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Sync Framework: It's Still at Version 1.0

Microsoft claimed on Tuesday that it did not release the next version of its Sync Framework on Oct. 13, as reported by some news outlets last week.

Mary Jo Foley's blog noted last week that an earlier version of the framework appeared "to have been superseded by the October 13 ones on the Microsoft Download Center." That change didn't constitute a new version, Microsoft contends.

According to Microsoft's blog, some files were renamed on the Microsoft Download Center to reflect additional hardware support for the framework. The renaming caused the confusion, but the Sync Framework remains at its Version 1.0 release, the blog explained.

Quibbling about the Sync Framework comes amidst heightened expectations about what Microsoft may announce next week at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

Microsoft officials have been pushing a "cloud computing" theme for this year's PDC, which begins on Oct. 27. The Sync Framework could play a role in Microsoft's overall cloud computing vision.

The main pronouncements expected at the PDC will be the release of Windows 7 bits and something called a "Cloud OS" by Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer, who has not elaborated on what the term means. Others have described the cloud OS an Internet-based stack that goes by the Microsoft code name, "Windows Strata."

Microsoft is planning three sessions at the PDC related to the Sync Framework. In essence, the framework uses metadata to track changes and update data between applications, for both online and premises-based apps.

The Sync Framework supports offline synchronization via Sync Services, which updates ADO.NET-enabled databases. Developers can also use the framework to enable peer-to-peer collaborations using two or more SQL Server databases. If SQL Server 2008 is used, the framework enables change tracking in that database.

The Sync Framework sounds a lot like Live Mesh, a device- and platform-neutral data connectivity technology championed by Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie. Live Mesh, which was unveiled to developers in April, will be the topic of 10 PDC sessions this year, according to a search on the event's Web site.

The relationship between the Sync Framework and Live Mesh isn't altogether apparent, and a question posted on a Microsoft forum to that effect went unanswered on Tuesday. However, a Microsoft Developer Network Channel 9 video describing the Sync Framework noted that it is built on C# and is "the basis" of Live Mesh.

Developers can use the Sync Framework on the Windows platform for free. It can also be used with "other platforms through commercial licensing and porting kits," according to an MSDN page.

Some observers have suggested that app developers have already created their own sync protocols for the most part and that Sync Framework just represents a late addition to the game.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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