In software engineering, a software design pattern is a general, reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem within a given context in software design. It is not a finished design that can be transformed directly into source or machine code. Rather, it is a description or template for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different situations. Design patterns are formalized best practices that the programmer can use to solve common problems when designing an application or system.
Object-oriented design patterns typically show relationships and interactions between classes or objects, without specifying the final application classes or objects that are involved. Patterns that imply mutable state may be unsuited for functional programming languages, some patterns can be rendered unnecessary in languages that have built-in support for solving the problem they are trying to solve, and object-oriented patterns are not necessarily suitable for non-object-oriented languages.
In a recent review study, Wedyan and Abufakher investigate design patterns and software quality and conclude: “Our study has shown that the primary studies provide an empirical evidence on the positive effect of documentation of designs pattern instances on program comprehension, and therefore, maintainability. While this result is not surprising, it has, however, two indications. First, developers should pay more effort to add such documentation, even if in the form of simple comments in the source code. Second, when comparing results of different studies, the effect of documentation has to be considered.”