TITLE: A Big Anniversary
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: September 21, 2004 6:28 PM
DESC: Design Patterns turns 10
We are coming upon a major anniversary in the worlds of object-oriented
programming, patterns, and CS publications...
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
and not all that far behind much more recent soon-to-be classics
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!