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Design Patterns Q&A - Q3 - What is pattern language?
|Disclaimer: This post is enhanced with AI assistance.|
The Newbie Asked
But master, what is pattern language? You promised me that you would talk about this.
The Master Replied
Pattern language is a fascinating topic and I can provide you with some insight.
Patterns are not limited to design and development. They go beyond that. The documentation of design patterns by the Gang of Four (GoF) in 1994 was preceded by the groundbreaking work of Christopher Alexander 1 and his team. Alexander, an ingenious architect, pioneered the concept of patterns and introduced the term "pattern language" in his influential book "A Pattern Language" back in 1977.2
Pattern Language is based on the idea that people use specific "languages" to design their surroundings. These languages are like spoken languages and allow people to communicate various designs coherently.
This book is a guide that uses "patterns" to solve common design problems. By following these patterns, you can create designs for any type of building or space that you want.
Over 250 patterns are explained in detail in this language. Each pattern includes a problem statement, a thorough discussion, and an illustrated solution. According to the authors, these patterns are deeply ingrained in human nature and will continue to be relevant for centuries to come.
Alexander's patterns can be found not only in software and architecture but also in narratives like
Hamlet. These recurring patterns are followed by novelists and playwrights.
Alexander's pattern language is a collection of structured solutions to specific problems. It's a powerful toolkit that can be applied to various domains and empowers experts to approach complex problems with a clear methodology.
Christopher Alexander introduced the concept of patterns in architecture, which refers to the recurring solutions to problems that arise in the design of buildings and spaces. The idea was later applied to software design by the Gang of Four (GoF).
GoF credited Alexander for introducing the idea of patterns, but their focus was on documenting 23 design patterns for software development, rather than creating a pattern language for design patterns like Alexander did for designing buildings.
Alexander and his team, in their pursuit of understanding the concept of pattern language, examined its broader applications, while the Gang of Four (GoF), on the other hand, delved into the specifics of design patterns in software development.
Despite their differing areas of focus, both groups contributed immensely to the comprehension of patterns within their respective domains. They can be seen as two distinct corners of the same captivating universe, each bringing their unique insights to the table.
It's truly captivating to witness how this idea effortlessly crosses boundaries between different disciplines. This serves as a testament to the remarkable universality and potency of patterns.
If you're intrigued by the possibility of unravelling how these intricate patterns are interwoven throughout various fields, then you're in for an exhilarating experience!
Have you ever pondered to consider the immense effort that went into creating the pattern language and the patterns themselves?
They are truly a testament to the brilliance of their creators and their applicability to software design is simply astounding! You now have the privilege of building on the foundation laid by these veterans, so get ready to soar to new heights!
Get ready to be blown away in the upcoming episodes of this series as we unveil fascinating and mind-blowing details of design patterns that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Don't miss out, stay tuned!
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Christopher Alexander, an influential architect and theorist, introduced the concept of "pattern language." His work, notably "A Pattern Language," explores patterns in design, urban planning, and beyond.
Christopher Wolfgang John Alexander was an Austrian-born British-American architect and design theorist. He was an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His theories about the nature of human-centered design have affected fields beyond architecture, including urban design, software, and sociology. Alexander designed and personally built over 100 buildings, both as an architect and a general contractor.
Alexander is also considered the father of the Pattern Language movement in computer science. His work A Pattern Language was perhaps the first complete book ever written in hypertext fashion.
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction is a 1977 book on architecture, urban design, and community livability. It was authored by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein of the Center for Environmental Structure of Berkeley, California, with writing credits also to Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel. Decades after its publication, it is still one of the best-selling books on architecture.
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