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Re: Design Patterns Considered Harmful

by hsmyers (Canon)
on Dec 20, 2001 at 23:43 UTC ( #133580=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Design Patterns Considered Harmful

I'd say that this is itself a 'Meta' pattern. You could have just as easily said the same thing about objects as patterns. And 'Structure' before that come to think of it. All kinds of koans, err—maxims come to mind, but I'd sum it all up by saying that the job of the beginner is to explore and that the job of the experienced is to go find the missing novices.


"Never try to teach a pig to sing…it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."

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Re: Re: Design Patterns Considered Harmful
by djantzen (Priest) on Dec 21, 2001 at 08:46 UTC

    You could have just as easily said the same thing about objects as patterns.

    Right on. I once worked for a project manager who couldn't make it two sentences without saying 'object'. He was very fond of patterns as well, and seemed to believe that if he made everything object oriented and utilized patterns then the project would succeed. 'Scalable' was the other word he loved: imagine a multithreaded server (in C++ for efficiency!) for sending messages over wireless networks. Never mind that all the messages went out ONE network device!!

    Well, guess what, not only did the software not work reliably, but it became an example of how not to build that type of system.

    No question there are clear advantages to OO programming and the incorporation of some design patterns; the real problem is believing that they are a panacea. A good dose of The Mythical Man-Month I think would be a sufficient countermeasure to OO/DP fixation.

    Now if you want a really painful read, try Patterns of Software by Richard Gabriel. 200 pages of tedious speculation on the qualities of "good" software, which ultimately turns out to be the question of what constitutes objective beauty. He ends of up calling this thing "the quality without a name" and can only gesture at it with obscure utterances like "A system has this quality when it is at peace with itself, when it has no internal contradictions ... when it is true to its own inner forces". Now, I majored in Philosophy, and so talk like this strikes a chord with me, but by god, this doesn't help much when you're staring down an Emacs buffer!

      The virulent nature of memetic virus that is DP still astounds me.

      The whole "Quality Without A Name" thing is a favorite DP'er pull right from Christopher Alexander, a "real" architect who wrote "A Pattern Language", one of a series of books talking about form, function, and 'objective aesthetics' as it were.

      If you're into heady abstract reading then I'd highly recommend it. If you're not, then I'd say avoid it at all costs.

      - V


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