During yesterday evening, we held a very enjoyable user group meeting in Bracknell.
During the first half, NxtGen’s John Price gave a talk on Microsoft Sync Services. This began with some theory slides covering the important issues which was very well presented. The topics included why you would want to use sync in your application and the architectural components such as the sync adapters and sync groups.
During his demo, John built a Windows app that synchronised with a SQL2005 database and made it appear very simple. One thing that I learnt about SQL Server Compact is the lack of 64bit support and the need to change the ‘platform target’ to x86 in the compile options. An interesting suggestion raised by the audience was using Sync Services as a mechanism for preserving battery life on a mobile device. An application would be coded to switch off radio during low battery conditions and to use Sync Services in order to work offline. To conclude the demo, the sync logic was moved into a WCF service which was impressive.
During the second half, Vincent O’Hare gave a great talk on Software as a Service. The interesting part of his talk was the explanation of the business model, how the ‘rental model’ currently accounts for 10% of the software market share and the ‘Land and Expand’ tactics that businesses follow. In a typical scenario, businesses will offer 3 tiers of service (Bronze, Silver, Gold). These begin with a free trial and there are targets for recruiting/retaining customers and moving them up tiers. On a technical level, Vince also spoke about the challenges of customising applications/database extensibility and touched upon the importance of internationalisation.
The feedback for the event was great. Thanks once to John for making the long journey down to Bracknell and thanks to Vince for volunteering to speak.