Detailed Information

Mature engineering disciplines have handbooks describing solutions to known problems. Bridge designers don't design bridges using the laws of physics, they adapt solutions from the handbook known to work well enough.

Patterns can be the basis for a handbook of software engineering. They embody core solutions to problems known to arise while building systems. A complete pattern language would guide developers to produce workable software solving ordinary problems.

The PLoP Conference Series

EuroPLoP is the European member of the PLoP conference series. The PLoP conferences invite you to add your expertise to the growing body of patterns. Other conferences in the PLoP series include (US) PLoP, ChilliPLoP, KoalaPLoP, MensorePLoP and SugarLoafPLoP.

These conferences follow a different format than conferences such as OOPSLA. The focus here is on learning, discussion, and reflection, not on the presentation of finished work. At a PLoP series conference, attendees review each others material and help each other refine their work, run workshops and engage in fruitful discussions.

EuroPLoP offers a variety of workshops that allow you to learn about patterns, to receive feedback on your own patterns, and to discuss patterns with fellow pattern enthusiasts. We have been running most of these workshops for many years at previous EuroPLoP conferences; we started to successfully experiment with design fests and a special beginners' sessions in EuroPLoP 2001 and want to expand further the variety of activities.

Writers' Workshops

Writers' workshops are at the core of the EuroPLoP program. In these workshops we discuss accepted pattern papers. Pattern papers may consist of an individual pattern or of a pattern language.

Writers' workshops follow a special format which has been adopted from reviewing poetry. Before the conference, everybody reads each other's papers. In the actual workshop, authors give each other feedback on their work in a peer review fashion. Each writers' workshop contains 5 to 8 papers; a session of around an hour is devoted to each paper. In such a session, the authors of the paper under discussion remain silent while the other authors have a discussion about it, and explain what additional insights and views they have. Authors (as well as non-authors who may join) stay with their workshop over the entire conference. This way authors get a lot of ideas on how they can improve their work.

Before pattern papers are accepted for a writers' workshop, they are shepherded (non-anonymously). This means that if you submit a pattern paper, an experienced pattern author will get in touch with you and discuss your submission with you, so that you can improve your paper prior to the conference. At the end of the shepherding process, the shepherd and the program committee decide whether a paper is ready for a writers' workshop; experience shows that most submitted papers will.

Because the focus of the writers' workshops is on feedback and improvement, papers are not considered final once they have been workshopped. Authors incorporate the feedback they receive at the writers' workshop into their papers before the papers go into the final proceedings about half a year after the conference.

All aspects of software systems are suitable topics for submitted patterns or pattern languages. We invite patterns on programming, software design, project management, education, and so on. Submissions from areas which have not much been covered by patterns so far are particularly solicited. The actual subject of a pattern need not be original; it is essential that a pattern describes mature knowledge. However, patterns should always reference related work, that is related patterns as well as related non-pattern material.

Non-authors who join a writer's worshop are asked to stick to one writer's group and are supposed to read all the papers discussed in the group in advance, too.

Writing Groups

Pattern writing groups offer the chance for pattern authors to work on the form and the content of their patterns in an interactive session. In this session an experienced author acts as a mentor and is available for questions the author may have, for ideas and discussions.

As last year we hope have two different writing goups.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are usually free-format discussion groups which bring together people who are interested in a challenging topic related to patterns. They bring up issues such as using patterns, organising patterns, experiences with patterns, or designing pattern languages in a design fest etc. Interdisciplinary topics are particularly welcome since they help us learn from other domains. These domains range from less obvious areas of computing, such as artificial intelligence, to other areas of science, such as building architecture, mechanical engineering, music, or film making. For EuroPLoP 2003 we want encourage potential focus group leaders to submit sessions which seek to explore the links between software design and design in other disciplines.

We distinguish between short and long focus groups, with a total of 3 or 6 hours, split into blocks of 1 and 1/2 hours.

We plan to have 3 or 4 focus groups at the conference. Potential focus group leaders are invited to submit focus group proposals. The submission should include the topic, the preferred length, preferred number of participants, and the rough format, e.g. if position papers are required and what the possible outcome should be.

Focus group proposals will be reviewed by the program committee. The accepted focus groups will be announced two to three months before the conference. Most focus groups allow conference attendees to simply join at the conference; however, focus group leaders are free to ask participants to register in advance and to do some kind of preparation like submitting position papers.

After the conference, the focus group leader summarizes the results in form of a short focus group report which will go into the final conference proceedings.

Beginners' Track

The beginners' track consists of three sessions aimed at people who are new to EuroPLoP. The first session will take place at the beginning of the conference and will be led by some pattern experts.

In this session you learn about patterns in general, you get an overview of what patterns exist, you learn how patterns can improve your software, and you get exposed to the idea of pattern languages. This session also tells you about EuroPLoP, its traditions and conventions, and is a chance to get in touch with many EuroPLoP people very quickly.

The second session is the writing group, where an experienced pattern author will give an introduction into writing patterns.

The third session will follow on the third conference day. It is kind of a FAQ session, where beginners have the opportunity to ask everything they didn't understand about patterns, pattern languages, the pattern community and stuff like this. A small group of experts is supposed to find good answers to these questions.

Right Brain Activities

One of the unique features of the PLoP series of conferences is the emphasis we place on non-technical, right-brain activities. We try to create an environment that exercises the parts of the mind and body that have nothing at all to do with developing software but have a lot to do with finding and writing patterns (whether they are software patterns or any other kind). These other activities include:

BOF Sessions

'Birds of a Feather' sessions are spontaneous events, organized on site. Every attendant may call for a BOF session. Contents and format of a BOF session is up to the group joining the session. Please contact the conference chairs during the conference (or before hand if you wish) to start a BOF session.

Special Sessions

Important Dates

The following table explains the important dates for active contributions to the conference. Please also take a look at the submission guidelines.
Date Conference Pattern Papers Writing Group Focus Groups
28th February   papers due   focus group proposals due
10th March   shepherding starts    
24th March       notification of acceptance or rejection for focus group proposals
31st March       registration for focus groups opens 
(focus groups that require registration only)

12th May

conference registration opens notification of acceptance or rejection   notification of acceptance or rejection for focus group participants 
(focus groups that require registration only)
30th May   shepherding ends    
2nd June   conference drafts due registration 
(unshepherded papers only)
20th June conference registration closes      
25th June – 29th June conference      
late 2003   final versions due   focus group reports due