Podcast: Thoughts on Patterns

Stream-of-consciousness thoughts on patterns – where we’re at in 2007. Not a tutorial. Definitely not a tutorial.

  • Where did patterns come from? Not GoF, not Alexander.
  • Alexander, patterns, and architecture.
  • Patterns in the organisation – how can a pattern language pervade an organisation and help workers carry out its mission statement and operating principles? Different high level patterns (e.g. “People first” for one company, “Technology first” for another) mean different lower-level patterns (crude example: staff pattern in people-oriented firm – “managers come from HR” versus staff pattern in tech-oriented firm – “Managers become tech leadership”)
  • Wikis were literally built for patterns
  • Promoting and deploying patterns

5 thoughts on Podcast: Thoughts on Patterns

  1. Patterns are subjective, based on the author’s concept of ethics, beauty and survival. A good thought to keep in mind when dealing with the trade offs of life not to mention software design. Thanks for the excellent low-tech podcast. Hope we get another one soon.

  2. Hello,

    Very interesting thoughts on patterns. I’ve been developing a UI design pattern library for my company as a part of Master of Science thesis work. The tool for managing and sharing patterns is built on WordPress, and it seems to be a very powerful tool for this purpose. I tweaked the WP software quite a lot, and added a lot of new functionality to it using available plugins. The result was a tool that makes possible to create a collaboratively managed, a living pattern language that everyone in the organization can develop further.

    Some of the main features include: -Navigation and linking between patterns is created using tags that the library users can add. -Users can modify the pattern content as they will, comment on patterns, add code examples etc. -In addition to the library, I created a place where everyone can share their ideas for new patterns, rate and comment on other people’s ideas etc. The patterns with highest rating will be written by me and added to the library.

    It proved to work pretty well. Although we are quite small company, the library doesn’t lack of user contribution. Around 15% of all users participate quite actively in pattern language development, and around 50% of people involved in software development use the patterns in UI design and development. I’m planning to write some kind of case study of this project after I have finished my thesis (in late May probably).

  3. I much prefer the stream of consciousness approach to the podcasts. A podcast with rigid parameters, a great deal of preparation and practice, and especially one that uses cutting becomes much like a keynote address; a summary of the intellectual achievement of the individual. The information presented becomes the only commodity whereas a let-the-recorder-run approach also lets the listener see the thought processes, the issues that are still unclear, and the patterns that are being used to try to make sense of the world.

    There is a video of Dijkstra lecturing about the benefits of mathematical proofs in software. I remember very little about the presentation itself, but was captivated by a clip at the end where he was asked about his biggest pet peeve of modern computing. He went on a tirade against the metaphor of ‘bugs’ in software. It showed Dijkstra’s humanity, genius, biases, frustrations, and hopes in a way that had not been possible during the lecture portion of the video.

    Every pause as you struggle for a word, or every time you rephrase an idea more explicitly or in a different fashion is, for me at least, more important than having a crisp and succinct flow of ideas. Thanks for all of your efforts.

  4. Patterns are subjective, based on the author’s concept of ethics, beauty and survival. A good thought to keep in mind when dealing with the trade offs of life not to mention software design. Thanks for the excellent low-tech podcast. Hope we get another one soon.

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