I hope by now everyone has heard of the Microsoft patterns & practices group. If you haven't heard of p&p, hopefully you've heard of the Enterprise Library.
Just in case you haven't heard of either, Microsoft patterns & practices are Microsoft's recommendations for how to design, develop, deploy, and operate architecturally sound applications for the Microsoft application platform. The patterns & practices Enterprise Library is a library of application blocks designed to assist developers with common enterprise development challenges. Application blocks are a type of guidance, provided as source code that can be used "as is," extended, or modified by developers to use on enterprise development projects.
I first heard about the patterns & practices group when the Data Access Application Block (DAAB) was released many years ago and have followed the evolution of the p&p group through the DAAB.
While I was at Tech·Ed 2007, I met Don Smith of the patterns & practices group. Our conversation covered a lot of different topics related to both the patterns & practices group and Enterprise Library (EntLib). One of the more interesting questions things we talked about is how the p&p group really isn't a "tools" group. Right now, the feeling is that the p&p group is best known for EntLib. The truth is that they really exist to provide developer guidance on how to follow Microsoft's recommendations for how to design, develop, deploy and operate architecturally sound applications.
I thought this provided an interesting contrast to how I see the community perception of p&p. Since I've watched the group "grow up", I am very familiar with the different guidance available through them as well as the different reference implementations and EntLib.
My question to the development community is this:
What is important to you from the Microsoft patterns & practices group?
To me, the answer is "both". The guidance provided is invaluable along with the reference implementations and EntLib to fill the holes in the .NET Framework.