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Pattern Oriented Software Architecture Volume 5: On Patterns and Pattern Languages by Douglas C. Schmidt, Kevlin Henney, Frank Buschmann

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12 Notes on Pattern Language Form

The notes I handle no better than many pianists.But the pauses between the notes—ah, that iswhere the art resides.

Artur Schnabel

Documenting pattern languages is not simply a case of documenting their individual patterns and collecting them together. Other considerations are needed to help communicate the vision and the detail of the language to readers. This chapter extends our discussion of form by considering the form of whole pattern languages.

12.1 Style and Substance

Chapter 3, Notes on Pattern Form, discusses how presentation is far from being a secondary detail in a pattern, which needs proper communication to fulfill its promise. The vehicle for this communication is a pattern's concrete, written form. It should be no surprise that form is also important in pattern languages, which consist of a whole network of tightly integrated patterns. Appropriate form is therefore even more crucial for communicating a pattern language. In general, our discussions on form for both stand-alone patterns and pattern compounds also hold for pattern languages. There are some additional issues to consider, however, regarding the elements and details of form in pattern languages, as we discuss below.

12.2 The Function of Form

There is little difference between patterns and pattern languages with respect to the function of form: the aesthetic and stylistic preferences of an author must be balanced with a language's technical message and the expectations ...

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