Origins and History

Learn about the origin and history of design patterns.

Let’s discuss the history and origin of design patterns by highlighting their past contributors.

Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander was an American architect and architectural theorist of the twentieth century. His theories on the nature of human-centered design have impacted many fields other than architecture, such as urban design, software, and sociology. He designed over 300 buildings.

He is most known for his trilogy, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, The Oregon Experiment, and The Timeless Way of Building. Some of his later works in The Nature of Order, a series of four volumes, have a philosophical and systems analysis tone and develop a comprehensive living system theory.

He is the father of what is known as “design patterns.” He used them to logically combine various complicated architectural aspects and structures. He was the first person to coin terms such as pattern, forces, and pattern language in relation to design.

Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck

Alexander’s ideas inspired Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham, and they published a book named Using Pattern Languages for Object Oriented Programs in 1987.

James Coplien

James Coplien is one of the founders of design patterns in software development history. He worked on C++ idioms and published a book named Advanced C++ Programming Styles and Idioms in 1991. This book is considered one of the most important sources for building design patterns.

Erich Gamma

Erich Gamma was one of the members of the Gang of Four (GOF) who did a great job in software development and building design patterns. Along with his companions Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides, he published a book named Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. This book initiated the concept of design patterns in software development.

Frank Buschmann

Frank Buschmann is a senior principal engineer in Germany. He has worked on software architecture, model-driven software development, object technology, and patterns. He has published three volumes of Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture (POSA) along with Regine Meunier, Hans Rohnert, Peter Sommerlad, and Michael Stal starting in 1995.

Get hands-on with 1200+ tech skills courses.