Is "Offline Sync" with Azure App Service coming to .NET 5?

William Wilson 31 Reputation points

My team is looking to build a platform using .NET 5 for most of the components. For the mobile apps, we are pretty set on using Xamarin.Forms (as we have built our current platform using this framework) and it is clear that Microsoft intends to update the framework to .NET 5 eventually.

The platform will have a primary SQL database hosted in Azure and a RESTful API exposed to the mobile applications. Our requirements for the mobile apps state that the app shall be offline first with a sync capability with the primary database when an internet connection is available. We feel comfortable using SQLite for the local db on mobile device. While researching synchronization techniques and libraries, it became evident that Azure App Service supports an "offline sync" feature that by all indications in the documentation does exactly what we want it to do (this feature was formerly available in Azure Mobile Apps). One of our interns built a demonstration project (hosting the mobile API in Azure App Services and building an App for Android using Xamarin.Forms), and verified the feature.

When looking at bootstrapping some projects myself, I noticed that the quickstarts for the .NET backend had languished for over a year, and I also verified that the NuGet packages for both the Client and Server which enable access to the offline sync feature weren't being actively updated. Also, the .NET backend quickstart targets .NET Framework 4.6 (this would be forgivable considering Xamarin.Forms is still using older framework versions also).

We are looking for a solution that is a little more manageable than the "roll your own db sync," as this has caused great pain in previous projects. We are looking at 3rd-party db sync solutions as well but we heavily use Microsoft tools and frameworks and like to use 1st-party integrations when possible.

Is offline sync migrating to .NET 5, or should my team look for another database synchronization solution?


Azure SQL Database
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  1. Nick Turner 81 Reputation points

    @William Wilson I wouldn't waste your breath since the mobile sync hasn't been updated since 2019. But since it's mobile, mobile does not support the classic framework. Old apps iOS apps use .net framework, but that is a tough sell.

    From my experience, the Mobile sync is not worth the trouble. Lots on table column syncing issues, myriad of issues are present, duplicate tables to fully control duplicate row issues in local database.

    Much easier to use Shiny and some api calls.

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  1. brtrach-MSFT 6,486 Reputation points Microsoft Employee

    @William Wilson Thank you for your question. We don't have much to share regarding .NET 5 on App Services at this time. Please note that .NET is targeted for GA towards the end of the year but this does not mean it will necessarily be available on day 1 on App Services. Historically, .NET updates can take a few extra weeks to validate and ensure they play nicely with the uniqueness of a PaaS offering. Please stay tuned for more information here on .NET 5 availability. We just announced support for .NET 4.8 earlier this month.

    Offline sync is a client and server SDK feature of Azure Mobile Apps. As far as I am aware there are no ties to .NET regarding the feature. Please let me know if there is a particular reason why you are worried .NET 5 will impact offline sync.

    There have been several changes regarding our mobile approach within Azure in the last 12 months but the latest messaging based on my most recent discussion with the team was that if you want offline sync in Azure, Azure App Services is the recommended approach. Please keep in mind that technology moves quickly but I have not heard of any other upcoming offerings.

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