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Software Architecture: How to Reference Software Patterns

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

Whenever you're writing a document and want to refer to a software pattern, be sure to give your readers enough information that they can find the same pattern themselves. Software patterns appear in books, journals, and conference proceedings, and should be cited just like anything else. Here are some guidelines:

  • Set off the name. Within the body of your document, make the pattern name look different from the normal text somehow. Commonly, pattern authors do this by applying small-caps character formatting, underlining the pattern title, or capitalizing it consistently.

  • Tag the pattern. Mark the pattern so that readers can find the full pattern through a detailed reference. Use whatever referencing method you're applying in the rest of your document — footnotes, endnotes, or inline (with the text in parentheses).

  • Credit all your sources. For each pattern citation, include all the typical reference material, such as author, pattern name, and where you found the pattern (such as a book or website). Sometimes enough people know the reference so that you can use a shorthand.

  • Date the version. Always cite the date of the pattern version that you're using, especially if your source may be changed and updated. Patterns on websites, for example, can be updated easily. Because writing patterns is a never-ending process, patterns are continually being refined, and pattern authors list a new date for each new version.

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Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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