Top 5 Design Patterns Books for Java Developers - Best of Lot

Design patterns are an essential topic for object-oriented programmers, like Java and C++ developers. It becomes even more important as your experience grows because everybody starts expecting a lot more from you in terms of writing quality code. I often receive emails from intermediate and senior Java developers about progressing to the next level, like how to become Tech Lead, Team Lead, or software architect; knowledge of design patterns plays an important role in taking more technical responsibility. While the GoF book is the bible for object-oriented design patterns, in my opinion, it is a bit too dry and academic.

Many of you might have already read it, but I doubt you have enjoyed it a lot. The first real book I read on the design pattern was the head-first design pattern book. It's full of exciting stories, cartoons, UML diagrams, fireside chats to analyze the pros and cons of each design pattern, fill in the blanks, exercise, and most importantly, some non-trivial code examples.

Another good thing is that instead of focusing on all the patterns, it focuses on a good set of core patterns, like Decorator, Observer, Factory, Command, Strategy, and Facade patterns.

I also found that the Head First book is far accessible than the GoF book. It's a great book and quite informative, but it's not the best read. Since now I have read several books on design patterns, I kind of know which are the best books and why and this list is a collection of that experience. 

You can choose one, two,  or a couple of books to refresh your knowledge on design patterns or start learning them from scratch. I have also included books on Microservices design patterns because Microservices is now the most popular architecture for Java applications and I think every Java developer should have knowledge of Microservices patterns. 

6 Best Design Patterns Books for Java Programmers

So, what are we waiting for, here is my collection of some of the best books to learn object-oriented design pattern and general design patterns in Java JEE developers.

1. Head First Design Patterns 2nd Edition 

This is probably the best book if you are a Java developer with 2 to 3 years of experience and never heard of the design pattern. You can start learning and making sense of them after reading this book. It introduces a design pattern by first explaining the problem and how the design pattern solves the problem. It is not academic and, instead, much more readable.

You will learn about some of the most important design patterns, like the Decorator, Command pattern, Facade pattern, and Observer pattern. The book is now celebrating its 10th Anniversary, first launched in 2004 and now also updated for Java 8. If you want to purchase just one book to learn the design pattern, then this should be the one.

And I Am also glad to tell you that the much awaited second edition of this book is now also available which will teach you how to code design pattern using modern Java as well as many design principles which are essential to create extensible and maintainable object oriented software. 

The only problem with this book is that it doesn't cover all the design patterns. So, if you want to learn more patterns after reading this book, I suggest you take a look at this Design pattern in Java course on Udemy by Dmitri Nestruk who will teach you the modern implementation of classic design patterns in Java.  

2. Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software

This is the classic GOF design pattern book, which is referred to everywhere. This is the first book that compiled the list of 24 objects oriented patterns and instantly got popular. This can be an excellent reference book for a design pattern as it covers all of them and probably in the most detailed way.

The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it's not very readable, which means you will get tired after reading a couple of pages. On the other hand, you can read many chapters in one go on the previous book like Head First Design Patterns.

In case, you have some trouble understanding the text, you can combine this book with the From 0 to 1: Design Patterns - 24 That Matter - In Java course from Udemy, which also covers all of these design patterns. After joining that course and reading this book, my understanding of design patterns improved significantly.

Good book to learn Java design pattern

3. Head First Object-Oriented Analysis and Design

This is another excellent head first book on object-oriented analysis and design from the Head First series and of my all-time favorite. If you can read this book before reading the Head First design pattern. This will teach you OOP basics like why composition is better than Inheritance and why should you program for interfaces than implementation.

You should actually read this book before reading any book on Design patterns because it will teach you object-oriented basics which is the core of any design principle and patterns. If you have a good idea of what is a class, object, function, and how to use Abstraction, Inheritance, Polymorphism, and Encapsulation, you can understand any pattern.

In order to get the best result, I also suggest you combine this book with the Design Pattern Library course on Pluralsight. It's very comprehensive and provides interactive, real-world examples to understand many more design patterns. 

I have personally tried that it works really great. The course also provides a lot of practice material that you can use to reinforce the concept you learned in the book and vice-versa.

If you want to have a quick look at design principles, you can also check my post about 10 essential Object-oriented principles for programmers here.

4. UML for Java Programmers By Uncle Bob Martin

The UML is an essential skill for any serious Object-oriented programmer, particularly for Java programmers, Why? Because one picture is worth of thousand words, and UML lets you convey the design, which is in your mind to all team members.

When you use UML to design your system, you will also gaps and issues in your design early, and you can address them without rewriting your code. It also helps you to develop design skills and improves the clarity of thinking.

The UML for Java programmers by Uncle Bob is what you need to know about UML. It also comes with some design problems, like designing a coffee machine, similar to our Vending machine design problem.

5. Java EE Patterns and Best Practices

This is one of the essential books for JEE programmers and probably the latest, up-to-date, and relevant book for JEE developers. The author Adam Bien is a well-known name in the Java JEE world, a Java Champion, and also holds training for JEE developers. This book is much of his experience in the JEE world. It will teach you why you should use the DAO design pattern and what is different in J2EE and JEE.
Best book to learn Java EE design Pattern

6. Microservices Patterns: With examples in Java

Microservices Patterns: With examples in Java, First Edition by Chris Richardson stands as a valuable resource for enterprise developers navigating the realm of microservices architecture. With an impressive rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from 616 reviews, this book offers 44 reusable patterns for the development and deployment of reliable, production-quality microservices-based applications.

Drawing on the author's decades of experience as a microservice architecture pioneer, the book takes a pragmatic approach to exploring the benefits and drawbacks of microservices architecture. It delves into crucial aspects such as service decomposition, transaction management, and inter-service communication, providing practical insights and solutions. 

Readers will find industry-tested advice, along with worked examples in Java, making the content immediately applicable. The book covers a range of topics, including service decomposition strategies, transaction management, effective testing strategies, and deployment patterns. 

Chris Richardson, a Java Champion and creator of the original, brings his expertise to this comprehensive guide, making it an essential read for developers seeking to design, implement, test, and deploy microservices-based applications effectively. 

The inclusion of a free eBook in PDF, Kindle, and ePub formats further enhances the accessibility and value of this resource from Manning Publications.

best books to learn Microservices design patterns

That's all in this list of a couple of good books to learn design patterns in Java. If you're looking to learn them, nothing's better than Head First Design Patterns - it's not such an excellent reference text, though. I wouldn't get too hung up on design patterns. As with most of the good ones, you'll write anyhow if you're a good software developer.

Bad developers may follow the book and turn simple problems into disaster areas. In the era of online courses, you can also combine these books with The Java Design Patterns Masterclass, one of my favorite courses to learn patterns. He really explains patterns well.

One book which is not included in this list because I found it later is Design Patterns in Java by Steven Metsker and William C. Wake. It's an awesome book that teaches you design patterns with the learn-by-doing method. 

There is no book like this that presents you with scenarios and asks how do you solve this using a particular design pattern. If you really want to master the design pattern, I highly recommend this book as well.

Hungry for more? Here are some more programming books and resources to explore

Thank you for reading so far, if you have any books to add to this list of best object-oriented analysis and design pattern books, then please let me know via comments, and I'll add them for everyone's benefit.

P. S. - If you like free resources and looking for an excellent free online course to learn the Design Pattern in-depth, you can also see these free design pattern courses from Udemy. It's completely free, you don't need to pay for anything. All you need is to create a Udemy account to access this course.


  1. UML is dead... At least legacy

  2. Thanks for adding book on Microservices patterns, I really needed that.


Feel free to comment, ask questions if you have any doubt.