What's an AntiPattern?
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Design Patterns
AP Catalog

AntiPatterns represent the latest concept in a series of revolutionary changes in computer science and software engineering thinking. As we approach the 50-year mark in developing programmable digital systems, the software industry has yet to resolve some fundamental problems in how humans translate business concepts into software applications. The emergence of design patterns has provided the most effective form of software guidance yet available, and the whole patterns movement has gone a long way in codifying a concise terminology for conveying sophisticated computer science thinking.

While it is reasonable to assume that the principal reason we write software is to provide solutions to specific problems, it is also arguable that these solutions frequently leave us worse off before we started. In fact, academic researchers and practitioners have developed thousands of innovative approaches to building software: from exciting new technologies to progressive processes, but with all these great ideas, the likelihood of success for practicing managers and developers is grim.

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A survey of hundreds of corporate software development projects indicated that five out of six software projects are considered unsuccessful. About a third of software projects are canceled. The remaining projects delivered software that was typically twice the expected budget and took twice as long to developed as originally planned [Johnson 95].   These repeated failures, or "negative solutions", are highly valuable, however in that they provide us with useful knowledge of what does not work, and through study: why. Such study, in the vernacular of Design Patterns can be classified as the study of AntiPatterns. 

 

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Copyright 1999 William Brown, Raphael Malveau, Hays McCormick, Thomas Mowbray, and Scott W. Thomas.  All rights reserved.
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