When Microsoft delivered the final Silverlight 4 bits in mid-April, a few complementary components weren't done yet. But this week, the company is making available for download some of those missing pieces.
Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) RIA Services for Silverlight is one of those. On May 17, Microsoft delivered the final 1.0 release of that code, which adds support for Silverlight 4 and Visual Studio 2010.
Last summer, Microsoft officials said to expect the final version of Rich Internet Application (RIA) Services for Silverlight in the first part of 2010. (At that point, the platform was known as .Net RIA Services; Microsoft changed the name to WCF RIA Services in the interim.)
WCF RIA Services is a framework that brings together the ASP.Net and Silverlight platforms. It provides a pattern for writing application logic that runs on the middle tier. It also streamlines tasks like authentication and data validation by integrating with Silverlight components on the client and ASP.Net on the mid-tier, according to a description on the download site. The goal of WCF RIA Services (originally codenamed "Alexandria) is to bring RAD programming to RIA development and is considered by many as a competitor to Adobe's Flex framework.
Microsoft also made available for download yesterday an add-on package -- Silverlight 4 tools for Visual Studio 2010 -- which supports the WCF RIA Services. The tool add-on can be installed on top of either Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Web Developer 2010 Express. A description of its capabilities (from the download site): The Silverlight 4 add-on tools "extend existing Silverlight 3 features and multitargeting capabilities in Visual Studio 2010 to also create applications for Silverlight 4 using C# or Visual Basic."
Microsoft is collecting suggestions for changes/additions to future versions of WCF RIA services via its Web site. The top three so far (vote-wise): Support data-change notifications from the server; support for Windows Phone 7; and allow multiple DomainServices to share the same Entity.