As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been very busy lately working with Daniel, Mariano and other guys here in Clarius on an open-source implementation of Simple Sharing Extensions for .NET. The architecture of the project is still evolving, many changes have been introduced since the the first release, and it will continue this way as long as we find things to improve or new features are added. For this reason is that your feedback is quite important for us at this point.
As the diagram above shows, we basically have three main parts or components that conforms to our architecture:
1. SSE Model Classes: They represent the classes needed to parse and maintain the SSE metadata. In this group, you can find classes such as Sync to represent the synchronization history, XmlItem that contains the item xml payload or Item, which is a combination of a payload with sync metadata.
2. Sync Engine: It represents the synchronization engine that process and applies the SSE rules to the items at runtime. It basically receives items from two different sources or repositories and makes a complete merge, determining new item additions, deletions, modifications or conflicts, when an item was modified in both sources according to the SSE rules.
3. Repositories: This is the part of the architecture that can be extended, and where the developers can have an opportunity to get their hands dirty. In a few words, a repository represents a source of Items that contains an xml payload and sync metadata. It is responsible to provide and maintain that information in a underline storage, which can be memory, files, databases, or any other kind of storage. Here, you can also find an specific kind of repository, a CompoundRepository, which implements the Repository API and delegates the work to two new classes, XmlRepository and SyncRepository. The first one is only responsible for maintaining application specific data or payloads, and the second one for the sync metadata, the CompoundRepository then, knows how to correlate both parts (the payload and the sync info) through the SSE identifier that they have in common.
So, depending on the sync scenario, you can just implement a part of a repository (Deriving from XmlRepository or SyncRepository) or a complete repository (Deriving from Repository).
For the moment, there is only a SyncRepository that keeps the sync metadata in a database (Access, SQL Server or SQL CE), but more repositories will be available soon.
Just to have an idea of how a synchronization scenario looks like, we could have for example two repositories, one that knows to how to read and maintain information about outlook contacts and another repository that knows how to publish and retrieve items from the Microsoft Live Personal SSE service (http://sse.mslivelabs.com/). This will allow us a bidirectional synchronization of outlook contacts using perhaps the SSE service only as a relay agent.
If you are interested in implementing any kind of synchronization scenario, go ahead and take a look at this project :-).
Microsoft has released the first CTP of the synchronization framework, it is available to download here.
The idea of this framework is to provide a platform or foundation to synchronize data across multiple data stores through an extensible architecture based on providers.
This drop comes with three providers out of the box,
1. Sync provider for ADO.NET, which is the provider for synchronization across databases using ADO.NET.
2. Sync provider for File System, which can be used to synchronize two file system locations.
3. Sync provider for SSE (Simple Sharing Extensions) for synchronization data against SSE feeds. If you are not familiar with SSE, it is a lightweight protocol initially defined by Ray Ozzie that mounts on top of RSS or ATOM to allow for two-way synchronization among peers. If you are interested in knowing more about this technology, Daniel wrote an excellent post in his blog a couple of weeks ago. As Daniel mentioned in his post, we have been participating of an open-source implementation of SSE, SimpleSharing-NET that is available to download in CodePlex.
I will be discussing more about the SimpleSharing-NET architecture in future posts.