Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Software Factories, I Think I Get It!

I just finished watching Keith Short and Jack Greenfield on MSDN TV, talking about Software Factories, and I think I finally get it. Jack made the following statement:

A software factory is a collection of domain specific tools, processes (methodologies), and content (including templates, project structures, frameworks, and patterns).

This just suddenly clicked with me. Its an overall development process used to develop a specific application, where that application is a subset of a general application for which the above information has been defined. Does this sound about right, or am I completely off base? I am going to follow up with some of the other material located on the Software Factories website, as my interest is now piqued (gosh I hope that is a word!).

I am definetely interested in reading their Software Factories book now. Too bad Amazon is blocked from work during the X-mas season. Hey Santa, I want a copy!

Software Factories Article

Application Development Trends, in their December 2004 Issue, has an article on Software Factories.

Overall, it is a good article, but again, as most articles on this subject seem to be doing for me, it raises more questions than it answers. Several times, it makes reference to "encapsulating domain expertise". How exactly do you do that? Can someone give me a concrete example of this that I can wrap my brain around?

The article makes mention that Microsoft, when discussing the "factory" actually means:

  • A Development Infrastructure

  • A Development Strategy

  • Intelligent Automation

Stop the buzzwords now! LOL Seriously though, if you have not read the article, you should, if for no other reason then this one phrase:

A programmer's understanding of the problem he or she is trying to solve changes as he or she tries to solve it

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Team System Install Instructions

Rob Caron has written up new installation documentation for the next Team System CTP release, due out in December, and is looking for feedback. I have read through the documentation, I think it is pretty well done. Reading through it now has me itching to get my hands on the next CTP, to see if the installation goes any easier than with the current one.

You can also download the latest version of the documentation here.

Please read this and give Rob your feedback. I know I want VSTS to succeed as much as you do!

Monday, December 20, 2004

DSL Tools

That would be Domain Specific Languages Tools. Harry Pierson, in his blog, has made note that there is a new release of the DSL Toolkit.

Relevant Links:

I'm hoping this will be a slow week at work, so I can download this, check out some of the walkthroughs, and see if I can get a grasp of what all this DSL stuff is about.

Software Factories

Jack Greenfield, one of the authors of the Software Factories book, now has a blog.

In his first post, he refers to a blog entry by Grady Booch, concerning Microsot and Domain Specific Languages.

I will be the first to admit that, after reading Mr. Greenfield's blog, I did not catch half of what he was saying. After re-reading it, I believe the point he is making is that UML is not designed to be the end-all be-all for solving problems, and that it is not the best solution for model-driven-development. Having never used UML, I really can't comment one way or the other. I do know that the OMG is pushing it as a MDD standard though. I also know that Microsoft has a push going on for Domain Specific Languages (DSL), which I have also not been able to wrap my head around. If anyone can point me to some resources, which can explain this in English without the use of esoteric terms, that would be great.

I will also admit that I am having a hard time grasping the whole "Software Factory" concept as laid out by Microsoft. I think my biggest hang-up is in the word "Factory". I think I am taking the use of that word one way, when they mean it differently. I need to do some more research on this before I stick my foot too far in my mouth.

I can't wait for the next CTP of VSTS, so I can hopefully get down and dirty with all this cool stuff!