Ever since leaving the 600-pound gorilla I've been following closely the developer communications coming out of Microsoft. As a former lead and architect for the Developer Network (the seminal force in MS behind developer communications) I understand a little of the challenge they face.
Taking messages, concepts, ideas, and practices out of the bleeding edge and into the common place is hard. Making them palatable, digestable, and nutritional is sometimes a hair away from the impossible. The truth is, that the information flow about architecture and design is like a huge river of lava and always has been. Even in similar areas, take database design and data layer implementation, there can be vastly divergent trains of thought as to the current best practices. Please keep in mind that any links for best practices are almost always tongue-in-cheek from me. I think anyone who makes their living telling other people how to build something has probably not spent enough time actually building anything and is therefore suspect.
Most recently, I've watched with anticipation the push behind the Enterprise Library. This is a decent set of libraries that really is the iron fist in the velvet glove that will drag the community out of the quagmire of architecture and design sludge in which they currently find themselves.
I admit it, most of the architects and designs I see these days are just crap. Most of the patterns I review are just pretentious blow-hards tooting their own obesely bad ideas. Now I am all for reuse and categorization of problem domains. I love libraries and the concepts of patterns is most excellent. It's the drivel that passes for patterns today that pisses me off.
On the other hand, the Enterprise Library with all it's warts, flaws, and hiccups, is still a precisely aimed and easy to adopt code base that doesn't flaunt its elitism. Thumbing your nose at the rest of the world and insisting that you re-invent the wheel at every turn is tantamount to heresy in my book. Instead, the provide quiet functionality without requiring that a company completely drink the KoolAid. Quite remarkable when you consider that it wears the Microsoft moniker. Of course, if you know the back-story it becomes less remarkable and more encouraging.
As I continue scything my way through the morass of patterns, frameworks, and api's that continue to be promulgated around the industry I'll be keeping my eye on this offering from the northern giant. Hopefully, they'll continue the push towards quiet usefulness. Although if they keep up with this * Block (Application Block, Data Access Block, etc) nonsense, perhaps the end of it's relevance will be sooner rather than later.