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An Overview of WCF RIA Services Toolkit

by Jonathan Allen on Aug 22, 2011 |

In honor of the August release of WCF RIA Services Toolkit, we are going to offer a quick introduction to the various components it offers on top of the baseline version of RIA Services. New in this build is support for EntityFramework 4.1, including code first, and a fix to the JavaScript/jQuery client so that it works with jQuery 1.5.1 and later.

The WCF RIA Services Toolkit is available as a single MSI or as a series of NuGet packages. It should be noted that the individual NuGet packages does not support Linq to Sql and the ASP.NET DomainDataSource and DomainValidator.

RIAServices.Endpoints – Out of the box, RIA Services only has full support for binary messages. This was appropriate for Silverlight clients, but not for anything else. This add-on package adds support for SOAP and JSON endpoints. This is especially important now that the same service layer is expected to support both Silverlight and non-Microsoft clients such as iOS and Android clients.

RIAServices.jQuery – While it is possible to use raw JSON and AJAX calls, getting everything just right can be tricky. So to make it easier Microsoft is working on WCF Support for jQuery. The eventual the goal includes support for numerous scenarios including the ability to generate client-side SDKs much as you would generate .NET or Silverlight clients from WSDL files.

RIAServices.ViewModel – Built for Silverlight only, this offers the DomainCollectionView class.

RIAServices.T4 – This is a replacement for the normal T4 code generator that allows you to plug in your own custom code generator. As is common with many of Microsoft’s newer technologies, there is no built-in support for Visual Basic or F#.

RIAServices.WindowsAzure – The TableDomainService allows the use of Windows Azure Table Storage as the data tier.

RIAServices.EntityFramework – This offers a new DbDomainService with EntityFramework 4.1 support, including EF Code First.

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