Technical Report 1999-006

Formalizing the Intent of Design Patterns. An Approach Towards a Solution to the Indexing Problem

Andreas Gustavsson and Mattias Ersson

July 1999


The intent section of a pattern description is written in easily understood, natural language, which unfortunately has the drawback of being too imprecise and unstructured for certain applications of the intent section.

We will in this essay try to formalize the intent section of a pattern description. Our aim will be to find a structure within the intent description that will reduce ambiguities and at the same time make the classification of patterns easier. The classifications of patterns addresses the problem of "labeling" patterns into one of the following categories: Creational, Structural or Behavioural. Succeeding in classifying patterns by the intent does require that enough information for doing so is contained in the one to two sentences that make up the intent. Whether this is the case or not will be discussed in the essay.

A formalized intent section of a pattern description can not replace the understandability of the natural language description but can be thought of as a complement to the standard structure to patterns today.

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