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Today, we posted on the .NET RIA Services forum an updated roadmap for the timing and thoughts around the product offering. 

What is .NET RIA Services?

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.

Here is the current thoughts around the offering…

July 2009: Updated CTP

We will have an updated build of RIA Services in CTP form.  This is still considered a preview.  The current thinking is that we’ll remove any production (go-live) restrictions, but it will be a ‘use at your own risk’ product, not the typical official “go live” support license.  This is based on feedback our users are asking for.  We want to continue to evolve the product based on feedback, but also heard loudly that people want to use it now.

This build will have the goal of getting most significant breaking changes out there and remedied.  We’ll also update better shared code, extensibility and code-gen features.  This will also bring a first pass at better integration with ADO.NET Data Services.

PDC 2009: Beta

The obvious continued bug fixes based on what we know as well as customer feedback submitted via the .NET RIA Services forum.  The list of feature enhancements at this build stage is still being determined but some things being considered include better presentation model support and deeper hierarchy support.

This stage will also aim to bring support for VS2010 and .NET 4 and move to ADO.NET Data Services as the underlying protocol.  This builds on the path being taken for the July 2009 CTP.

First part of 2010: RTW

At this stage we’d polish up the product/tooling and prepare for the version 1 release.  Localization, stress, additional security analysis, perf…all these things happen between the beta and RTW.  We’ll also keep in line with current product changes if they occur (i.e., Visual Studio/Silverlight).

These are the current plans.  At each stage we will be keeping up with the associated Silverlight builds as they are available.

Seeking feedback

Right now, the RTW is targeted for VS2010 and .NET 4 as the primary tool/framework story.  We would love feedback on this (essentially, how important is .NET 3.5 SP1/VS2008 support).  We’re also asking that based on your work with .NET RIA Services that you provide feedback of key scenarios that are essential for you in a v1 release.  What do you think of alignment with ADO.NET Data Services?  What about ASP.NET MVC, etc?

Please use the .NET RIA Services forum to give your feedback.  The team there is very active and listening.  It is the best place to communicate with the RIA Services team.

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PDX baby.  That’s where I’m headed next week.  The Portland area user experience group (a SIG formed out of the Portland .NET user group) is hosting a Silverlight 2 launch party next week (11 NOV 2008).  They’ve invited me to attend and share some fun stuff about Silverlight 2.  I’m very excited to be going there because Portland is one of my favorite towns.  It has some of the best public transportation there and I think that makes for a great downtown experience and a lot of personality in the city.

Aside from the city itself, there are some great folks that will be there: Jason Mauer, Erik Mork, and Kelly White.  Maybe we can convince Hanselman to show up as well?  There will be dinner provided by Microsoft I’m told and then we’ll show some Silverlight stuff.  What will I be talking about?  I think I’ve decided to show a couple things:

    • Accessing data with Astoria
    • Building “traditional” line-of-business applications
    • Silverlight offline applications

There will also be some demo station areas after the main presentation where myself, Erik, Kelly and Jason will be showing some other stuff or to answer questions.  I’m seriously hoping there is some Rock Band action there so I can show my Chop Suey skills on the guitar.  If there isn’t, I know there will be a great group of folks to geek out with anyway.

So if you are in the area (or if you’re not, consider a short drive), please join us on 11 NOV @ 6:30 PM Pacific for the November meeting of the PDXUX group.  You can find all the details and a map to the location on the PDXUX web site.  Please also visit the registration site to RSVP your intent to come so that their planning team can estimate accordingly.  I’m looking forward to talking with some Portland developers about Silverlight and getting some feedback!

Hope to see you there!

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One of the nice little additions to the data client services in Silverlight 2 is the removal of the need to drop out of Visual Studio to do some proxy code generation.  Prior to Silverlight 2 release, if you wanted to consume an ADO.NET Data Service (the artist formerly known as Astoria), you had to drop into a command line and execute something like:

   1: datasvcutil.exe /out:"MyDataService.cs" /uri:"http://foo.com/MyDataServiceEndpoint.svc"

While that isn’t difficult, it just wasn’t convenient as a developer productivity workflow.  I mean who wants to have to click and type more than you have to, right?  After all, ADO.NET Data Service (alright forget it, I’m calling it Astoria) endpoints are services right?  And Visual Studio does have this thing called Add Service Reference?

Alas, now we don’t have to use a command-line anymore.  With Silverlight 2 and Visual Studio tools, you now can use the service reference capability I’d like to show you a screenshot, but it’s not like the dialog window is any different than other service references, so I’ll save me and you the bandwidth.  But try it out.  Take your project, add a reference to your Astoria service.

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A while back I pondered doing a “live” debug session with people who were/are working with Silverlight 2 and data access via services, etc.  I really like a live concept because it allows people to ask real questions and feels more conversational than a one-way presentation.  After some consideration, I’m not sure I could quite guarantee the environment I was looking for to accomplish this type of style.

confused man imageSo as a second best, I’ve set up a webcast: Troubleshooting Silverlight Data Access.  I hope to keep the question channel open during the webcast though and answer as many questions as possible.  I’ve seen many questions on forums, through emails, and all over the interwebs about people hitting certain pitfalls with Silverlight and data access.  Most of these are common scenarios and you need just a bit of “a-ha!” help to get you over the confusion stump.  That’s my aim.  I have set aside an hour (would have liked to do it sooner, but just time doesn’t permit right now) to tackle the most common things I’m seeing with data and Silverlight.  I’ll create the scenarios that get you stuck and show you what I do to help get you un-stuck from those moments.  Stop scratching your head any longer!

UPDATE: The webcast is now available online for playback.

We’ll look at tools you can use, how you can dig deeper into error messages, working with different types of data, etc.  I want to help!  Please leave your questions here on this blog post as a comment so that I can be sure to address the scenarios.  This isn’t a 1:1 debug session, so it will be hard to tackle the “hey, I’ve got this service from my AS/400 server exposed as a fitzer-valve service bus, which is able to be called from my Java front-end but doesn’t work in Silverlight: why not Tim?" questions, but I hope to help get you along the path of what to look for and to avoid the common mistakes.

Sound good?  I’m looking forward to it.  Again, please leave comments on this post so we can have the best possible session.  You can register for the webcast here.  I look forward to our time together :-).

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miss the days of devdays?  me too.  my team is trying to bring a little of that spark back!  on my team has organized a full-day of developer and architect goodness.  we'll be hosting two events, one in the phoenix, arizona metro area and one in the denver, colorado metro area.  here's the gist:

keynote: microsoft patterns and practices is being shipped in to talk about what they've produced and the logic behind it!

developer track:

    • exposing and consuming data using the microsoft stack (): take a look at the ado.net entity framework, linq and the ado.net data services (project 'astoria').
    • office as a developer platform (tim heuer): didn't know you could easily write office applications using managed code?  let me show you how easy it is and what visual studio 2008 has done to enable this and make it even easier.
    • what is new in visual basic 9 (): that's right.  beth massi -- if you are a vb'er, you've no doubt heard the name from the vb team.  we convinced her that she needed to be a part of this and she agreed!  come learn from beth all the new goodness that is VB9: xml literals, object initializers, anonymous types, extension methods, lambda expressions and some wicked intellisense improvements!

architect track:

    • why user experience matters: face it, developers are not good at defining user interfaces and thus it is often an aspect that is left out.  let's discuss the reason this needs to change and how attention to the user experience affects application adoption.
    • agile development at microsoft: the team from patterns and practices will discuss how they have fully adopted agile methods in their development team and their learnings over the years.
    • the Windows Live platform: think windows live is just virtual earth?  think again!  come hear about the services available to you as service-based building blocks that microsoft has exposed for your use!

this is going to be a great day and a must-see event.  it is completely free to attend.  come hang out with us.  we will also have a couple of surprises throughout the day and some fun stuff to show as well.

register for your event today:

PHOENIX 29 JAN REGISTER HERE

DENVER 31 JAN REGISTER HERE

do not miss out on this opportunity to hear from some locals as well as some people we are dragging out from redmond and the product teams!