Microsoft is readying new updates of some of its back-end data services of interest to developers, including an offline version of its "Astoria" ADO.Net Service.
Sometime in the "not too distant future," according to a recent Microsoft blog posting, the company will release a first Community Technology Preview (CTP) test release of ADO.Net Services 1.5. The forthcoming 1.5 release is a standalone one and not meant to supercede the ADO.Net 1.0 release, the Softies said.
The 1.5 update will target the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Silverlight 2 platforms, and likely be released before .Net 4.0 ships. As a result, Microsoft is planning another "future version of this standalone release (v1.5) (that) will be created to support the .NET Framework 4.0 platform," according to the ADO.Net Data Services Team blog.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is releasing a preview of an "exploration project" called "Astoria Offline." Microsoft officials first outlined their Astoria Offline plans at the Professional Developers Conference in October 2008 and promised bits would follow shortly. It took more time than plannned, officials conceded.
Microsoft Software Architect Pablo Castro explained Astoria Offline:
"This project sits at the intersection between Data Services, Sync Framework, SQL Express/Compact and the Entity Framework.... As the announcement says, this is not an "official" product or anything like that, but more like an early experiment to understand the problem space."
On March 6, Microsoft made the Astoria Offline preview bits available for download. The preview relies on the 1.0 version of Astoria; they won't work with the soon-to-be-released 1.5 update. The bits are "designed to provide an end-to-end solution for authoring of offline applications that use data from data services, either within a corporate network or across the Internet," according to the download page text.