GoF Design Patterns, Second Edition

Last night, we were at a tribute to John Vlissides, who passed away last year after a long struggle with complications caused by a brain tumour. At the tribute were Ralph Johnson and Erich Gamma. Richard Helm videotaped his tribute and sent it in a few days before. Most of you will recognize these names as the remaining three of the Gang of Four.

The tribute was nice, and each shared their memories of John. Erich’s was particularly nice, as he showed another side of John via emails that were exchanged during the writing of the Gang of Four Design Patterns book. After this, people from the audience were allowed to ask questions.

Of course, the question came: “What’s next?”. Erich answered fairly quickly, “we started Design Patterns, Second Edition in 1998”. This answer made it fairly apparent to me that this is something that will not be happening, especially considering that the first book was done in about 2 years.

After thinking about it, it does make sense. The core patterns that they discussed in that book are probably the best things that could have happened to object oriented programming, and how people communicate about design of software. This was certainly ground breaking, however, with the advent of sites like patternshare.org, a second edition of that book doesnt really make that much sense. Other than updating the examples to use a relatively modern language (Java or C#, instead of Smalltalk), there’s not much else to do.

The book is a classic, and always will be the standard when it comes to pattern reference. I congratulate all of them for a fantastic job, and look forward to see what comes next from those guys.