With online/offline application synchronization such a hot topic these days, it's not too surprising that Microsoft is working on enhancements to its development platform to help programmers write these kinds of apps.
"Arrowhead" -- Microsoft's next release of the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and Base Class Library (BCL) elements of its .Net Framework -- will be key to what Microsoft does here. Arrowhead will beef up support for occasionally connected apps, sources said.
Google, for its part, is touting the Google Gears browser extension as one of the main ways that app vendors will be able to get their Web-based programs to work offline. Microsoft, as you might expect, is coming at the problem differently.
Arrowhead is slated to be part of the first service pack (SP) for .Net Framework 3.5, according to sources close to the company. No word on when that update might ship. The .Net Framework 3.5 is slated to ship simultaneously with Visual Studio 2008, which is expected to be released to manufacturing by the end of 2007. So a first service pack for it will likely hit in late 2008 or early 2009 at best, I'd guess....
How does Arrowhead dovetail with Microsoft's current offline synchronization platform, ADO.Net Sync Services? (Microsoft rolled out a version 1.0 of these services in August that is designed to work with Visual Studio 2008 Beta 1.) I don't know, and Microsoft officials said they have nothing more to say about Arrowhead at this time.
(One reader of this blog, Software Developer Christopher Morgan of i2 ChoicePoint Ltd., did note a couple of mentions of Arrowhead in a recent Channel 9 video, however. Toward the very end of this clip, Jack Gudenkauf, a Software Architect for the .Net Framework and CLR, mentions Arrowhead in passing a couple of times.
Anyone have more details on Arrowhead to share?