ADO.NET Sync Services

Thu, February 21, 2008, 02:15 PM under dotNET | Orcas
With the release of Visual Studio 2008 we also get v1.0 of ADO.NET Synchronization Services that allows you to build Occasionally Connected Applications by allowing synchronization of remote data with a local cache of the data. Sync Services is the first part of the larger framework still in development: Microsoft Sync Framework (MSF). MSF was part of the announcements at Tech Ed Europe 2007. The first CTP of the Sync Framework is available and it includes a pre-release of v2.0 of Sync Services for ADO.NET. Stay tuned on the Sync Framework blog (which includes links to other relevant blogs down the side). I also believe there will be an update near the SQL Server 2008 release, but I am not sure. There is a very useful FAQ on Sync Services on Steve's blog.

To be clear, here I am still talking about v1 of Sync Services, which ships with VS2008 RTM. If you do not have VS2008, you can still get Sync Services by downloading SQL Compact Edition v3.5 (which is what holds the local cache). Included in the download are the 3 assemblies that complete the picture. So you may be thinking: "if I can get it as a standalone download, why use VS2008 and not stick with VS2005?". The answer is that there is a very smart Configure Data Synchronization dialog wizard as part of VS2008 that generates tons of code and also performs other actions that IMO are too tedious for easily using VS2005 with Sync Services. To invoke the wizard in a new VS2008 project (v2.0 or v3.0 or v3.5) right click on the project node and add new item and choose the "Local Data Cache" item template – then just follow your nose (or the documentation and numerous links above ;-))

If you want a quick intro then put 15 minutes aside to watch my screencast introducing the ADO.NET Sync Services. The Visual Studio project that I create in the video can be downloaded here.