TITLE: A Big Anniversary AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: September 21, 2004 6:28 PM DESC: Design Patterns turns 10 ----- BODY: We are coming upon a major anniversary in the worlds of object-oriented programming, patterns, and CS publications... Design Patterns first appeared at OOPSLA 1994. Most CS books, especially ones that appeal to a wide popular audience, have a pretty short shelf life. Occasionally, a new classic comes along that accompanies a change in how we work -- or ushers in the change. Design Patterns is such a book. It came out at a time when industry was embracing the idea of object-oriented programming in C++, but many programmers just didn't know much about OOP. Where was the flexibility it offered? How could achieve that flexibility in C++, a powerful but rigid languages. Design Patterns showed us. Design Patterns has taught a few generations of programmers about OOP and the common patterns that occur in flexible, extensible OO designs. It's still going strong these days. Amazon lists it at #788 on its bestsellers list, higher even than more more recent classics such as Refactoring and not all that far behind much more recent soon-to-be classics such as Code Complete, Second Edition. Even as the world has moved from C++ to Java, Design Patterns remains an essential reading for OO programmers. To what can we attribute its success and durability? There has been much discussion in the software patterns community about the book's shortcomings (it isn't a pattern language, its pattern format is hard to write in, ...), but we can't ignore the fact that it teaches well material that is essential to programmers. I learn a little something new every time I read it. This book gave visibility to the then-nascent software patterns community, which has led to many wonderful books and papers that teach us the principles of topics as diverse as configuration management, use case development, assembly language programming for microcontrollers, organizational management, and user interface design. It also spawned an eponym for the book's authors, the Gang of Four, and a corresponding new TLA, GoF. OOPSLA 2004 isn't going to let this anniversary slip by without a tribute, and a little fun to boot. The GoF 10th Anniversary Commemorative will feature a recent entry in the GoF-inspired library, Design Dating Patterns, by Solveig Haugland. That's a real book, all right -- check out the book's web site for more. The OOPSLA web site lists this session as a "social event", which makes some sense, given the book's content. But I expect that a few of the techies who show up will do so harboring a secret wish to learn something new that they can use. Heck, I'm married, and I plan to. If these design patterns teach their content as well as Design Patterns, then we will all learn something. And Ms. Haugland should be hailed for her achievement! -----