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MS Software Factories...

There are some rumbling on the software factories from MS.

It has been nearly 4 years since Jack Greenfield articulated Microsoft Software factories vision. He talked about state of software engineering in his famous book. We have got bunch of PnP guidance packages( - scroll to then end of the page) that adresses solution domain rather than the problem domain. To some people, these guidance packages have given a different understanding of software factories rather than what was articulated in the vision. Software factories have become synonymous with code generation. These PnP software factories give good guidance and productivity gains but they are not full vision of software factories.

Every one knows that as of now MS has not released tools to realize all the four pillars ( Software Product Lines, Domain Specific Models, Context Guidance and Architecture Frameworks) of software factory vision. Currently, DSL tools like GME from Vanderbilt university have better features than DSL tools from MS.

Complete vision of software factory as articulated few years back is not realized yet but on the other side MS is coming up with Software factory tools support in next version of Visual Studio "Rosario". Check the DSL tools roadmap . Check the updates that are present in Rosario CTP's. These new tools in Rosario represent a definitely a way forward (assuming that they will make it to final release!) but the question is would they give the kind of benefits envisaged in the software factories vision? Only time will tell. 

For latest happenings, refer to software factory community at


It's a shame that the Microsoft DSL Tools haven't progressed as far as people hoped, but Microsoft have done good work in bringing the ideas of Software Factories, Domain-Specific Modeling and custom code generators to a wider audience.

You mentioned GME as being better than DSL Tools. You can go even further back to tools like the original MetaEdit from 1991 or even right back to GraphTalk from the 1980s. I think the failure to learn from past work has been a major factor in the slow progress of the tooling from Microsoft and Eclipse.

If you want an overview of the state of the art today, all the current tools took part in a workshop last summer, implementing the same modeling language and generator. The results are visible at the MDD-TIF workshop page.

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