Building a Software Pattern Catalog

Part of the Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you start using patterns to solve software design problems, you'll find a few favorites. Record these favorites in your own software pattern catalog for future reference— it's good practice. Select the tools that you're most comfortable with (pencil and paper, word-processing document, web page, blog, or wiki) and that you're most likely to use when you face design challenges. Then follow these steps:

  1. Identify the software development problems that you commonly encounter.

    Your pattern catalog will be most useful if it addresses these problems.

  2. Find the patterns that solve these problems.

    You probably already have some favorite patterns that you use.

  3. Organize your pattern catalog in sections to help you zoom in and quickly find the patterns that can help you.

    Organize patterns by when you need them, by what kind of solution they provide, or by scope of pattern — any categorization that you find useful.

  4. Connect the patterns.

    Patterns work together, allowing you to solve big problems. Add references, hyperlinks, or other connections between the patterns so that you'll remember that when you used pattern X in the past, you also used pattern Y. Connecting patterns is easiest if you use an electronic cataloging method.

  5. Keep your catalog current.

    New patterns are published continually, and you may want to include some of them in your handbook. Also, if you find that you don't use some of the patterns anymore, remove them to make room for the new ones that you do use.

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