Important Dates

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June 12
Paper submissions due.
June 19
Shepherding begins
August 15
Deadline focus group /
workshop proposals
August 31
Second draft due for review
September 15
Notification of acceptance
September 25
Conference versions due
September 25
Early Conference Registeration
October 22
Patterns Bootcamp
October 23-25
PLoP Conference Days
February 15, 2024
Proceeding version due


The train is standing quite still.
2 am: bright moonlight, few stars.
–Tomas Tranströmer, Tracks

Call For Submissions

The Pattern Languages of Programs conference (PLoP™) is the premier event for pattern authors and enthusiasts to gather, discuss, and learn more about patterns, design, software development, and the built world in general. We are looking forward to receiving your submissions and meeting you this fall at Allerton Park!

About PLoP

Recurring themes, motifs, and styles have been a fascination for historians, scientists, and scholars for hundreds of years. It’s no surprise that when software engineering emerged as a discipline that the same fascination would come to apply to that field as well. In 1993 this emerging interest in software patterns and pattern languages spawned an effort to document and communicate these themes in order to provide proven solutions to common problems, solutions that possess the qualities of elegance, simplicity, and beauty. Thus, the Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP) conference came into existence. Since those early, very software-focused beginnings, the PLoP conference has expanded its reach to many other areas as well, to cover patterns found in design, psychology, and many areas of human work and experience.

PLoP brings together practitioners and researchers whose interests span a broad range of topics, but all of whom share an interest in exploring the power of patterns. PLoP invites you to add your expertise to the growing body of patterns. At PLoP we focus on improving the written expression of patterns (both their form and content) through writers’ workshops. You will have the opportunity to refine and extend your patterns with the assistance of knowledgeable and sympathetic pattern enthusiasts and to work with others to develop pattern languages.

This year marks the 30th annual PLoP conference, and we especially welcome previous authors, speakers, and former conference organizers to share their experiences with new generations of pattern enthusiasts as we make this conference a celebration of the reach and staying power of the idea of patterns.

securing a coffee
and praising the able neighborhood
eternity's neighbor


Nearly any topic is suitable for discovering patterns. Welcomed genres include patterns, pattern languages, essays, scientific & technical papers, philosophical papers, and experience reports; welcomed topics include anything related to programming and software development, organizational structure, design, culture, politics, history, art, and the design and practice of living.

Papers Describing Pattern Languages or Individual Patterns

We are interested in pattern languages and individual patterns related not only to software development, but also to any other field of creative human activity, such as learning, organizing people, building, art, art of living, etc. Patterns can be described in common or innovative pattern forms. Papers of any length are welcome but limited writers’ workshop time will determine the extent of the feedback; we recommend either short papers or limiting the focus of attention.

Experience Reports

As a focus this year, we are looking for papers on how well patterns have served the communities they were written for. These papers could be either on experience in applying patterns to industrial projects, education, and organizations, or they could be on challenges found in using patterns as a pedagogical tool. Likewise, we would welcome papers on the difficulties the authors have found in writing patterns or in publishing patterns. These papers should stimulate discussion on how to express patterns better and how to better disseminate patterns in education, training, and practice.

Essays and other Papers

We also welcome essays and other papers not in pattern form, such as essays, classical technical papers, or articles. In particular, we encourage the submission of the following:

  • Empirical evaluations of patterns and pattern languages.
  • Reflections on how well patterns have stood up over time. We particularly invite the authors of published patterns to look back at their work and provide reports on how well the patterns have held up, especially surprising reactions—patterns not expected to have a big impact but did or ones expected to do well but failed.
  • Retrospectives and reviews pattern use, adoption, or authorship.
  • Anything related to the work of Christopher Alexander.

But please don’t be timid: submit anything you believe is relevant and would be interesting to the PLoP community.

Other Conference Features

In addition to writers’ workshops, the PLoP conferences have a number of plenary sessions, including invited talks. We also welcome submissions for two other formats.

Focus Group Proposals

Over the years, we have found that focus groups offer the most opportunity for stimulating discussions and the potential to develop nascent, potentially groundbreaking ideas. Several influential books have emerged from focus groups.

Focus groups are free-format discussion groups or workshops lasting approximately three hours. Focus groups bring together people interested in a challenging topic related to patterns. Unconventional workshop organization ideas such as goldfish bowls and renga circles are also welcome. Focus group organizers may be invited to write reports on the activity of their focus groups; these reports may be included in the conference proceedings.

Lightning Talks

Lightning talks are a great opportunity to convey recent results, pose intriguing questions, or explore partially formed ideas that would benefit from a broader discussion. They should be up to five minutes.

Paper Submission and Review Process

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.

There is a three stage submission process for the conference:

    Step 1: Submissions are assessed for suitability and quality by the program committee.

    Step 2: Each paper found suitable is assigned a shepherd, an experienced (pattern) writer, who helps the author improve the paper. Each paper is also assigned one program committee member to supervise shepherding.

    Shepherding involves several iterations, each producing a revision of the paper. Each author and shepherd decide the extent of revision.

    Step 3: After shepherding, each paper is assessed once more by the program committee members and program chairs. The decision whether a paper is accepted takes into account the comments posted by the program committee members and the willingness of the author to consider the comments they received from their shepherd (as reported by the shepherd and program committee member who supervised shepherding).

At the conference, the papers are extensively discussed in writers' workshops: groups of paper authors and possibly other conference participants. Papers not completely ready for writers' workshops receive additional face-to-face shepherding within a Writing Group. Writing Group papers that reach sufficient quality are discussed in a writers' workshop, typically organized for the last day of the conference.

The proceedings are published after the conference in the ACM Digital Library. Authors are expected to take into account comments they received in the writers' workshops. Revised and extended versions of the papers discussed at a writers’ workshop qualify for submission to Transactions on Pattern Languages of Programming, a journal published by Springer.

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. Failure to do so may result in acceptance being withdrawn.

We are looking forward to reading your submissions, learning about the patterns that you have observed, and to meeting you at Allerton. Welcome to PLoP 2023!

On behalf of PLoP 2023 organizing team

    Valentino Vranić
    Kyle Brown

    Program Chairs

Shepherding Process

Shepherding is a revision process. Shepherds are experienced writers of patterns, essays, and other pattern-related papers. Each author of a submitted paper is assigned a shepherd who helps the author revise and improve the paper. A shepherd plays the same role a book editor does for a manuscript about to be published. All shepherds have experience with the shepherding process, either having been a shepherd before or having been helped by a shepherd.

Shepherding is about improving the manuscript. A shepherd can provide detailed reviews, make suggestions for both major and minor improvements, copyedit, or even provide draft material—it all depends on how the author and shepherd decide to work together. Shepherding is done before a paper is peer reviewed by the program committee.

Near the end of the shepherding, shepherds submit their recommendations to the Program Committee, which then decides whether it is accepted to a writer's workshop of the conference. After a paper has been accepted, its author and shepherd can continue revising the paper to produce the conference draft version.

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

Richard Gabriel has written a guide to shepherding.


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.