I need to create a proper pattern/component library for our organization. Ideally, it would include:

  • images (examples of the component)
  • attachments (wireframes)
  • description
  • title
  • notes/conversation (to document changes/decisions over time)

And ideally:

  • handles versions
  • could include sample code snippets (at least sample HTML)

In the past, we've built this by hand, creating a static web site that we maintain internally. It works, is customizable, but a chore.

I need to do this again in a new organization and am hesitant to build a static site again--mainly because if I leave, no one else will pick up the reins.

I always thought there could be a good market for this--a content management system or blog or wiki specifically designed for pattern/component libraries.

I recently came across http://patternry.com

Has anyone used it? I don't know much about it other than it has a funny name and the sample screens seem OK. Not great, but at least handles some of the functionality I am looking for.

I'd be interested in hearing opinions on hit, but really am more interested in what others have done to build and maintain their own component libraries...especially those of you that, like me, are stuck inside a corporate firewall that tends to a) mean we're stuck with crappy enterprise options like SharePoint and b) means that they usually don't allow hosted solutions outside the network.

  • As written this seems a bit too focused around the "review" aspect, something about "How can I create and maintain a pattern library using a management system" might be a better way to phrase it? – Ben Brocka Mar 21 '12 at 15:53
  • Sure. I'm OK with you rewording. I'm mainly looking for potential software solutions and if anyone has used them. – DA01 Mar 21 '12 at 16:26

Great question. I am in a similar situation, but haven't really had much time to dedicate to it yet.

I have used the following pattern libraries in some form or another:





The system that comes closest to what you are asking for is probably Quince:


I believe you can create private pattern libraries and communities if you have a pro license.

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  • Quince looks interesting! Definitely added to the list with Patternry. Alas, in my case, I likely can't go with a hosted solution, but still good to know. – DA01 Mar 21 '12 at 16:25
  • In the past we have hosted an internal wiki and stuck our patterns in it. But it is very dependent on providing the users with a fixed format to create the content within. There's a nice article on the subject here: boxesandarrows.com/view/so-you-wanna-build-a – Sheff Mar 21 '12 at 17:36
  • and a case study supplied by Yahoo: boxesandarrows.com/view/… – Sheff Mar 21 '12 at 17:38
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    Patterny have just updated their library so you can create HTML versions of the patterns, which could be useful. – Sheff Mar 28 '12 at 9:35

If you can host a WordPress site inside, then you can use http://pea.rs/. It's gorgeous, but I haven't yet used it myself.

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  • ooooohhhhhh! This I like! Fingers crossed that we can install WP... – DA01 Mar 21 '12 at 18:42

I had answered a similar question where the focus was on establishing an Industry standard for documenting IxD / UI Design Patterns?.

We normally host the created patterns document in a SharePoint site so that it can be easily distributed via email and the document could be downloaded and updated as needed based upon new functionality and new design processes which come up

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  • That could work. I find sharepoint less than ideal, as it tends to be come a document graveyard, but admit that it's often one of the few approved tools at our disposal. – DA01 Mar 21 '12 at 18:41

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