I've finally made it - I'm through more than 600 pages of this interesting book by Jack Greenfield and Keith Short. And it was worth while taking the time to understand the motivation behind (Microsoft's) Software Factory initiative.
The main point behind the idiom Software Factories is to use modern software development environments to industrialize software development for product lines. Software Factories use techniques like modelling with Domain Specific Languages, combined with patterns, frameworks, guidance and code generation to automate tedious, repetitive (!) and error prone hand-crafted code. The book describes the theory and ideas behind Software Factories, while Microsoft tries to deliver the proof of concept: The upcoming versions of Visual Studio Team System will contain numerous tools that give you the opportunity to create and visualize your own domain specific languages, synchronize models through transformations and automate and enforce your software development process through the new Guidance Automation Toolkit.
I’ll use my next blog entries to investigate some of the key points that are touched by Software Factories and try to illustrate them with issues from my own practical experience.