Crunch-a-Time me Captain (I just took a class on Design Patterns and Just Read That They are Wrong)

If that title scared you, I am sorry. This is the second post I am writing in a span of a couple hours and decided that this topic would prove to be a very interesting one to cover. While the post Rethinking Design Patterns by Jeff Atwood very openly claims that design patterns often cause unnecessary complexity and have turned much of today’s programming army into a mindless army of Gang of Four missionaries I believe it is a very delicate balance of both sides of the argument that is the solution.

In the post Atwood lays out the definitions (yes definitions!) of design pattern in order to get rid of any confusion about what he is referring to. There are two definitions because he is talking about the patterns created by the gang of four in order to solve typical solutions and also the general idea of designing a template for a solution one is faced with based on the circumstances. He also writes about the book that directly inspired the gang of four bible. This book is called “A pattern Language”, and is a direct inspiration for the design pattern book that succeeded it. This book outlines general ideas for solving problems rather than giving the reader templates to solve general problems. While the difference in these may be subtle, the latter cause anyone implementing an idea to have less of an understanding of the implementation and whether the chosen pattern is the best way to solve the problem at hand.

I feel as though the teachings I have received about design patterns has greatly influenced my understanding of coming up with solutions to problems. Before taking this class almost every program leading up to it was extremely complicated while solving relatively simple problems. Many of my programs were one trick ponies that if implementation had to be added would be in need of an almost total rewrite. After learning about design patterns I have the proper tools to increase how modular my programs are which is a huge step in the right direction. I feel like there are many cases where the gang of four design patterns are applicable and can be very efficient but for problems that don’t require a pattern it is important that we as programmers can recognize this and implement a simpler design to avoid useless complexity.

I will definitely be reading A Pattern Language soon because it seems like many of the ideas laid out in that book are extremely helpful in situations where I am tasked to program something that I can’t think of a design for. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.


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