Implementation Patterns

 

Not Design Patterns, Not Enterprise Patterns—Implementation Patterns
by Scott Brookhart

 

Anyone who's read anything by Kent Beck knows that he's adept at providing value to software engineering practice. He's done it in earlier books, such as Test-Driven Development: By Example and Extreme Programming, and Implementation Patterns is just as good.


In this book, he describes the best ways experienced programmers can implement code to clarify their intentions and enhance its readability. Beck indicates that he wrote the book to ease the biggest software cost—not the initial development, but the subsequent maintenance. Developers must make their intentions known and their code readable to assist later developers with maintenance. Having maintained code that's difficult to follow, I can appreciate this sentiment. It's almost always much more difficult to read someone else's code than to write new code myself.


Beck uses the Java programming language to demonstrate 77 implementation patterns for writing more intentional and maintainable code. Java programmers have a lot to gain from this book (though it's not suitable for beginners). However, developers using other languages will also see how to inspect their implementations and make their code more readable and their intentions more explicit. Implementation patterns address the daily decisions you make when writing code to take advantage of a language's specific implementations. Sometimes a small coding decision in logic or data storage can have a much larger impact down the road than you might initially have considered. This book assists with organizing logic and data to avoid those larger impacts.


Toward the end of the book, Beck also looks at frameworks, which I found useful as well. Even as a seasoned programmer, I found a lot of value in this book, including a deeper understanding of classes, methods, state, behavior, and collections. I will definitely keep a copy of this book close by as I develop software.


Implementation Patterns is for developers who understand the development language they're using but want to hone their coding skills to make their code more readable and therefore more maintainable. The patterns Beck describes are useful additions to every developer's cache of skills. If nothing else, you'll know that you're following heuristics laid out by one of the best thinkers in software engineering practice.


Scott Brookhart is a software engineer. Contact him at sbrookhart@alumni.utexas.net.

 

 

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