From this article:
"While a software factory may sound like a single component you could incorporate into a project, it actually describes an entire collection of assets you can use in developing applications with a specific technology. Each of the software factories available contains:
- Application blocks and libraries—actual pieces of software that build on top of the target technology, with the intent of providing a prebuilt infrastructure that follows recommended best practices.
- Guidance package recipes and templates—typically plug-ins for Visual Studio that generate initial solution templates and/or augment an existing project with features built using recommended best practices. These plug-ins rely upon the application blocks and libraries for much of their implementation.
- Designers—additional designer support for Visual Studio to work with pieces of the application.
- Reference implementation—a complete execution of a somewhat real-world application using all of the other assets of the software factory.
- Architecture guidance and patterns—comprehensive documentation on the patterns and best practice choices used by the software factory.
- How-to topics—detailed step-by-step directions for using parts of the software factory (or even just directions for how to use a particular technology in the way recommended by the software factory)."
If you are ready to download and give it a try, click here. For starters, I would recommend "Getting Started with the Web Client Software Factory" page at http://www.codeplex.com. There is a great bunch of information in this page including installation steps and resources for evaluating software factories. Also, you may want to subscribe to Glenn Block's and Blaine Wastell's blogs.
If you are wondering "are there other patterns & practices software factories"?. You bet. You will find them all here. (http://msdn.microsoft.com/practices)
Let me know if you think this helps in getting started with Web Client Software Factory or Software Factories in general. Post your comments to this blog if you have specific request for learning content that you think is missing and will help in adopting Software Factories.