A recent InfoWorld article publicized the blog post of S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, celebrating the fact that its Software Factories product had more than 100,000 downloads in six months. The InfoWorld article was rather negative on the technology as an analyst defined the Software Factory technology as “unimportant”.
Initiatives like the software factories or the software product lines are often badly considered in the software development world. First, they are not really understood. In the InfoWorld article, the analyst is quoted comparing software factories and object-oriented programming. The industrial background of these approaches could seem also more difficult to transpose in the world of consumer or business applications development where software is not closely connected to devices. I think however that they provide a very interesting vision for projects that are interested in developing software for a multi-customers target or with a strong focus on product evolution.
More information on the Web:
Software Product Line Development community Web site
Introduction to the Emerging Practice of Software Product Line Development
Making an Incremental Transition to Software Product Line Practice
Software Product Line Engineering with Feature Model