Re: Pattern language for tech writing

Subject: Re: Pattern language for tech writing
From: "Jerry Muelver" <jerry -at- hytext -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 22:29:37 -0500

From: "Bonnie Granat"


I can't seem to find anything on the Internet that I understand with
regard to "pattern languages." Can you explain what a "pattern language"
is along with where and how it is used?


Greatly over-simplified, a pattern language is a collection of recognized and named patterns in a (creative) process, which can be called upon to replicate the process with varying input to produce an acceptable result.

In other words, a recipe for getting something done with variations in the ingredients and still cook up a tasty dish. The WikiPedia description is at

Here's a proposed pattern language for producing a successful writer's workshop:

The idea is to come up with a list of concepts or actions or just "things to think about before you...", describe those things in a memorable, dynamic, action-oriented fashion, and provide a linked map of useful permutations of linked sequences for their application.

So, here's a pile of colored tiles, now go ahead and assemble a mosaic according to a set of rules (a pattern language) that specifies: groups of light-colored tiles should have a dark-colored border, and all tiles should have harmonically-colored (not contrasting) neighbors, and all representations of rounded objects should have light-colored tiles on similar quadrants to show a single light-source, etc.

It's a concept that soaks in, until it reaches critical density and you have an "a-HAH!" moment.

---- jerry


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RE: Pattern language for tech writing: From: Bonnie Granat

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