Microsoft delivers first test build of its online-offline sync platform

Microsoft delivers first test build of its online-offline sync platform

Summary: Microsoft posted for download on November 4 a first test build of what it's calling the Microsoft Sync Framework, technology that will allow developers to take their Web services and databases offline.

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Microsoft posted for download on November 4 a first test build of what it's calling the Microsoft Sync Framework, technology that will allow developers to take their Web services and databases offline.

The new framework also provides P2P synchronization of "any type of file including contacts, music, videos, images and settings," according to Microsoft's download site. The framework provides built-in support for synchronizing relational databases, NTFS/FAT file systems and Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS/ATOM, according to Microsoft.

The WinBeta.org site posted links to the Microsoft Sync Framework, as well as to related white papers and other synchronization documentation on November 4.

Microsoft rival Google fielded earlier this year a browser-extension technology known as Google Gears that allows offline access to typically online services.

Microsoft has been working on a number of synchronization-specific projects for some time, including a sync platform code-named Ibiza and/or Harmonica. Microsoft officials did not respond by the time this post was published to my question as to whether Ibiza and the forthcoming Sync Framework were the same.  A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the Sync Framework is Ibiza/Harmonica.

Based on descriptions posted by Microsoft to its download site, the new framework will enable collaboration and offline capabilities for any application. It will roam and share information from "any data store, over any protocol, and over any network configuration," according to the company. Microsoft has built and is making available to interested testers a reusable provider for synchronizing the contents of file system directories on PCs and removable media, such as USB thumb drives, according to the Web site.

The new sync framework seems to have something to do with the Sync Services for ADO.Net technology that Microsoft has been developing to support "occasionally connected applications. As Microsoft explains in a white paper on the ADO.Net sync services that it has made available for download:

"The advantage of a synchronization-based solution is that users are no longer required to have a constant network connection to access their information. Since their data is stored locally they are given constant access to their data while offloading processing requirements from the central database. Furthermore, the user is no longer limited by the network speed and can now access the data at the speed of the device. "

The forthcoming Microsoft Sync Framework will work with Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Service pack 3. No word yet on when the Softies plan to release the final version of the framework or how they plan to package/distribute it.

Topics: Data Centers, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Software Development, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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17 comments
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  • Looks like MS is moving quickly to copy Google Gears.

    Offline is coming to web applications!! But, offline features will also increase the performance while connected, as there will be a local cache available.
    DonnieBoy
    • LOL

      Microsoft published a CTP for Ado.Net Sync in late January, whereas Google announced their Google Gears beta at the of May.

      Both remain in Beta, btw.
      TheTruthisOutThere@...
  • It sounds more like Conduit

    Apparently proprietary software companies are only capable of imitating open-source projects, but not actually innovating themselves.
    sacredfungus@...
    • Groove

      I think you need to take a look at the underlying architecture of Groove which Microsoft acquired a couple of years ago along with Ray Ozzy's vision of the future.
      rlesmann@...
    • But

      They are also pretty good at extending stuff.
      crypt2121
    • Well, if you have to put it that way

      Microsoft has been working on this long before any open source project....as another poster pointed out above the sync for ado.net was out nearly 6 months before Google gears.<br>
      Any web technology of any use....take AJAX for example that seemed to come from Google, Microsoft was using that technology in the 90s for exchange web access. <br>
      I think open source is doing good things and I think Microsoft is doing good things. <br>
      This business about "copying" is just a stupid t*t for tat routine that is meaningless and quite honestly, with some research will show Microsoft has led open source for years and not the other way around.
      xuniL_z
    • Give it a rest...

      sigh...
      No_Ax_to_Grind
  • RE: Microsoft delivers first test build of its online-offline sync platform

    Sounds good, but when will they expnd it to the mobile world. I want my PDA/smartphone to do all this as well as I drift in and out of WiFi coverage.

    How about expanding it to allow sync of database files as well ...
    andygadget
  • Microsoft renames DRM

    Calls it a Sync Technology, and
    releases it into the wild.

    Now anyone can enjoy the benefits of
    having Microsoft monitor and/or
    control their computer/network.

    Joy! Joy! Joy! No_Facts_In_Mind and
    his buddies are deliriously happy.
    Ole Man
    • I'm Calling you on this one Ole Man

      Please explain to the world how the sync platform allows Microsoft to monitor and control their computer and network. <br>
      Enough of your cynical hot air. I want to hear your insight on this one. Explain it and show us that great thinker you have sitting on your shoulders can do more than criticize. <br>
      No ABM links please. In you own words. You said it, now please back it up.
      xuniL_z
  • Security?

    Google Gears, and Adobe AIR, use SQL Lite as a local data store, which does not support encryption and does not, I believe, have username and password security.

    Without these features, local data storage is a compliance nightmare. Is the MS solution any different?
    greenie@...
  • Yummy, a step beyond FolderShare?

    I've been using the FolderShare beta since I got wind of it. It is a Microsoft acquisition but it provides what appears to be peer-to-peer folder syncing and it works really fast between machines behind the same NAT router. I know there is encryption and hash signature stuff going on too. They even got deletion right, the usual stumbling block of sync systems.

    There are some limitations to FolderShare, and I am going to immediately look at Sync Services to see if this completes the story (or will when everything, along with Groove, sort of converge).

    For me, this is a sign that we will rapidly have the infrastructure we need for a social grid atop which we get to slice and dice our social-graph overlays the way we want and the way things work for us.

    I think this is exciting enough to dig into the details. If it allows freedom of disintermediation and movement of services and storage, this will be terrific.
    orcmid
  • RE: Microsoft delivers first test build of its online-offline sync platform

    "synchronizing relational databases, NTFS/FAT file systems and Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS/ATOM," Ah a whole new meaning for fragmentation.
    usacomputertec
  • RE: Microsoft delivers first test build of its online-offline sync platform

    I feel that Microsoft is making efforts to compete more with companies than, Focus on their core competencies.
    That is what is demonstrated by the fact that they brought up Silver Light and now Harmonica ( if this is the Official name).

    Please let me know what you guys ! fell out there. !





    ***This is my personal view and is not endorsed by any institute or organization ***
    vidhuwind
    • For some stuff yes.

      If we were talking about Zune, for example, I would agree with you.

      When it comes to what are fundamentally technologies for developers, (which is one of their core competances anyway), I disagree.

      Firstly, you have ignored that these things are often months or years in the making. Open Source might be able to release very early on, but Microsoft need to get things to point of stability before releasing CTPs.

      You mention Silverlight. Silverlight in just WPF done for the browser. In turn WPF is a new "forms" package for .Net, but its very much trodden its own innovative path. Once you have WPF on the desktop, putting on the browser is a natural move. Its superficially similar to Flash, but in other ways important very different.
      TheTruthisOutThere@...
  • RE: Microsoft delivers first test build of its online-offline sync platform

    This was obviously started years before Gears and goes far beyond simple app pinnning. Interesting!
    Someguy2
  • RE: Microsoft delivers first test build of its online-offline sync platform

    apqqyh,good post!
    makrekwe85-24353645770225391928980580402533