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Microsoft's Guthrie Touts Silverlight 3 Beta's Database Access Features

Microsoft's release yesterday of its Silverlight 3 beta has plenty to attract the Adobe Flash faithful with its support for high-definition, TiVo-like capabilities, 3-D graphics and improved manipulation of visuals, just to name a few new features.

But in his keynote at MIX09 yesterday, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Microsoft's .NET developer platform, pointed to many new features for data-oriented applications, as well. Guthrie indicated numerous data binding improvements, such as element-to-element binding between controls (60 new controls with source code were added) and validation error templates.

At the networking layer, Guthrie pointed to improved server data push capability. "Your server can push notification of a data change from the server to the client without you having to explicitly pull," Guthrie said. He also pointed to added support for Binary XML. "You can compress network payloads between the client and server," he said.

Furthermore, he emphasized support for multi-tier data. "What this means is we're providing a programming model that you can use so that you can actually expose data on the server," he said. "When it comes down to the client and you retrieve it, when you update it, we'll actually keep track of all the changes you're making on the client, and then you can very easily hit save and basically push those changes back to the server."

Guthrie demonstrated the "customer domain service," a service that takes advantage of that multi-tier data support. He created a class that exposes the client using .NET methods. "I have a get.customers method, a get.customer.orders method and then I basically created an insert, update and delete CRUD method and that's just working against my LINQ to Entities model to talk to my database," he explained.

Database developers can also use LINQ to SQL, NHibernate "or any other data access that you like," he added.

According to Guthrie, Silverlight 3 will also enable search engine optimization (SEO) by using server-based business objects with ASP.NET controls, where users can mirror data-driven rich interactive app content into HTML that can be indexed by Google, Yahoo and Live Search, among others.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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