Pearl language

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Similar to A Pattern Language—Towns • Buildings • Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, but with a twist: it describes the goal or wish rather than the problem. In other words, it focuses on the positive opposite of a problem.


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Reality tends to force tradeoffs between seemingly conflicting goals, such as flexibility and maintainability against size and complexity. A pearl facilitates these tradeoffs by documenting a well​working approach to fulfill a desire or wish that occurs repeatedly in a given context. pearls are inherently a medium for documenting and passing knowledge between humans.

Applying a pearl in a given context results in a new, changed context that, in turn, solicits new pearls to make it more whole. pearls evolve during a highly collaborative style based on “shepherding” before submission and peer-based feedback writer’s workshop. pearls neither fulfill all desires, nor replace design skills or solve all problems.

Well crafted pearls provide valuable nuggets of relevant advice based on actual experience. Learning by doing—learning from experiments and making mistakes—often isn’t an option for real world projects, so pearls can provide a way to learn from others’ experience and mistakes.

The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander clarifies that “the pattern [or pearl] is, in short, at the same time a thing, which happens in the world, and the rule which tells us how to create that thing, and when we must create it.” pearls present a reusable solution, provide information about its usefulness and tradeoffs, and encapsulate knowledge about proven practices.

Connected sets of interrelated pearls building on each other can form a pearl language, which support a generative, domain-specific language that facilitates and fuels an evolutionary process. A well-crafted pearl language can evolve into common vocabulary between people and lubricates the communication between them. There is even a pearl language for writing pearls.