Our pattern form is unusual. If you’ve read other books of patterns, you will see that we’re trying something different here. Compared to most pattern languages, we have fewer sections and less discussion of the resolution of abstract forces and constraints. This form was chosen based on extensive feedback from reviewers and from our workshop at PLoP. Based on that feedback, we believe this simpler structure will make our pattern language more accessible for our target audience.
Our patterns all consist of a context, a problem, a solution, and then a set of one or more actions. The context sets the mood, and the problem statement identifies the problem being solved by the entirety of the pattern. The solution usually begins with a one-sentence resolution for the problem, and then dives into greater detail on the issues involved in applying the solution, along with the pattern’s relationships to other patterns and supporting stories and literature.
Toward the end of each pattern is an action section, which describes something concrete you can do immediately if you wish to experience the effect of the pattern. These actions serve as example implementations. They supply exercises you can jump into immediately, without having to worry about the applicability of a pattern to your current situation.
It is important to remember that any pattern is meant to contain a family of solutions to a family of problems within a given context. Patterns are meant to be open to modification to fit your circumstances rather than mechanically applied. So if a pattern doesn’t precisely fit your circumstances, or none of the items in the action section seem suitable, then try to extrapolate from the raw materials we provide to see if you can build something useful.
Most of our patterns end with a “See Also” section, pointing to the page numbers for related patterns. This should help steer you away from a linear reading of the book in favor of a meandering path that gives you a deeper appreciation of the relationships between the different patterns.