Conference Elements

EuroPLoP is made of a set of activities that aim to promote a friendly and effective environment for sharing expertise, giving and getting feedback. The author's track includes all main activities of the conference. Besides the work with the authors' works, there are events that focus on special topics or widen the cultural horizon of the participants.

Author's track Special topics

Author's track

Since EuroPLoP is a conference of pattern authors, its main focus lies on commenting each others' works.

Conference overture (aka Welcome Session)

In this first session, we will outline the structure of the conference and everyone gets a chance to meet each other.

Writers' workshops

Writers' workshops are at the core of the EuroPLoP program. In these workshops we discuss accepted pattern papers. Pattern papers may consist of an individual pattern or of a pattern language.

Writers' workshops follow a special format which has been adopted from reviewing poetry. Before the conference, everybody reads each other's papers. In the actual workshop, authors give each other feedback on their work in a peer review fashion. Each writers' workshop contains 5 to 8 papers; a session of around an hour is devoted to each paper. In such a session, the authors of the paper under discussion remain silent while the other authors have a discussion about it, and explain what additional insights and views they have. Authors (as well as non-authors who may join) stay with their workshop over the entire conference. This way authors get a lot of ideas on how they can improve their work.

People come to EuroPLoP to get feedback on their papers. Therefore, you are helping them when you offer them suggestions, improvements, constructive criticism, or relevant facts. Authors might use this feedback in any manner, and for any purpose. You don't have to give feedback, and you should be careful to make sure you don't disclose anything improperly. Nevertheless, when you give feedback, you are part of what makes PLoP conferences great.

To an author, feedback is crucial. This is why at authors always thank the reviewers at the end of a writers' workshop. Authors need feedback to understand how other people interpret what you say. You can learn a lot even when a reviewer just says "I don't understand this." But remember that it is your paper! You do not have to use any particular suggestion. In fact, sometimes suggestions conflict and it is impossible to use them all. But even when reviewers don't quite understand your purpose, their feedback is invaluable.

Because the focus of the writers' workshops is on feedback and improvement, 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 about half a year after the conference.

Participating in a writers' workshop requires that you have read the papers of that workshop and, if possible, that you took some notes on what you liked about the papers and what you felt needed improvement -- just as a memory aid for yourself. This is the precondition for a fruitful discussion. However, there's no reading time during the writers' workshops, and experience shows that, for the remaining time during the conference, chatting with others or meeting people in the bar is much more fun than sitting in your room alone reading papers.

If you don't have a paper, you are free to choose a writers' workshop as you like, but please stay with this workshop over the entire conference. Paper assignments to workshops will be posted in June.

NEW in 2017: Writers' workshops extended -  new media and formats

TED talks, instructional video clips, instructoids, MOOCs, elevator pitch when put to the extreme, and more - new ways of conveying messages, concepts, knowledge, and skills have taken ground during the last years. Busy people want to learn in small chunks and in a very condensed way. Starting with the EuroPLoP 2017, the writer's workshop will be opened to alternative ways and media of presenting authored content.

More concrete, in addition to your paper you can prepare an additional, condensed way of presenting - may it be a video clip, a TED-like talk, etc. During the writer's workshop a short time (e.g. 5 minutes) can be reserved for presenation if performed live, otherwise the recorded material becomes part of the preparation for the peers. The remainder of the writer's workshop follows the same old and proven principle of getting independent feedback - this time not only for your paper, but also for your alternative means of presentation.

 

Writing groups

Pattern writing groups offer the chance for pattern authors to work on the form and the content of their patterns in an interactive session. In this session an experienced author acts as a mentor and is available for questions the author may have, for ideas and discussions.

Papers are assigned to a writing group if, at the end of the shepherding process, the shepherd and the program committee feel that the author would profit more from an interactive session to work on the paper. If the paper evolves well in the writing group, it will be discussed in the final writers' workshop session on Saturday afternoon. For that reason, the paper will be associated with a writers' workshop from the beginning of the conference. The author of the writing group paper is requested to stay with this writers' workshop throughout the conference.

On-site Shepherding

Most papers which are accepted to EuroPLoP are accepted directly for Writers' Workshops. Papers which are reviewed in these workshops will be included in the conference proceedings.
A few papers are instead accepted for On-site shepherding. Indeed some authors request their papers are put into the On-site shepherding instead of the Writers Workshop. Papers that experience On-Site shepherding are not “second best” - it's just another way to improve papers, that is what EuroPLoP is all about.
The authors of these papers are assigned a shepherd at the conference and another round of shepherding occurs during the conference. During this time the shepherd meets with the author to discuss the paper and potential improvements. Unlike the original shepherding this occurs face-to-face at Kloster Irsee. The author then spends time editing and reworking the patterns. They meet and discuss as often as they need to – and can find time to.
On Friday evening the author submits a revised version of the patterns and there is another short review. If the patterns have improved the paper will be accepted for a Writers' Workshop on the Saturday.
For a while it was common to accept just about any patterns from the On-site shepherding into the Saturday workshops. We stopped that a few years ago and its a very real review now and papers do get rejected on rare occassions.
The papers, paper sections and patterns that are accepted in the Saturday Writers' Workshop will be included in the proceedings like all the others.

Newcomer orientation

After the registration on Wednesday we hold an introduction to newcomers where we make sure to cover all the elements (technical and social) of EuroPLoP, and most important run though a demo writers' workshop. If you have never been to a *PLoP conference before, you should ensure that you attend this session.

Daily stand-up meeting

This session is the start of each day for everybody. It gives an overview of the days programme and actual announcements ...

Daily nocturne (aka daily summary)

A final session at the end of each day that gives everyone a chance to find out what went on in the sessions they couldn't attend plus any other news.

Finale (aka farewell session)

This session is the traditional show-down of the conference. Get latest information about publication and other hot topics - and don't miss the opportunity to say farewell to all the friends you have made or met.

Special topics

Focus groups

Focus groups are usually free-format discussion groups which bring together people who are interested in a challenging topic related to patterns. Each focus group lasts approx. 2.5 hours. They bring up issues such as using patterns, organising patterns, experiences with patterns, or designing pattern languages in a design fest etc. Interdisciplinary topics are particularly welcome since they help us learn from other domains. These domains range from less obvious areas of computing, such as artificial intelligence, to other areas of science, such as building architecture, mechanical engineering, music, or film making.

After the conference, the focus group leader summarizes the results in form of a short focus group report which will go into the final conference proceedings.

 

Sheep workshop

The sheep workshop is an introduction to pattern mining and writing. Authors can improve their writing skills and get a better understanding of the core components of a good pattern. The workshop includes hands-on practices and new authors get feedback and tips from experienced pattern authors. The workshop addresses all participants who have just started writting patterns or have never written a pattern before.

Shepherding workshop

The shepherding workshop is one example for a session were we actively spread the knowledge on the techniques used around patterns, especially pattern writing. Many authors that have experienced the benefits of a sound shepherding are interested in the basic concepts, either to improve their own writing, or willing to pay back to the community.

Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions

Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions are spontaneous events, organized on site. Every attendant may call for a BOF session. Contents and format of a BOF session is up to the group joining the session. Please contact the conference chairs during the conference (or before hand if you wish) to start a BOF session.

Connect session

In the connect session, you can add your patterns to a map of EuroPLoP 2009 patterns. See which patterns other participants wrote, meditate about common forces between the patterns, and express the commonalities by spanning a thread of yarn between the patterns.

Games

One of the unique features of the PLoP series of conferences is the emphasis we place on non-technical, right-brain activities. We try to create an environment that exercises the parts of the mind and body that have nothing at all to do with developing software but have a lot to do with finding and writing patterns (whether they are software patterns or any other kind).

Morning Games (in the Daily Stand-up-Meeting session) and Afternoon Games take place every day. Lead by our "Querdenker-Koordinator", George Platts, these non-competitive games are one of the highlights of EuroPLoP. The games are intended to let us know each other, activate the non-technical halfs of our brains, and build up a community of trust. Many new friendships have been founded whilst untying human knots or making a 5 meter high "mushroom"!

Networking

Forging links to other pattern authors is one of the most important activities at EuroPLoP. This is the reason why all participants will stay at the monastery (as long as enough rooms are available). All meals (breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch, and dinner) are taken together which gives you lots of opportunities for meeting new interesting pattern enthusiasts.

By the way: there is no dress code at EuroPLoP. You can wear a suit and a tie, but be prepared to feel a little overdressed. You may want to dress a bit nice for the banquet, though.

Art studio

Hosted by George Platts, the art studio is opened thoughout most of the day. Many different materials are available for anyone to go and relax, to be creative, and to listen to music.

On Thursday evening the Art Studio hosts a special event called Paint and Create. You will be able to meet other participants, listen to pattern-inspired music, and participate in the creation of a sculpture larger than anything seen at EuroPLoP before. Drinks are -- as usual -- provided.

Publishers' cafe

After lunch, it is a good time to visit the publishers' cafe: browse recent books, talk to publishers and other authors. Discuss ideas for new book projects and maybe sign a contract for publishing your material (although this will take longer than 40 minutes in most cases).

Garden sports

It doesn't matter if you you are used to do sports but after three exciting days and an experience of Swabian kitchen, you should just join other participants in the garden for a more or less competitive sportive activity.

Banquet

Enjoy the culinary highlight of the conference. The staff of Irsee will again demonstrate their extraordinary abilities of composing a superb meal. As part of the banquet, you will find out who has won the Shepherding Award. And together with our conductor in residence, George Platts, we will enjoy a new chapter of experimental sounds in Irsee.

Bar sessions

In the evening, after the official programme has come to an end, the bar is an ideal place to intensify social links and carry on themes from the day. People meet here for discussions, playing together, and sometimes music fills the air.

If you prefer a more physical event: have a walk to the lake nearby for swimming, visit the sauna, or enjoy table-tennis, darts, pool billiard, kicker, ...

Monastery tour

Visit the former Benedictine monastery that originates from the 12th century. Understand the history of the place and discover areas where you have not yet been by accident.

Brewery tour

Experience the art of German beer making and understand where the beer came from that you consumed in the bar the night before.

Hillside Europe meeting

After the official part of the conference ends on Sunday, Hillside Europe will meet. The Hillside Group was formed by people who came together in writerss workshops in order to facilitate the patterns movement. The PLoP conferences were the brainchild of the Hillside Group which also oversaw the publication of five volumes of software patterns in the Pattern Languages of Program Design (PLOPD) series published by Addison Wesley. Hillside Europe was founded as an independent sister organization to the Hillside Group to both promote and support the growing patterns' movement in Europe. As an attendee at EuroPLoP which is funded by Hillside Europe you are entitled to membership.