Microsoft recently released a CTP (Community Technology Preview) of Sync Framework SDK – “a comprehensive synchronization platform enabling collaboration and offline for applications, services and devices with support for any data type, any data store, any transfer protocol, and network topology.”

According to the documentation (see Introduction to the Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime), the Sync Framework will allow developers to take online services and databases offline. Microsoft says the framework can synchronize “any type of file including contacts, music, videos, images and settings.” The Sync Framework also includes “built-in support for synchronizing relational databases, NTFS/FAT file systems, Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS/ATOM, devices and web services.”

The framework consists of:

  • Core sync runtime that provides universal synchronization functionality agnostic of data types and protocols
  • Ability to create and consume Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE) feeds
  • Components to enable the rapid development of sync solutions on platforms including SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, NTFS file systems and removable drives
  • An extensible provider model that integrates data sources into the sync ecosystem
  • Rich conflict handling for automatic and custom resolution
  • Built in support for filters to sync subsets of collections such as mailboxes or media libraries

You can use the Microsoft Sync Framework to build collaboration and offline scenarios such as the following:

  • Seamless online/offline data access for rich internet applications (RIA) and line-of-business applications
  • Peer-to-peer collaboration on content such as files/folders, email, contacts, appointments, audio, video and settings across any number of PCs, services, and devices

At the moment the Sync Framework only supports Windows Vista, XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Service pack 3. It’s unclear whether Microsoft will expand that support in the future.

For more information on the Microsoft Sync Framework SDK - CTP 1, you can visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/sync, and you can get a copy from Microsoft Downloads.

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