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Design Patterns as Higher−Order Datatype−Generic Programs

Jeremy Gibbons


Design patterns are reusable abstractions in object-oriented software. However, using current programming languages, these elements can only be expressed extra-linguistically: as prose, pictures, and prototypes. We believe that this is not inherent in the patterns themselves, but evidence of a lack of expressivity in the languages of today. We expect that, in the languages of the future, the code part of design patterns will be expressible as reusable library components. Indeed, we claim that the languages of tomorrow will suffice; the future is not far away. The necessary features are higher-order and datatype-generic constructs; these features are already or nearly available now. We argue the case by presenting higher-order datatype-generic programs capturing Origami, a small suite of patterns for recursive data structures.

Book Title
Workshop on Generic Programming
Ralf Hinze