Friday, July 13, 2007

Back from EuroPLoP

I was out at EuroPLoP in Germany last week, and much of this week has been spent in recovery mode.  EuroPLoP is a great conference – or rather un-conference.  Unconference is an expression I first heard last year that describes a conference which is different.  EuroPLoP is certainly different.


EuroPLoP is first and foremost a pattern writers conference.  So we spend time reviewing peoples papers not listening to presentations.  We spend time playing games together.  Actually this bit is essential because it builds the community and helps you take the feedback in the reviews.


We also hold open ended discussions (focus groups), drink (free) beer and talk, talk, talk.  At breakfast, lunch, dinner, in-between and in the sauna.  Some of the best conversations are in the sauna.


Our conversations revolve around patterns, software development, teams, books, writing and, in my case, business models.  There are more and more patterns being written about business, it is only a matter of time before someone publishes the first book.


As an aside, one of the founders of the European Patterns movement, Frank Buschmann, was at EuroPLoP.  He mentioned some research he had seen about software engineering literature.  It seems that the most referenced software engineering book (not including text books) is…. Design patterns (aka “Gang of Four book”).


(Unfortunately I don’t have the reference to hand, I think it is Paul Clements and others from SEI at CMU.)


The second most references book is Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 1 "POSA 1" and "POSA 2" (Pattern-oriented Software Architecture Volume 2) also makes it into the Top-10. 


In fact 6 or 7 out of the top 10 books turn out to be pattern books.  To me that says Patterns are on to something. 


Unfortunately, all too many developers don’t know about patterns and those who do only know the 23 in the Gang of Four book, and of those 23 Singleton seems to be know more than any other.


The other news from EuroPLoP is about me!  The conference committee decided to make me conference chair for 2008 and 2009.  I have to admit I am a bit worried about the work involved and tried to avoid the post but I was persuaded. 


Wow, me, conference chair…. I can hardly believe it!