Important Dates

Click to Expand
June 3
Paper submissions due.
June 7
Shepherding begins
July 24
Second draft due for review
July 31
Notification of acceptance
August 19
Deadline focus group / workshop proposals
September 1
Early Conference registration ends
September 10
Conference versions due
October 7
Patterns Bootcamp
October 8-10
PLoP Conference Days
February 9, 2020
Proceeding version due


Call For Submissions

The Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP™) conference is the premier event for pattern authors and enthusiasts to gather, discuss, and learn more about patterns, programming, and software development.

This year PLoP will be in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The conference is not traditional—the main event is a set of Writers’ Workshops where pattern papers are reviewed by fellow authors, led by expert workshop leaders.

Authors and everyone will find lots of opportunities to learn about patterns, pattern languages, pattern writing, and the quest for human-centered software creation in the panoply of PLoP activities: Writers’ Workshops, Focus Groups, BoF sessions, BootCamp, Games, shared meals and chit-chat.

Reinventing the past is hard to do and not what we plan. Programming, software, and software development are changing fast. We plan to explore where it could all go, how code will be made, what the nature of software design will be, how scale will infect everything, and what kinds of new software will emerge.

Important Dates

  • Initial Draft Submission deadline June 3, 2019
  • Focus Groups Submission June 3, 2019
  • Start of shepherding June 7, 2019
  • Second draft due for review July 24, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance July 31, 2019
  • Conference registration ends September 1, 2019
  • Conference versions due September 10, 2019
  • Patterns bootcamp October 7, 2019
  • PLoP conference days October 8-10, 2019
  • Proceedings versions due January 15, 2020


Paper submissions may include short papers containing one or more patterns, longer pattern languages or sequences, or works in- progress by writers wishing to get in-depth shepherding by an experienced author at the conference. Patterns and pattern languages on other topics, essays on patterns, and visions for the future are encouraged.

In addition, you may submit proposals for free-format discussion groups or workshops bringing together people interested in a hot topic related to patterns or proven practices—with a duration about two hours. Non-conventional formats are welcome.

Submissions should fall into one of the following categories:

Pattern Papers

Short papers (6-10 pages) containing one or more patterns. Longer papers containing pattern languages or sequence as well as work-in-progress papers will be considered. All accepted papers receive in-depth shepherding by an experienced pattern author before the conference. Long papers might have only a portion shepherded and workshopped. Papers may receive further shepherding at the conference.

Papers on Applying Patterns

Papers on the practical application of patterns. The focus of these papers should be either on applying patterns to industrial projects, education, and organizations, or on systematizing the application of patterns. They should stimulate discussion on how better to disseminate patterns in higher education, training, and practice.

Essay or Classical Style Papers

Essays and classical papers. Some pattern papers don't fit the traditional pattern. Papers in this category can be essay, classical technical papers, or articles. In particular, we encourage the submission of:

  • Scientific studies on patterns and pattern applications
  • Papers that present theoretical arguments about patterns
  • Empirical evaluations of patterns and pattern languages

Focus Group Proposals

Focus groups: free-format discussion groups or workshops lasting approximately three hours. Focus groups bring together people interested in a challenging (hot) topic related to patterns. Non-conventional ideas such as goldfish bowls and renga circles are welcome.

Workshop Proposals

Half-day workshops. In addition to the Focus Groups, PLoP 2019 invites ideas for half-day workshops on a (hot) topic with a pattern focus.

Spotlight Topics

In the past, one of the most rewarding parts of PLoP has been in fostering cooperation among domain experts by looking for paper submissions on special "Spotlight topics” where we have seen interest in collaboration among different groups.

This approach has previously resulted in major results in the areas of programming framework patterns (such as Java Spring), Integration patterns (resulting in the book Enterprise Integration Patterns) and Web Services Patterns. Over time we have found the strongest pattern languages that have emerged are those that are formed from the combined experience of several experts in a field.

As a result, this year we are specifically looking for papers on the following Spotlight Topics. If you are interested in submitting a paper in any of these areas, continue to check the conference web site Spotlight Topic Page for more information on collaborating with other authors in these areas.

  • Security patterns – especially security of the Internet of Things
  • Agile method application patterns
  • Innovation patterns
  • Machine learning and data science patterns

Members of the Spotlight Topic groups are encouraged to read and comment on the papers for the topic prior to the conference, thus making it possible to more substantively improve the papers during the conference.

Submission Procedure

The core of PLoP is the Writers' Workshop, 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 its authors to refine the paper prior to the conference. All submissions are peer-reviewed after shepherding.

Following shepherding, papers may be accepted directly into a Writers' Workshop or alternatively, into a Writing Group. Writing Group papers will receive additional face-to-face shepherding at the conference. Writing Group papers reaching a 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 journal Transactions on Pattern Languages of Programming published by Springer.

There is a three stage submission process for the conference:

  • Initial submissions are assessed for suitability. Papers judged suitable are assigned a shepherd who will help its authors improve the paper.
  • Authors are expected to submit a second draft part way through the shepherding process. After shepherding, each paper will be assessed for quality and its authors' willingness to accept feedback. This review will determine whether a paper is accepted to the conference.
  • Authors and shepherds are expected to continue until the final drafts are due.

To submit your paper, please visit: The 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.

I am looking forward to reading your submissions, learning about the patterns that you have observed, and to meeting you in Ottawa, Ontario. Welcome to PLoP 2019!

On behalf of PLoP 2019,
--Michael Weiss
Program 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.