time has done it in, largely. But it does look good on the shelf. (No comments yet)

Design Patterns

May 20, 2004
Gamma, Addison-Wesley, 1995
This is the famous "Gang of four" book. It started (as far as I know) the whole pattern thing. It's already obvious that patterns are the next step in abstracting the software development process. It's also obvious that it isn't ready for general consumption. The templated form the patterns are presented in, seems stilted, boring and difficult to me. Hopefully, there'll be a kind of pattern language some time in the future, simplifying this process. Meanwhile, the patterns presented in this book are widely and wildly useful, making this book a (boring) must-read. Sorry, but you just have to grit your teeth, eat your vegetables and read this book. (1 comment)
Design patterns rock my world (nevelsteen)
June 18, 2004
 I have had the book an age and a day and I finally got around to reading it. And to my surprise ... WOW... DOUBLE WOW even. I tried two patterns in a small little proggie I was writing and I found them to be powerful. My thoughts immediately jumped to one of my previous projects with the statement, "Geeze, that would have solved my complexity problem in that project with ease.". The "State" pattern solves the mess you get when you have to safe guard each function by checking the state of the class members. ICK! I have been forced to do it TOO much. Finally a sexy solution. The "Command" pattern was nice as well. I was already half aware of it, but to see it all worked out was a gift. Basically a replacement for callback functions in procedural languages. And of course there are another 30 odd patterns in the book as well. I knew this book would be a treasure when I bought it. Worth keeping around until I had the time to read it. -KiM :smart:

Anti Patterns

May 20, 2004
Brown, Wiley, 1998
Even though Mowbray (one of the authors) used to strike me as singularly humourless (see Essential Corba), this book is fun to read. It's not, as I initially thought, an "anti-gang-of-four" book, but rather a description of patterns found in development teams, software designs and companies, that spell doom for projects. Just as the gang-of-four book classifies problems into patterns, which can then be used to apply design patterns to, this book classifies situations into patterns and tells you which ones you can solve, and which you can't. Or how difficult they will be. (No comments yet)

AntiPatterns and Patterns in Software Configuration Managem.

May 20, 2004
Brown, Wiley, 1999
More or less the same guys as the preceding "Antipatterns" book, but the content is totally different. Nothing in this book struck me as very original or interesting. On the other hand, maybe it would if I'd ever learned exactly what "Software Configuration Management" is. And I have to admit that the authors, in the introduction, do stress that you must have such a background. Still, this book was a disappointment to me. (August 2000) (No comments yet)

Object Models, Coad

May 20, 2004
Yourdon Press, 1995
There's a more recent edition out now, but I don't know what the difference may be. Anyhow, this is the book that made the concept of objects in requirements and analysis space penetrate my mind. Like, when you first start out describing the objects in the problem domain, it's very difficult to figure out exactly what is best described as an object and what not. This book is loaded with real world cases and entertaining dialogs between the author and fictive customers aka domain experts. Included with the book is a nifty little freeware/shareware analysis diagrammer for the object symbolism used in the book. It's slightly quaint in that it's in smalltalk and has weird runtime problems. Doesn't print well either. But there aren't many programs out there to draw object diagrams in, so it's more than useful. (No comments yet)