Monday, 8 December 2008

Microsoft Bluprints

Creating code can be boring! Do not confuse this statement with the fact that enjoy my career immensely and I spend every waking moment reading, learning and doing.  The things that bore me the most is creating the same code over-and-over (boilerplate code), I know how to structure my RIA and my Web Services etc its all taken from best practices and my previous experience.

To get me past the boring bits I will use software factories, they take the pain away and allow me to concentrate on solving the problems.  The current factory I am using is called "The Web Client Software factory (WCFS)" which uses the Guidance Automation Toolkit to create the wizard interface and hold the code templates for generation. 

The use of the WCFS is great and really speeds up development and unification in code bases between developers, all I need to do to create another module of functionality is select a special menu option on Visual Studio, follow the wizards, make some decision on name etc and all the boilerplate is done.

The Guidance Automation framework, on which the WCSF is built, has been around for quite a while however it has not really caught on and not many people use to create this own software factories, in fact this technology has never really hit the main stream even though so many people need a framework to build their own factories in.

With the release of Blueprints Microsoft hopes to make the software factory work more accessible and replace the Guidance Automation Tool.  Blueprints is a tool for creating and using software factories however this tool seems to be better as it is easier to use by providing a unified environment to run your factories from, the factories can also be accessed from RSS feeds allowing you to always access the latent version.  Also unlike the Guidance Automation Toolkit this tool provides a creation tool already build.

Blueprints is the next step into software factories so expect to hear alot more about this and code automation in the coming month as we start to become more educated against writing the same code over-and-over and spend more time dealing with the problems and getting though right.

To read a full description of Microsoft Blueprint go here : http://msdn.microsoft.com/architecture/blueprints

Download the tool here http://www.codeplex.com/blueprints