microsoft Developers who are wanting to take their web services and databases offline now have a new technology at their disposal called Microsoft Sync Framework. Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet reports that Microsoft posted the test build for download just yesterday on November 4th, and it will work for any file type including music, contacts, videos, images and settings, and more.

Apparently Microsoft has been working on a synchronization solution for quite some time. In fact, this new Microsoft Sync Framework was previously code-named Ibiza/Harmonica and was mentioned here and described as the “core metadata layer that will be at the heart of Microsoft’s online/offline synchronization technologies and strategies.”. This new framework could be Microsoft’s response to Google Gears which launched back in May as Google’s solution for taking online applications offline.

There are so many benefits with allowing users to use web-based applications both online and offline that it makes sense for Microsoft to develop their own framework to do this.  Microsoft talked about these advantages and said:

The advantage of a synchronization-based solution is that users are no longer required to have a constant network connection to access their information. Since their data is stored locally they are given constant access to their data while offloading processing requirements from the central database. Furthermore, the user is no longer limited by the network speed and can now access the data at the speed of the device.

For those of you who want to download Microsoft Sync Framework, head on over to Microsoft’s download center.  Depending on the components that you want, the download will range in size from 820 KB to 25.7 MB. Here are some of the highlights that Microsoft points out:

  • Add sync support to new and existing applications, services, and devices
  • Enable collaboration and offline capabilities for any application
  • Roam and share information from any data store, over any protocol, and over any network configuration
  • Leverage sync capabilities exposed in Microsoft technologies to create sync ecosystems
  • Extend the architecture to support custom data types including files