beanz Magazine

Design Patterns and Anti-Patterns

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How programmers use design patterns and anti-patterns to develop software.

You might think a software designer simply dreams up unique ideas based on a problem given to them by a client or a problem they create. The reality is a little different.

There are no truly unique software designs, for example. And some design solutions work more often than other solutions. As a result, software designers often work within a small universe of possible solutions based on their education, experience, and personal preferences.

Consider music as one instructive example. There are only so many instruments and, for each instrument, only so many notes to play and hear. Plus the combination of instruments and notes is finite. Yet the variety of music we hear in our lives is astounding even if the instruments and notes are limited. One reason, of course, is that musicians are human beings who might play a note or instrument differently from another musician. But the limits to instruments and notes, the constraints, also give us an amazing variety of possible music.

Software design has the same dynamic, a limited number of possible solutions yet an amazing variety of actual solutions you see in the real world. These constraints are what give shape to wonderful website and software application designs.

One constraint to possible software design solutions are patterns. These divide into design patterns and anti-patterns. Both kinds can yield interesting solutions.

What’s a Design Pattern?

Design patterns for software grew out of architecture design patterns. These patterns are ways to solve common problems found in architecture, software design, interaction design, and other disciplines. Instead of reinventing the wheel, software designers often look to see if a design pattern already exists.


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