Patterns, Frameworks, and Reuse J2EE

We have been chasing the illustrious software reuse goal for years now and have only had moderate success. In fact, most of the commercial reuse success has been in the user interface area, not in business components, which is our focus. As business system architects, we strive to promote reuse, but have really been concentrating on reuse at the design and architecture levels. The pattern catalog has proven a powerful way to promote this level of reuse.

There are numerous relationships between each of the patterns in the catalog, and these relationships are sometimes referred to as being part of a pattern language. We provide a diagram of these relationships. Another way to describe these relationships is in terms of a pattern framework, or a collection of patterns in a united scenario. This concept is key to identifying end-to-end solutions and wiring components together at the pattern level.

Developers must understand more than discrete patterns in isolation, and have been asking for best practices as to how to link patterns together to form larger solutions. Combining the patterns from the catalog in this manner is what we refer to as leveraging a J2EE pattern framework. A framework, in this context, is about linking patterns together to form a solution to address a set of requirements. We think that this type of usage will drive the next generation of tools in J2EE development. Such automation of a pattern-driven process requires

  • Identifying scenarios and offering patterns that apply for each tier.
  • Identifying pattern combinations, or motifs, to provide pattern frameworks.
  • Selecting implementation strategies for each role.

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