Very recently p&p announced the 'Web Service Software Factory' (formerly the 'Service BAT') to the public community (official announcement here). The name is still not nailed down yet, but its drawing in close.

A number of us in the community have been busy helping the p&p team refine the requirements and design of this guidance package and basically representing you guys - the community, in shaping this offering. The outcome of this project is set to be an exciting offering from p&p and a god send for developers building services today.

At present the offering is in its infancy, but rapidly progressing. We are all hoping that when finally released this package will provide a huge step towards proving a factory for our development community that exubes automation, guidance, patterns and tools to speed the construction of services.

It's quite an interesting position to be in with both authoring the EFx Factory and advising on the p&p 'Service Factory' project, since they both share the same overall vision. However, they do differ somewhat in their scope, approaches and end goals. The EFx Factory has been a gradual evolution from its beginnings as an application framework on .Net 1.0, into a automation toolkit and now a software factory on .Net 2.0. EFx provides more of a model driven approach to constructing Service Oriented applications and services. It is geared towards providing more architectural guidance, abstractions of the solution and separation between design and technology implementation and is based upon creating components on top of an application framework, (itself based upon Enterprise Library).

It is yet to be seen what future direction the 'Service Factory' will take, which will be further influenced by the wider development community now. However, the EFx Factory has been useful in providing an alternative viewpoint to the problem space overall, and although not directly used in the development of the 'Service Factory' offering, EFx remains as an influencer in its further development.

There are a number of key influencer's in this project (Jason names a few here), that provide various key parts that the toolkit covers, and these guys are all providing valuable input into the project - so check out what they have to say.

Edward currently owns the web space on the details of the 'Service Factory' at the moment, and is going to provide many more details in the future. So no point me repeating them for you - hook into his blog.