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Microsoft Sync Framework

Introducing the Microsoft Sync Framework

Data synchronization is a great feature – it ensures that the data at the source and destination is in sync to each other. The Sync Framework is a Microsoft technology that can deal with the dilemma of occasionally connected systems. It is a comprehensive synchronization platform that enables collaboration and offline and online access for applications, services, and devices. The Microsoft Sync Framework documentation states, “Microsoft Sync Services for ADO.NET lets you synchronize data from different sources over two-tier, N-tier, and service-based architectures. The Sync Services for ADO.NET API for client and server synchronization provides a set of components to synchronize data between data services and a local store, instead of only replicating a database and its schema.” This article provides an overview of the features of Microsoft Sync Framework in a lucid language.

What is the Sync Framework, anyway?

The Sync Framework is a comprehensive framework for synchronizing offline data with the online counterpart. It is a comprehensive synchronization platform that enables collaboration and offline access for applications, services, and devices. In particular, it features technologies and tools that enable device roaming, sharing, and the ability to take networked data offline before synchronizing it back to the networked application at a later time. As discussed earlier, the Microsoft Sync Framework is protocol and database independent - you can use it to can build applications that can synchronize data from any data store using any protocol over the network. You can download Microsoft sync framework from Microsoft download page.

Note that the Microsoft sync framework also ships with Microsoft visual studio 2008 Service pack 1.

Microsoft states: “Microsoft Sync Framework is a comprehensive synchronization platform that enables collaboration and offline access for applications, services, and devices. It features technologies and tools that enable roaming, sharing, and taking data offline. Using Microsoft Sync Framework, developers can build sync ecosystems that integrate any application, with any data from any store using any protocol over any network.”

Why the Microsoft Sync Framework?

The most important of all benefits that this framework provides is in its ability to synchronize both offline and online data. It enables any data source to be integrated in the data synchronization, irrespective of the type of the data source.

The following are the salient features of the Microsoft Sync Framework at a glance:

  • Data store and protocol independent
  • Built-in support for filters and data conflict resolution
  • Support for file systems, databases, and SSEs

Core Components of the Sync Framework

The major components that comprise the Sync Framework include:

  • Synchronization Providers
  • Metadata Services

The Microsoft Sync Framework ships with built-in providers for synchronizing some very common end points like flat files, simple sharing extensions like rss and atoms and ADO.NET enabled data sources. It also provides developers with necessary infrastructure to quickly create their own custom Sync Provider seamlessly. The Microsoft Sync Framework includes the following providers:

  • Sync Services for ADO.NET: Provides Synchronization for ADO.NET enabled data sources
  • Sync Services for File Systems: Provides Synchronization for files and folders
  • Sync Services for Feed Sync: Provides Synchronization for RSS and ATOM feeds


The Microsoft Sync Framework Can Integrate Applications into offline or collaboration-based Networks. It provides an embeddable and scalable platform for enabling synchronization. This article has presented the basic features and benefits of the Microsoft Sync Framework. It was just an overview of this technology. You can know more on this framework by reading my book titled, Pro Sync Framework (APRESS). You can get the book here:

The Author

Joydip Kanjilal is a Microsoft MVP in ASP.NET.

He has more than 12 years of industry experience in IT with more than six years in Microsoft .NET and its related technologies.

He has authored articles for some of the most reputable sites, including,,,,, and

Many of these articles have been selected at, Microsoft’s official site for ASP.NET. Joydip was also a community credit winner at a number of times.

He is currently working as a Lead Architect in a reputable company in Hyderabad, India. He has years of experience in designing and architecting solutions for various domains. His technical strengths include, C, C++, VC++, Java, C#, Microsoft .NET, AJAX, Design Patterns, SQL Server, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture.

Joydip blogs at and spends most of his time reading books and blogs, and writing books and articles. His hobbies include watching cricket and soccer and playing chess