The Culture of Patterns

James O. Coplien

The pattern community came about from a consciously crafted culture, a culture that has persisted, grown, and arguably thrived for a decade. The culture was built on a small number of explicit principles. The culture became embodied in its activities—conferences called PLoPs that centered on a social activity for reviewing technical works—and in a body of literature that has wielded broad influence on software design. Embedded within the larger culture of software development, the pattern culture has enjoyed broad influence on software development worldwide. The culture hasn’t been without its problems: conflict with academic culture, accusations of cultism, and compromises with other cultures. However, its culturally rich principles still live on both in the original organs of the pattern community and in the activities of many other software communities worldwide