Re: Design Pattern Snobs (and Buzzwords)
Posted: Nov 26, 2002 8:22 AM
> I cannot really comment on people' attitude and their
> motivation behind using buzzwords, but I use design
> patterns as a design vocabulary, that allows me to
> communicate my design much more efficiently than having to
> explain the entire class layout. I would certainly prefer
> to talk about a Singleton than about a class that controls
> the number of instances of an object.
> Design Pattern "buzzwords" are terms that become familiar
> and part of your vocabulary with regular usage, like any
> other terminology, be it EJB, JSP, JMS , etc.
I agree about the vocabulary aspect of design patterns, that design pattern names give us a way to communicate about our systems at a high level of abstraction. I think that's one of the very useful aspects of design patterns.
I don't think of "Singleton" or "Decorator" as buzzwords. I mean that "Design Patterns" was a buzzword. People bought books if they had the word "patterns" in the title, so authors and publishers sometimes tried to work that word into their titles.
Java was a buzzword back in its early days, when applets first started showing up in browsers. I would classify XML and XP as current buzzwords in our industry. My impression until recently was that design patterns were still in their buzzword phase, though I'm starting to hear otherwise.
The cycle of a buzzword is that the buzzworded idea receives a flurry of enthusiasm and generates high expectations. Then later it kind of falls out of fashion. The idea usually has merits, but the expectations are usually exceed the actual promise of the idea.
I think it is human to latch onto certain new ideas that seem promising. But it seems to happen more in the software industry. Perhaps I'm just not a construction industry insider, but I don't hear of new buzzwords taking the building construction industry by storm every year or so.
Of course, the building construction industry is a much older and more mature industry than the software construction industry. Maybe the buzzword-oriented nature of the software industry arises partly out of our youth. We don't feel like we've yet figured out how to build software, so we're constantly looking for and ready to get excited about new ideas.