In the last few years, I have noticed a huge surge of interest in programming patterns (e.g., the singleton pattern and the factory pattern). Some developers I know have a hard time seeing any code that uses more than three lines as not fitting a pattern, while other developers I've met have zero interest in labeling anything a pattern or thinking in terms of patterns.
I see programming patterns as a set of guidelines; instead of directly coding to patterns, I see where my code meets them and then use the best practices around a pattern to let me know if I am on the right path. For example, if I find myself writing something that looks like a singleton, that is usually a warning sign, since most singletons really need to be statics.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.