14 From Patterns To People

Now my understanding of what you are doing withpatterns… it is a kind of a neat format, and that is fine.The pattern language that we began did have otherfeatures, and I don't know whether those havetranslated into your discipline. I mean, there was a rootbehind the whole thing—a continuous mode ofpreoccupation with under what circumstances is theenvironment good. In our field that means something.

Christopher Alexander,keynote speech at OOPSLA 1996

People are the prime audience for patterns. From stand-alone patterns to pattern languages, patterns embody a strong human aspect, most obviously in the form of a pattern's reader, but also in other roles. This chapter investigates why patterns are so attractive for all parties who are interested in, or affected by, software. We also present the values often associated with the patterns community and the techniques used to support pattern authors in their writing.

14.1 Patterns are for People

Previous chapters mainly explored patterns from a content, property, and presentational perspective. But who is their target audience? For whom is this immense effort of identifying and documenting good patterns made? Some pioneers of the pattern community such as Christopher Alexander [Ale79] and Jim Coplien [Cope00] are quite clear about the answer to this question: patterns are for people!

This answer may appear surprising at a first glance, given the technical context in which we have presented many patterns. A ...

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