15 The Past, Presence, and Future of Patterns

A painting is never finished;it simply stops in interesting places.

Paul Gardner, painter

You seldom get a chance to reflect on your predictions about the future. It is even less common to get three chances to review (and revise) your predictions! But that is one benefit of writing a series of books, as we have done with the POSA volumes.

This chapter revisits our forecasts about the future of patterns that appeared in the third volume of the POSA series, Patterns for Resource Management, in 2004. We discuss the directions that patterns have taken in the past three years, analyze where they are now, and—with the benefit of hindsight—once again revise our vision about the future of patterns.

15.1 The Past Three Years at a Glance

Over the years we have become better at determining the future of patterns. In contrast to our forecasts in the first and second volume of the POSA series, nearly all the forecasts we made in the third POSA volume came true, or are coming true. We start by summarizing what has happened during the past three years, referencing much of the relevant work during that period, though our list is not exhaustive. Additional references are available at http://hillside.net/patterns/.

Patterns and Pattern Languages

Our main prediction from three years ago was that pattern languages would grow in importance and popularity: ‘authors will focus largely on documenting pattern languages instead of stand-alone patterns, and ...

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