Portland Form

One of many PatternForms, the "Portland Form" is a highly simplified pattern form well suited to overhead slides and hypertext systems. It is the preferred form of patterns in the PortlandPatternRepository.

The form is ideal for summaries of large pattern languages and is also a useful tool when working a collection of patterns into a pattern language.


"Having done thus and such or so and so..." or "At the point in time where this one thing has ended but before this other thing has started" or "Sometimes" or "frequently"... You have some problem. [Context and a brief description of the problem]

"The reason this happens is..." or "this is caused by..." or "Usually this is because of...". "You will want to..." or "It is important that..." or "The primary goal is...". "But..." or "You will also want..." or "Another important issue is...". [Cause of the problem followed by the forces that must be resolved in order, roughly, from strongest to weakest and with conflicts between the forces highlighted]


Take some particular kind of action; or, build something that looks like this; or select this sort of option over that sort. [Describe a solution that resolves the strongest forces in this context.]

"Now you can..." or "Next you will want to..." or "This means that you will have to..." or "You will still need to...". [Describe the resulting context: what has been resolved, what needs to be addressed next, what new possibilities are available at this point, what new problems have arisen, what possibilities are no longer available etc...]

"This is part of the same problem that is addressed by..." or "You may also want to consider..." or "Use this when you've already done thus and such and now you want to move in the direction of doing this other thing..." or "For a fuller description of the larger set of problems for which this is a partial solution see:..." [Summary section. Discuss the greater context in which this pattern belongs, related patterns, and the specific relationships between those patterns and this one.]

Some variations of this have cropped up on Wiki over the years. Frequently a PortlandForm OpeningStatement will start with a one sentence SummaryStatement? that has one phrase that describes the problem and another that describes the solution (see InviteModeration for an example). A "See also:" line is also frequently used at the very end of the OpeningStatement. I think that this is best used to bibiliographize the links already found in the body of the form. I've noticed in particular that "See also:" links could frequently use some explanation in the (often missing) summary section of the pattern. -- PhilGoodwin

CategoryPattern | CategoryPatternForm

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