While the initial crop of patterns & practices software factories target different types of business applications, we’re seeing that the software factory form-factor is a great way of packaging guidance for some less expected scenarios. One such example is the Application Block Software Factory (included in Enterprise Library 3.0) which simplifies the development of providers, blocks and configuration design-time extensions, rather than complete applications.
Pablo Galiano has given us another great example of an unusual but very valuable use of software factories by establishing the VSIP Factory project on CodePlex. As the name suggests, the VSIP Factory is a software factory for creating Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) packages, which is essentially a very powerful but often daunting way of extending Visual Studio. I’ve never created a VSIP Package myself, but after working on projects like GAX and the Enterprise Library Configuration Editor I’ve seen that there are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don’t do everything exactly right – so a software factory in this space looks like exactly what the doctor ordered.
This project has only just kicked off, so head to the discussion board if you have any feedback, and let Pablo know if you’d like to contribute to the project.