Authors: James Noble, Robert Biddle
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Object-oriented design patterns have been one of the most important and successful ideas in software design over the last ten years, and have been well adopted both in industry and academia. A number of open research problems remain regarding patterns, however, including the differences between patterns, variant forms of common patterns, the naming of patterns, the organisation of collections of patterns, and the relationships between patterns. We provide a semiotic account of design patterns, treating a pattern as a sign comprised of the programmers' intent and its realisation in the program. Considering patterns as signs can address many of these common questions regarding design patterns, to assist both programmers using patterns and authors writing them.