Important Dates

May 23rd
Initial Draft Submission
Jun 11th
Shepherding starts
Aug 1st
Focus Groups Submission
Aug 17th
Second draft due for review
Aug 27th
Notification of Acceptance
Sep 15th
Conference Draft Due
Sep 21st
Early Registration ends
October 18th
October 19-21
PLoP Conference Days


Call For Submissions

This is your invitation to participate in this year’s Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP) conference and share your knowledge with experts in your field. Patterns help to shape our world in a positive way by reporting successful solutions that have shown to work in the past. Whether you have been a pattern author in the past or wonder why no one has written down those patterns you know all too well, this is your chance to contribute your expertise and receive feedback from pattern experts and practitioners!

PLoP is the premier international conference on patterns. The purpose of PLoP is to promote the development of pattern languages, primarily about aspects of software: design and programming, testing, software architecture, user interface design, domain modeling, education, human relations, and software processes. Patterns and pattern languages for domains outside software are also welcome.

PLoP 2012 will take place October 19-21 in Tucson, Arizona in conjunction with the SPLASH (formerly OOPSLA) conference. At the PLoP 2012 conference you will meet pattern enthusiasts from all over the world, learn about successful designs and architectures, and receive constructive feedback from your peers on your own writing.

Important Dates

  • Initial Draft Submission deadline May 20, 2012
  • Start of shepherding June 11, 2012
  • Focus Groups Submission August 1, 2012
  • Second draft due for review August 6, 2012
  • Notification of acceptance August 27, 2012
  • Early registration ends September 13, 2012
  • Conference versions due September 15, 2012
  • PLoP conference days October 19-21, 2012
  • Proceedings versions due January, 2013

Submission Categories

PLoP accepts papers containing patterns or pattern languages as well as experience reports and papers related to the theory and use of patterns. In addition, you can submit proposals for free-format discussion groups or workshops that bring together people interested in a hot topic related to patterns or proven practices. Proposals addressing interdisciplinary topics and topics from other domains than software development are especially encouraged. Non-conventional formats are welcome. Submissions should fall into one of the following categories:

Pattern Papers

Short papers (5 to 12 pages) containing one or more patterns. Work-in-progress papers will also be considered for inclusion. All accepted papers will receive in-depth shepherding by an experienced pattern author before the conference. Papers may receive further shepherding at the conference itself. These papers will be discussed at the conference in the Writers Workshop format.

Pattern Language Papers

Long papers containing pattern languages or sequences. The accepted papers will also receive in-depth shepherding by an experienced pattern author before the conference, however depending on the paper size only a piece of it may be analyzed. These papers will be discussed at the conference in longer Focus Group session.

Papers on Applying Patterns

Papers on practical application of patterns. The focus of these papers should be on applications of patterns in industrial projects, as well as on systematizing the application of patterns. They should stimulate a general discussion on how to disseminate the patterns literature more widely in higher education and training. This track hopes to provide visibility to research attempts for integrating patterns in software engineering industrial practices.

Best Practices Papers

Experience shows that certain pattern papers may feel "artificial" in the sense that although the content and writing style is very good, forcing it into one of the traditional pattern forms does not benefit the reader. The Best Practices category introduces an alternative to the traditional papers where content can be presented as an essay or in a more classical article or paper style.

Focus Group Proposals

Focus groups are free-format discussion groups or workshops lasting approximately three hours. They are designed to bring together people who are interested in a challenging topic related to patterns or proven practices. Non-conventional ideas such as goldfish bowls are welcome. Focus Group proposals are invited in advance of the conference. Focus groups proposals should be sent by email to with [PLoP Focus Group Proposal] on the subject.

Submission Procedure

The core of PLoP is a series of Writers' Workshops where authors work together to improve their papers. Before papers are accepted for a Writers' Workshop, they are shepherded. Shepherding is an iterative process where an experienced author discusses the submission with the authors with the goal of refining the paper prior to the conference. All submissions are peer-reviewed.

Following the shepherding, papers may be accepted directly into a Writers' Workshop, or into the Writing Group. Writing Group papers will receive additional face-to-face shepherding at the conference itself. Writing Group papers reaching the required standard will be considered for workshop review on the final day of the conference.

The PLoP proceedings are published after the conference through the ACM Digital Library. Papers discussed at a Writers' Workshop at PLoP qualify for submission to the new journal Transactions on Pattern Languages of Programming published by Springer.You will find more information on: (

There is a three stage submission process:

To submit your paper, please visit: final version of the paper should be submitted in the PDF format (produced on a high-resolution output device) on letter paper size (8 1/2" x 11") following the ACM single column format. Initial submissions that don't follow the format will be accepted, but the last version should follow the templates to be published on the ACM library. ACM single column templates are available in Word and LaTex:

At least one of the authors of accepted papers are expected to register for the conference before the close of early-bird registration. Failure to do so may result in acceptance being withdrawn.

For more information, please visit:

I am looking forward to reading your submissions, learning about the patterns that you have observed, and to meeting you in Tucson. Welcome to PLoP 2012!

On behalf of PLoP 2012 and the Hillside Group,

Eduardo Guerra

Conference Chair

Shepherding Process

The shepherding process is essentially a reviewing process. Shepherds are individuals, with experience in pattern writing, assigned to an author's paper with the expressed interest in helping the author improve the pattern. Most Shepherds also have experience with the shepherding procedure, either having been a shepherd before or a sheep(an author).

Shepherding is about improving the pattern itself, while the Shepherd maintains that the author is the one doing the pattern writing. The shepherding process is done before the paper is to be presented at a conference. The Shepherd guides the sheep into a more mature understanding of his or her pattern.

Near the end of the shepherding, Shepherds must submit their recommendations to the Program Committee members, which then decide about its acceptance to the part of a writer's workshop of the conference. After accepted, authors and shepherds can continue evolving the papers to produce the conference draft version.

For a more in-depth description of this reviewing process typical of PLoP's, visit "The Language of Shepherding" (PDF) written by Neil Harrison.

All the papers submitted and accepted to be shepherded for PLoP are available for Program Committee members, shepherds, and authors.


The conference version of the papers will be publicly available, individually, by writers' workshop, and into the preliminary conference proceedings.

Being feedback and improvement the focus of the writers' workshops, papers are not considered final once they have been workshopped. Authors incorporate the feedback they receive at the writers' workshop into their papers before the papers go into the final proceedings to be produced after the conference, which will be made available through here.

Post-conference papers will be digitally archived by ACM.

TPLoP Journal

Papers discussed at writer's workshop at this conference qualify for submission to the new journal "TPLoP - Transactions on Pattern Languages of Programming" published by Springer. See Springer's pages on TPLoP for details of this journal.