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Where does .NET RIA Services Fit in With ADO.NET Data Services?

When Microsoft released Silverlight 3 last week, there was much attention paid to its ability to support rich Internet applications outside the browser. But what does that mean for data-driven applications?

At the MIX 09 conference back in March, Microsoft announced .NET RIA Services. In a blog posting at the time, Brad Abrams, group program manager for Microsoft's .NET Framework explained:

Microsoft .NET RIA Services simplifies the traditional n-tier application pattern by bringing together the ASP.NET and Silverlight platforms. The RIA Services provides a pattern to write application logic that runs on the mid-tier and controls access to data for queries, changes and custom operations. It also provides end-to-end support for common tasks such as data validation, authentication and roles by integrating with Silverlight components on the client and ASP.NET on the mid-tier.
 
So that begs the question: Will .NET RIA Services be preferred over ADO.NET DataServices for Silverlight data access? Scott Guthrie, corporate VP of Microsoft's .NET Developer Platform group, in an interview at last week's launch event, said "no."

"The bits that are being released today for RIA Services, actually build on top of ADO.NET DataServices," he said. "So you can think of ADO.NET DataServices as providing a kind of lower layer RAW/REST API, and then RIA Services as a layer on top. We definitely think that there are scenarios where you would want to have a pure REST service model. And then the .NET RIA Services gives you things like the validation, cross-tiering, and higher-level services on top. We’ve worked hard to layer them nicely, so that RIA Services isn’t a competitive technology, but actually just builds on top of ADO.NET Data Services." A complete copy of the interview is available here.

Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at twentysix New York welcomed the fact that the team is working to integrate RIA Services with ADO.NET Data Services, based on his review of Microsoft's newly released NET RIA Services overview paper. "This is certainly welcome news," said Brust in an e-mail.

"With the Entity Framework and ADO.NET Data Services joining bare ADO.NET and DataSets, there are already plenty of data access technologies to go around and we certainly didn't need another separate model. It looks like what they're doing with RIA Services is making it a value-added business logic/validation UI toolkit for Silverlight that works on top of ADO.NET Data Services."

What's your take on .NET RIA Services? Drop me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/16/2009 at 1:15 PM


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