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Excellent presentation of EA combined with a practical and usable framework. - Senior Systems Developer II, PPDI, USA, Sep 2010

Recommend PEAF?


Yes - Because it makes things simple. - Business Analyst, Rijkswaterstaat, Netherlands, May 2010

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Here we see the Mandelbrot Set. An illustration of one of the most important and powerful patterns known to man (and nature) - Recursion.

There are two types of patterns:

      Firstly we recognise that patterns exist everywhere in just about everything and especially in nature - a self-optimising system for the sustainability of living organisms that are Effective (reproduction), Efficient, Agile and Durable. Hmmm - sounds la bit like an Enterprise! Patterns promote efficiency and elegance in the structure (Architecture) of things and how they work. Things that have discernable patterns tend to be much better than those that do not.

      Secondly we recognise that patterns can be used as high level general solutions to commonly occurring problems. A (design) pattern allows us to reuse these solutions with a high degree of certainty that they are effective and efficient. Someone (and probably many people) have already done "the hard work" and this allows us to "stand on the shoulders of giants". They can be small or large and their size does not necessarily imply importance.

Design patterns can be structural (aka how something is organised) or transformational (aka how something is changed). Some patterns can be a mixture of the two - for example Software Design patterns tend to consist of structure as well as algorithms, whereas other patterns can be purely structural such as technical reference models.

Architects see patterns everywhere. Their brains are hard wired that way. Why do we look for patterns? Because patterns reduce complexity. Where they cannot see a pattern they tend to create one! This tends to be an iterative process where a pattern is initially chosen, mostly on gut feel, and then that pattern is used to map things to it. In the process of doing that it may be seen that the pattern was not correct and so the pattern is changed and we repeat the loop.

Architecture is essentially patterns/styles. For buildings, many people look at a building and say "wow - look at the architecture" which implies the physical building itself. Actually the architecture is not the building itself. The architecture is the patterns/styles behind the physical building such as Art Deco, Georgian, Regency, Modernist, Gothic, etc. There are hundreds of Architectures (Architectural styles) in the Building domain.

However, there is also a downside to patterns. Patterns promote conformity and sameness (within limits) and so careful consideration should be given to when patterns should be considered to be a friend or an enemy.


Do you agree that there is massive value in patterns?

How much time is spent in your Enterprise understanding and maintaining patterns?

What problems exist with documenting and maintaining patterns?

Who should be responsible for maintaining patterns?

Are people in your Enterprise given the appropriate time and resources to find, model and maintain patterns?



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