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A Pattern Language for Pattern Writing

Gerard Meszaros

Object Systems Group


Jim Doble

Allen Telecom Systems



As the patterns community has accumulated experience in writing and reviewing patterns and pattern languages, we have begun to develop insight into pattern-writing techniques and approaches that have been observed to be particularly effective at addressing certain recurring problems. This pattern language attempts to capture some of these "best practices" of pattern writing, both by describing them in pattern form, and by demonstrating them in action. As such, this pattern language is its own Running Example.  A PDF of this paper can be found here.

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Pattern Language Summary
1.2 How to Use These Patterns
1.3 Conventions
2.0 The Patterns
A. Context-Setting Patterns
A.1 Pattern: Pattern
A.2 Pattern: Pattern Language
B. Pattern Structure Patterns
B.1 Pattern: Mandatory Elements Present
B.2 Pattern: Optional Elements When Helpful
B.3 Pattern: Visible Forces
B.4 Pattern: Single-Pass Readable
B.5 Pattern: Skippable Sections
B.6 Pattern: Findable Sections
C. Pattern Naming and Referencing Patterns
C.1 Pattern: Relationship to Other Patterns
C.2 Pattern: Readable References to Patterns
C.2.1 Pattern: (External) Pattern Thumbnail
C.3 Pattern: Evocative Pattern Name
C.3.1 Pattern: Noun Phrase Name
C.3.2 Pattern: Meaningful Metaphor Name
C.4 Pattern: Intent Catalog
D. Patterns For Making Patterns Understandable
D.1 Pattern: Clear Target Audience
D.2 Pattern: Terminology Tailored to Audience
D.3 Pattern: Understood Notations
D.4 Pattern: Code Samples
D.4.1 Pattern: Code Samples as Bonus
E. Pattern Language Structuring Patterns
E.1 Pattern: Pattern Language Summary
E.1.1 Pattern: Problem/Solution Summary
E.2 Pattern: Common Problems Highlighted
E.3 Pattern: Running Example
E.4 Pattern: (Distinctive) Headings Convey Structure
E.5 Pattern: Glossary
3.0 Back Matter
4.0 Appendices
4.1 Problem/Solution Summaries
4.2 References
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