Focus Groups

All Focus Groups are scheduled in time slots different from the Writers Workshops. Thus it is possible to join a Writers Workshop track and actively participate in one long (six hour) and one short (three hour) Focus Group.

Focus Groups are free format discussion groups. They don't have to deal with a specific pattern or pattern language, but bring up issues such as using patterns, organizing patterns, experience with patterns, etc. This year we can offer a variety of very interesting Focus Groups.

One Focus Group requires submission of a position paper in advance, while most others recommend some preparation or early contact to the organizers. Please see the individual descriptions for details.
Focus Group Organizers Participants Preparation Schedule
Advanced Pattern Writing and Shepherding Neil Harrison not required 3 hours 
Finding Sequences in a Pattern Language Ian Graham & Graham Robson advance contact recommended 3 hours
Patterns for Component Composition and Adaptation Uwe Zdun & Markus Völter advance contact recommended 3 hours
A Pattern Language Experiment - Lego Mindstorm Robots Alan O'Callaghan advance contact recommended 9 hours 
Exploring the Security Pattern Landscape Markus Schumacher & Aaldert Hofman position paper required, due June 2nd, 2003 6 hours 
Human Interactions - Patterns on People and Teams Klaus Marquardt & Rebecca Rikner advance contact recommended 6 hours

Advanced Pattern Writing and Shepherding

By now, many of you have written several patterns. You are feeling comfortable with your patterns. You may have shepherded a time or two, and it is beginning to feel comfortable as well. It's time to move to the next level. As a community, we need to raise our standards: we should aim for truly excellent patterns. This requires not only high quality writing, but also exemplary mentoring.

This workshop will focus on the twins of writing and shepherding.  It will include some practical tips for busy people, as well as explore issues of content and substance. We hope you will leave equipped with some new tools to help you improve your pattern writing and shepherding.

Anyone who wants may come. It is suggested that attendees have prior experience in pattern writing and shepherding - if not, attend the basic shepherding course. No special preparation is required.

Finding Sequences in a Pattern Language

WU is a pattern language for web usability. Ian Graham presented it with four of its patterns at EuroPLoP 2002. Since then the 79 patterns that currently constitute WU have been published in book form by Addison-Wesley. This focus group invites participants to describe a web site or web application that they are familiar with or which they would like to build. The group will then try to abstract a sequence of patterns that is applicable to problems of the same type, together with the rationale for including or rejecting particular patterns. Up to ten copies of the Addison-Wesley book that documents WU will be made available as reference material. In addition there will be at least one electronic version available to aid navigation through the network of atterns, and this will be used to document the sequences discovered - and indeed any new patterns. After the conference this material will be moderated and placed on the web for public access.

Participants may familiarize themselves with the language prior to the conference by visiting the WU website via and clicking on Web Usability. There are two example sequences on the site. Alternatively the book contains the same material. The full reference is: Ian Graham, "A Pattern Language for Web Usability", Addison-Wesley, 2003; ISBN 0-201-78888-8.

The session will run of the first day of the conference. The session is open to anyone, but there will be a limit on the number of books available and possible space limitations. Preference will be given to people who can present concrete web design problems for the group to consider. To absolutely guarantee a place send a description of the problem you want to consider to in advance and at least two weeks before the conference.

Patterns for Component Composition and Adaptation

Components seek for reusable, black-box building blocks as the primary commonality aspect. Also, there is a strong focus on composition and adaptation in different component approaches, but these aspects are not well defined for practical purposes yet. We want to discuss topics related to different component models, such as as server components (e.g. EJB, CCM, COM+), Java Beans, component frameworks in scripting languages (e.g. Tcl, Python, Perl, Visual Basic), and many others. Topics may be (but are not limited to): component wrapping, container-managed persistence, scripting, message interception and indirection, aspect-oriented approaches for component composition, program generation and transformation, and many more.  The goal of the workshop is to discuss, mine, and integrate the use of patterns in this context.

Submission of a position paper is appreciated, but not necessary. If you are sure, you want to attend the focus group, please send an email in advance to the focus group organizers .
Get more information from the Call For Participation .

A Pattern Language Experiment - Lego Mindstorms Robots

There has been a growing realisation within the Patterns Movement of the importance of Pattern languages. That is, beyond individual patterns and even "systems of patterns" the idea of patterns which used in particular sequences have the power to generate solutions. A difficulty here is that although there are a growing number of candidate patterns there is as yet no compelling evidence that such generative languages can be created for software-intensive systems. The typical application domain of computing systems is so large that the explosion of variables makes verification of any experimental results practically impossible.

This workshop/focus group is an opportunity to test out some fundamental ideas about pattern languages in a highly constrained context. Over the past few years the XP community has become used to workshops (designed by the eXtreme Tuesday club in London) in which teams rapidly create Lego robots with simple functionality to win a race. A number of EuroPLoP participants have participated in such events; others are known to have their own Mindstorm kits.

The proposal is to run a workshop that will run continuously throughout the conferences in both official Focus Group sessions (where numbers will have to be limited) and outside of those timeslots for casual drop-in. Like the XP events Lego robots will be created by small teams to win a race - but they will have an extra resource available to them - a candidate pattern language for constructing such a race-winning robot. The exact details of this will evolve between now and delivery, but the idea is to measure the success of teams that use the language and to monitor the design process (perhaps by videoing the official design sessions). One variant might be to arm some teams with the language, but deny it to others, for example. The language itself would be dynamic, with - in the unofficial sessions especially - attendees invited to write new patterns for the language. Outputs are: a -partly verified - pattern language; experimental results for report to the conference and publication (web, journals, books etc.), hopefully some working robots - and a lot of fun.

Get more information from Alan O'Callaghan .

Exploring the Security Pattern Landscape

Security is an emerging topic in the pattern community. Last year, a couple of Security Pattern enthusiast followed the Call for Participation of the Focus Group "Thinking about Security Patterns". Hereby, we discussed some general aspects of security patterns. For example, we clarified the differences between security patterns and "regular" patterns. We also figured out what typical security-related forces occur and what types of security patterns are known. Moreover, we tried to refactor existing security patterns and to integrate them into the overall landscape of security patterns. In fact, this last topic is the focal point for our focus group in 2003.

At last year's EuroPLoP we started a book project with the goal to collect and publish all known security patterns in a unified way and to show by example how they can be integrated into software/system engineering. The current state of this book project is that we collected a set of suitable patterns and are trying to integrate them. Thus, we want to encourage security pattern authors to submit their work to the Writer's Workshops and/or the Focus Group in order to continue our challenge toward an overall system of security patterns.

The expected result of the Focus Group is that we have a clear image of the security patterns which should be integrated in such a domain-specific pattern collection. Probably, there are still some open issues left for future work. Thus, the main objective of this workshop is to bring together the security patterns enthusiasts, to strengthen the cooperation with the security pattern community and to improve the overall work on security patterns. Apart from this, we aim at networking and building the community (not to talk about sharing and gaining knowledge and jokes). Last but not least: a major benefit is that we will finally see the faces behind all those E-Mails at least once a year :-)

A registration for the focus group is mandatory. In particular, participants should be willing to contribute to the book project - either they should submit patterns or case studies (how can the patterns be applied). Patterns that have already been submitted to a *PLoP conference are welcome. All participants should be familiar with last year results, in order to have a common starting point. The chairs will distribute this material early June 2003.

Contributions to the Security Patterns workshop should be submitted electronically in advance. Authors should send their documents to one of the workshop chairs not later than June 2nd 2003. Please send your paper as a PDF file to .

Get more information from the Call For Participation .

Human Interactions - Patterns on People and Teams

Programming is typically perceived as a contemplative task. However, projects are done by people, and all but the most trivial projects involve a significant number of participants in different roles, that need to interact in order to be successful. Large projects become social events rather than technical solutions to technical problems; teams become the most prominent unit of software creation.

You have probably experienced coming new into an existing group, needing to orientate and detect the way the group worked, and consciously or subconsciously form an opinion about this group and its functionality. Particular interesting situations are during acquisition or job interviews, or in consulting situations when you need to express the most significant observations after a few hours.

Every software engineer faces people and needs to be aware of different facets of human interactions. This is an even more important part of the job of technical leads, architects and consultants. Most people develop a natural skill set of dealing with people, teams and situations. Others only recognize much later that something has been going on then, and have difficulties interpreting and expressing their observations.

In this focus group we strive to detect and describe patterns of team culture, both their observed behaviour as well as ways to intentionally influence existing team mechanisms. We will cover three main topics:

Interested? Anybody is welcome to attend. However, we encourage participants to contact us in advance - we will prepare and distribute some reading material that will be useful during the session.

Get more information from the focus group's site .

A reference to the focus group reports of EuroPLoP 2003 will appear here after the conference.

Last Update: Thu 2003-April-24 20:00 Central European Time.