Jeremy Gibbons (2006). Design Patterns as Higher-Order Datatype-Generic Programs. Submitted for publication.
Design patterns are reusable abstractions in object-oriented software. However, using current programming languages, these elements can only be expressed extra-linguistically: as prose, pictures, and prototypes. We believe that this is not inherent in the patterns themselves, but evidence of a lack of expressivity in the languages of today. We expect that, in the languages of the future, design patterns will be expressible as reusable library code. Indeed, we claim that the languages of tomorrow will suffice; the future is not far away. The necessary features are higher-order and datatype-generic constructs; these features are already or nearly available now. We argue the case by presenting higher-order datatype-generic programs capturing ORIGAMI, a small pattern language of recursive data structures.
Last time this research was mentioned there were some concerns about the idea of executable patterns. Obviously, this approach is related to many older discussions about mining patterns for language features, frameworks as opposed to patterns and so on.
Hopefully, now that things are more explicit, we will be able to have a more in depth discussion.