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In Sync with the Cloud

As we head towards PDC09 and the commercialization of Windows Azure, Microsoft is apparently cutting the cord on some murky affiliations.

Last Friday, David Treadwell, the corporate VP of Live Platform Services, announced that the Live Framework CTP would end on September 8, 2009:

At the Professional Developer Conference 2008, we gave the developer community access to the technical preview of the Live Framework. The Live Framework is core to our vision of providing you with a consistent programming interface. Now we are working to integrate existing services, controls and the Live Framework into the next release of Windows Live.

For those, who have had a hard time keeping up with Microsoft's shifting cloud formation, the Live Framework consists of a Live Operating Environment and APIs for working with Microsoft's Live Services and Live Mesh. It was lumped in with the cloud computing tools and associated with Live Services, part of the original Azure Services Platform--now called the Windows Azure Platform. The Live Framework SDK, services, and tools for Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008 are distinct from the Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio.

According to Microsoft, developers could use the Live Framework for building local and cloud apps that incorporated Live Services. The strategy put forth also indicated that developers would be able to create Live Mesh-enabled apps for the desktop, Web or mobile devices, using programming libraries for .NET, JavaScript, and Silverlight. The most recent updates to the Live Framework SDK and Tools CTPs were released in April at MIX09.

Starting September 8, the Live Framework SDK, tools and controls such as Contacts, MessengerChat, IDLoginStatus, IDLoginView, SilverlightStreaming will no longer be available. Treadwell's Live Services update blog suggests workarounds and provides some answers to anticipated questions.

Live Mesh, which is still in beta, remains part of the Azure story.

"I believe Mesh is still under Azure auspices, because its DataSync features are the foundation for the mysterious Azure Data Hub," comments Roger Jennings, in an email. Jennings, who authored "Targeting Azure Storage" for Visual Studio Magazine in July, also writes a weekly blog on Windows Azure and cloud computing.

"Data Hub is presumably based on the "Huron" incubator project," says Jennings. The Data Hub technology is projected to be released sometime this year, after PDC. Microsoft has not made any official announcements about the technology or the timeline.

Project Huron is based on the Microsoft Sync Framework and SQL Data Services, now called SQL Azure. Sync Framework v1.0 was released last August. Sync v2.0, which adds built-in provider support for Live Mesh and SQL Azure was announced PDC08 and the first CTP was made available to attendees.

Microsoft released Sync 2.0 CTP2 in June. To learn more about the Sync Framework, check out the Redmond Developer News TechBrief, "Inside Sync" and "Microsoft Testing Cloud Based Data Sharing."

"It's always been a mystery to me as to why the Windows Live stuff other than Mesh had any connection with Windows Azure other than it might run in the same data centers," says Jennings.

Maybe Microsoft has reached the same conclusion. Have you looked at Live Mesh or the Sync Framework? What do you think of Microsoft's evolving cloud strategy? Express your thoughts below or drop me a line at [email protected]

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 08/25/2009

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