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Focus on: Smart Client Software Factory  Focus on: Smart Client Software Factory Minimize

The Smart Client Software Factory (SCSF) is a technology toolkit from the Microsoft Patterns & Practices (P&P) group that focuses on building complex, composite smart client applications. SCSF builds on the Microsoft Enterprise Library 2.0 and Composite UI Application Block, using a software factory model to generate the application framework through a set of wizards.

Using SCSF results in more rapid and standardized application development, allowing developers to generate core application frameworks and focus on building the business logic behind the application rather than the plumbing code. SCSF is also extensible through P&P's Guidance Automation Toolkit (GAT).

Major benefits of using software factories:

  • Reduce risk – baseline app is created for you
  • Accelerated start – agile
  • Quality – reusable assets
  • Productivity – automation and patterns
  • Adoption – extensible toolkit

The May07 release of SCSF is now available (and is the final SCSF release), which includes support for generating VB.NET code! You can see a summary of new features and an installation guide on the CodePlex project page linked to the left. The CAB hands-on-labs are available in both VB and C# versions.

As we near the end of 2007, more information is leaking out of the Patterns & Practices (and Acropolis) teams as to the direction their projects are taking. The Acropolis team appears to be ending their current effort, as their project is being integrated into future NET Framework releases. The Smart Client team now begins work on a new project called the WPF Composite Client that provides a bridge to the future Acropolis work. See the links to the left for current info.

Ward Bell of IdeaBlade has posted an entry that gives some really excellent insight into what is going on with these projects, along with some advice about what you should do today. This goes on the 'required reading' list - go do it now.

 The Acropolis Project Minimize

The Acropolis project was announced at TechEd 2007 in Orlando, and will serve the future Smart Client development space. Perhaps the easiest way to explain the technology is to quote from the Acropolis home page:

The Microsoft code name “Acropolis” Community Technology Preview is a set of components and tools that make it easier for developers to build and manage modular, business focused, client .NET applications. Acropolis is part of the “.NET Client Futures” wave of releases, our preview of upcoming technologies for Windows client development.

Acropolis builds on the rich capabilities of Microsoft Windows and the .NET Framework, including Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), by providing tools and pre-built components that help developers quickly assemble applications from loosely-coupled parts and services. With Acropolis you will be able to:

  • Quickly create WPF enabled user experiences for your client applications.
  • Build client applications from reusable, connectable, modules that allow you to easily create complex, business-focused applications in less time.
  • Integrate and host your modules in applications such as Microsoft Office, or quickly build stand-alone client interfaces.
  • Change the look and feel of your application quickly using built-in themes, or custom designs using XAML.
  • Add features such as workflow navigation and user-specific views with minimal coding.
  • Manage, update, and deploy your application modules quickly and easily.

 Check it out!

UPDATE: after not hearing much from the Acropolis team during the summer of 2007, the team has finally made an announcement: the core Acropolis concepts will be rolled into future .NET Framework releases. See the link to the left for the announcement, and many comments back from the community.

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