Re: Pattern language for tech writing

Subject: Re: Pattern language for tech writing
From: Barry Campbell <barry -dot- campbell -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 10:48:59 -0500

On Mon, 14 Mar 2005 20:33:55 -0600, Jerry Muelver <jerry -at- hytext -dot- com> wrote:

> Is anyone working on, or even aware of, a pattern language project for
> technical communication?

For those of you who may not be familiar with what Jerry's talking
about, the "pattern language" concept originated with an incredibly
influential book (ostensibly about architecture and urban planning,
but actually covering much more ground than that) by Christopher
Alexander, published in 1977 and reprinted umpteen times since then:

"A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction"

The book documents patterns that recur in architectural design and
urban planning and attempts to render them logically as a coherent
whole, or "pattern language." Reading it is an experience that can
only be described as mind-expanding.

In recent years, the "pattern language" concept has been
enthusiastically picked up by software developers and theorists. See,
e.g., "Pattern Languages of Software Design," by James Coplien

Jerry, I am not aware of any ongoing project to document patterns in,
or develop a pattern language for, technical writing.

As a huge fan and obsessive reader of Christopher Alexander's work,
and as someone who has been a tech writer for a ridiculously long
time, if you'd like to start such a project, count me in. Would love
to help.

Barry Campbell <barry -dot- campbell -at- gmail -dot- com>


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