Monday, February 11, 2002

Capturing Knowledge and Practices. I'm a patterns advocate because they lend themselves to capturing best practices and lessons learned. These, in turn, are a form of knowledge management that facilitates knowledge transfer, not to mention process improvement.

Most IT professionals, and probably all developers, have some familiarity with patterns, amd the first introduction probably came from reading Design Patterns. That 1994 book introduced the powerful technique for capturing best practices, lessons learned and solutions in object-oriented development. The concept was borrowed from the building industry and was inspired on a 1977 book by Christopher Alexander titled A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction.

Patterns have even spawned a growing body of knowledge of what not to do, called anti-patterns.

Because I am such an advocate (and a passionate one at that) I want to share what I consider to be the best patterns resources on the web:

I previously touched upon anti-patterns. Sometimes an example of what not to do is as powerful as a documented best practice. Linda reviewed AntiPatterns in Project Management on 24 April 2001. I thumbed through the book and found it interesting. I have also thumbed through the related books: Anti-Patterns and Patterns in Software Configuration Management (a wonderful resource for CM specialists) and AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis (the book that introduced anti-patterns).

A good place to start for understanding anti-patterns in context is the design patterns page on the anti-patterns site. Follow up with anti-pattern viewpoints as an overview, then drill down into the three views:

  1. Development.
  2. Management.
  3. Architecture.
Ending Note: Shifting gears - I'll end with two sites that I recently discovered and want to share:
  1. SCHEMA.NET. This site is part of a family of pages: XMLINFO, XSLINFO and XMLSOFTWARE. The goal of this family of sites is to provide well organised information and resources on XML.SCHEMA.NET provides DTDs and schemas for practically every business domain and vertical imaginable.
  2. Functional Programming and XML, which is an article on O'Reilly's that makes a compelling argument in favor of using functional programming techniques instead of OO for XML development. It's worth reading regardless of your views on OO vs. functional development.
Related topics are in today's Postcards from the Revolution: Activity-Based Cost and Value-Added Assessment, eXtensible Business Reporting Language and Reference Software Quality Profiles.

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