Saw a few cool tools and tips and one of them was the Guidance Automation Toolkit (GAT). I have heard of it and read the introductionary article on MSDN, but its only when I saw Project Batman being demo by Don Smith and Beat Schwegler that it really hit me how powerful this tool was.
As its name implies, its all about providing guidances to developers. I think the introductory article on GAT describes it perfectly.
Using the patterns & practices of the Guidance Automation Toolkit, you can make reusable code and pattern assets directly available in Visual Studio 2005.
The toolkit is designed to simplify integrating reusable code into applications allowing architects to automate development activities that developers would usually have to perform manually; often by following a series of instructions. By using the toolkit, architects can also ensure that repetitive and often error-prone activities are performed in a consistent manner, streamlining and accelerating the development process.
The toolkit can be used with assets developed in-house or by third parties; such as the assets created by the Microsoft patterns & practices team. These assets can be exposed to developers within Visual Studio, and in some cases, configured by using configuration files, templates, and wizards.
I think the take-home point on this is that with the GAT, the architect's intent can be clearly expressed in a series of instructions which the developers then completes in a consistent manner.
That's about the coolest tool I've seen so far. Definately looking forward to Project Batman, which is guidance in building services for your SOA solutions.