Call for Contributions

EuroPLoP™ 2004

Ninth European Conference
on Pattern Languages of Programs

07th - 11th July 2004
Irsee, Germany

Mature design and engineering disciplines often have handbooks describing common solutions to known problems. Bridge designers do not design bridges from first principles each time; they adapt solutions from a proven body of knowledge.

Patterns can be the basis for software engineering handbooks. They embody core solutions to problems known to arise while building systems. A complete pattern language can guide developers in producing workable software by addressing many common design 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 literature. Other conferences in the PLoP™ series include (US) PLoP™, ChiliPLoP™, KoalaPLoP™, MensorePLoP™ and SugarLoafPLoP™.

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

Against the scenic backdrop of rural Bavaria, 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.

Writers' Workshops

Writers' workshops are at the heart of the EuroPLoP programme. In these workshops we discuss pattern papers accepted for the conference. Pattern papers may consist of an individual pattern, a collection of related patterns or a whole pattern language.

Writers' workshops follow a format that has been adopted from the creative writing community. The style is that of a peer review. Rather than standing up and presenting papers, authors will receive feedback on their papers, with the opportunity to offer feedback to other authors. This approach reinforces the principle that pattern papers form a literature intended to capture and communicate existing practice. Both the papers and the workshop format are therefore in contrast to the more conventional approaches found in academic and commercial conferences.

Each writers' workshop contains around five to eight papers. A session of around one hour is devoted to each paper. The workshop attendees will have read the papers allocated to the workshop prior to the conference. During the session the author of the paper under discussion remains silent while the other authors discuss it, explaining what additional insights and views they have, offering constructive criticism throughout. Authors should stay with the workshop containing their papers over the entire conference. Non-authors should select a workshop of interest and, once selected, also remain with that group throughout the conference. This stability encourages communication, ensures the consistency of feedback and enables the group to develop a good rapport.

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 to discuss your submission. Shepherding is an integral and iterative part of the submission process intended to assist you in improving your paper prior to the conference.

At the end of the shepherding process, the shepherd and the programme committee decide whether a paper is ready for a writers' workshop. Experience shows that, after shepherding, most submitted papers qualify. Because the focus of the writers' workshops is on feedback and improvement, papers are not considered final even when 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 the year following the conference.

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 in previous years we hope to have two different writing groups:

  1. The main writing group is meant for papers that are not yet considered ready for a writers' workshop. Papers can be assigned to this writing group if, at the end of the shepherding process, the shepherd and the programme committee feel that the author would profit more from an interactive session than from going straight into a writers' workshop. Papers that are felt to improve sufficiently during these writing group sessions have the opportunity to be reviewed at one of the writers' workshops towards the end of the conference.

  2. The other writing group is part of the introductory track. It is meant for new authors who have not submitted a pattern paper to the conference, but who would like to take a first step at writing patterns.

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 putting together pattern languages in a design fest, etc. Interdisciplinary topics are particularly welcome since they help us to learn from other domains. For instance, from the less mainstream areas of computing, such as artificial intelligence, to other areas of human creativity, such as building architecture, mechanical engineering, music or film making. For EuroPLoP 2003 we want to 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 three or six hours, respectively, split into blocks of an hour and a half. We plan to have three or four focus groups at the conference.

Prospective focus group leaders are invited to submit proposals. The submission should include the topic, the preferred length, preferred number of participants, and the rough format, e.g. whether position papers are required and what the possible focus group outputs would be. Focus group proposals will be reviewed by the programme committee. The accepted focus groups will be announced in advance of 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, if they wish. 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.

Introductory Track

The introductory track consists of three sessions aimed at EuroPLoP newcomers:

Non-technical Activities

One of the distinctive features of the PLoP™ series of conferences is the emphasis we place on non-technical, lateral-thinking activities. We try to create an environment that exercises the parts of the mind and body that have little to do with developing software, and more to do with finding and writing patterns. These other activities include:

Games: Morning and afternoon games led by our 'Querdenker-Koordinator', George Platts. These non-competitive games are one of the highlights of EuroPLoP. Many new friendships have been formed whilst untying human knots or making a 5 metre high 'mushroom'!

Art studio: Also hosted by George, the art studio is open throughout most of each day during the conference. Many different materials are available for anyone to go and relax, be creative and to listen to music.

BoF Sessions

'Birds of a Feather' sessions are spontaneous events, organised during the conference. Any attendee may call for a BoF session. The content and format of a BoF session is up to the group joining the session. Please contact the conference chairs during the conference, or beforehand if you wish, to kick off a BoF session.

Special Sessions

Welcome session: This is the first proper session of the conference. There will also be a writers' workshop demo, an overview of the non- workshop conference activities, and an opportunity for everyone to meet one another.

Daily summary: A final session at the end of each day that gives everyone a chance to find out what went on in the sessions they could not attend, plus any other news.

Farewell session: Led by George Platts, this session is the traditional close of the conference. Get the latest information about publication, next year's conference and other hot topics, and the opportunity to say farewell to all the friends you have made and met.

Important Dates

28th February 2004 Papers and focus group proposals due
08th March Shepherding starts
22th March Focus groups published
17th May Notification of acceptance
Conference registration opens
11th June Shepherding ends
Conference drafts due
05th July Conference registration closes
07th - 11th July Conference
Early 2005 Final versions of papers due for proceedings
Focus group reports due for proceedings

Submission Guidelines

A pattern paper should consist of an individual pattern, a collection of related patterns or a pattern language. Note that pattern experience reports, tutorials and other papers that are about patterns, but that do not actually present patterns, are not the intended target for the writers' workshops. However, the content of such papers may provide a suitable basis for focus groups and BoF sessions.

All aspects of software development are suitable topics for submitted patterns, pattern collections or pattern languages. We invite pattern papers on programming, software design, project management, education, etc. In particular, submissions from domains not previously covered by the patterns literature are welcome. 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, both related pattern material and related non-pattern material.

Authors should submit an electronic copy of their paper in English. We recommend that submissions not exceed 10 pages. However, complete pattern languages and mature collections can be longer than that. In such cases authors should either identify a part of their paper on which the feedback should be concentrated or invite feedback on the paper as a whole, but not on specific details.

The Conference Chairs
Klaus Marquardt, Germany
Dietmar Schütz, Siemens AG, Germany