Skip to main content

Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture For Dummies (Book Review)

When I received a review copy of Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture For Dummies, by Bob Hanmer, one of the leaders in the Patterns community, I was intrigued. Patterns are more complicated to understand than they appear, and I wondered how a book like this could do justice to the topic. I was not disappointed.

This book is one of the few books that is a good tour through the fullness of the patterns universe. It's an easier read than many other books on Patterns, and it covers the basic concepts of what a pattern is, and gives examples of how to use patterns correctly.
The book focuses on the Patterns from the Pattern Oriented Software Architecture series and the classic Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software book. The book wraps up with a tour through the larger pattern world, with examples from patterns in areas such as configuration management, software process, and user interaction.

Patterns are one of the most misunderstood concepts in software. Patterns are more than just what the English language definition of the word implies, and by their nature, Patterns are not novel ideas; you’ve seen them before because they work. Because of the superficial simplicity of Patterns, using software patterns effectively can be tricky. Patterns are more than just the structure of the software. Patterns also involve the context in you apply them, and the problem that you are trying to solve. Newcomers to the concept of patterns also sometimes mistake the number of patterns in a solution with a good solution. This book does a good job of addressing these essential aspect of working with and understanding patterns.

A better title of the book might have been “Using and Understanding Patterns (for Dummies)” since I feel that most readers will walk away from the book with a better understudying of what patterns are, than about how to build architectures, but it’s a good starting point never the less. The first section of the book spends a bit more time than needed on tools and approaches for describing architecture, but the rest of the book is worth a read if you feel that you don’t understand what patterns are.

There are few books that cover that such a broad sweep of the patterns landscape so concisely. When you’re done you’ll want to read more, guided by the resource section at the end of the book. This is a good resource for a software developer who wants to learn more about patterns. Those familiar with patterns, but not patterns beyond the building block Design Patterns will find this book a good reminder that there is more to the patterns universe. This is not as thorough as a guide to architecture patterns as books like Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 1: A System of Patterns are. And it's not meant to be. But if you are looking to understand why you might care about patterns that describe working at a system level, and have not found a good resource to do this yet, this book is worth a read.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Continuous Integration of Python Code with Unit Tests and Maven

My main development language is Java, but I also some work in Python for deployment and related tools. Being a big fan of unit testing I write unit tests in Python using PyUnit. Being a big fan of Maven and Continuous Integration, I really want the  Python unit tests to run as part of the build. I wanted to have a solution that met the following criteria:
Used commonly available pluginsKeep the maven structure of test and src files in the appropriate directories.Have the tests run in the test phase and fail the build when the tests fail.
The simplest approach I came up with to do this was to use the Exec Maven Plugin by adding the following configuration to your (python) project's POM.

<plugin> <groupId>org.codehaus.mojo</groupId> <artifactId>exec-maven-plugin</artifactId> <executions> <execution> <configuration> <executable>python</executable> <workingDirectory>src/test/python</workingDirect…

Displaying Build Numbers in Grails Apps

Being a fan of Continuous Delivery, identifiable builds, and Continuous Integration: I like to deploy web apps with a visible build number, or some other way of identifying the version. For example, having the build number on the login screen for example. In the Maven/Java world, this is straightforward. Or at least I know the idioms. I struggled with this a bit while working on a Grails app,  and wanted to share my solution. There may be other, better, solutions, but the ones I found approaches that didn't quite work they way that I'd hoped.

My requirements were:
To display a build number from my CI tool, where the number was passed in on the command line. In Bamboo, for example you might configure a grails build as
-Dbuild.number=${bamboo.buildNumber} warTo only change build artifacts and not any source files.To not misuse the app version, or change the names of any artifacts.To be simple and idiomatic.I realized that that Grails itself changes the application metadata (appl…

Motivation Visibility, and Unit Testing

I've always been interested in organizational patterns (such as those in Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development). I've recently found myself thinking a lot about motivation. I'm now reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and just finished Rob Austin's book on performance measurement. Being the parent of a three year old, I'm finding more and more that "because I said so, and I'm right" isn't too effective at home. My interests in motivation are closely related to my interest in writing software effectively. Writing software is partially a technical problem about frameworks, coding, and the like, but the harder (and perhaps more interesting) problem is how to get a group of people working together towards a common goal. Agile practices, both technical and organizational, build a framework which makes having the right amount of collaboration and feedback possible. But there's a bootstrapping process: How do yo…