The state of Astoria: incubation or what?
I've seen a few instances on posts to forums or blogs asking whether Astoria continues to be an experiment or an incubation project or has become something else (this one prompted me to write this).
So in the interest of transparency and to make sure we're clear about this, let me tell you where we are right now:
So far we've shipped the first CTP and read-only experimental online service in May 2007, then we shipped a Silverlight-enabled library, and more recently we put out an update to the online service to allow developers to create their own services.
That round of early technology previews went really well and we got very good reception from the developer community and the internal Microsoft folks. That resulted in the decision to fund Astoria as a full on project for the part that is a downloadable toolkit you install and run on your own servers.
So now we have a team that is appropriately staffed (developers, testers, program manager, user education, some management) and we are building Astoria as a full on Microsoft technology. The part we are building, again, is the "SDK" or the "toolkit"; this is analogous to the CTP download we have available today. Once you installed it, it'll let you create data services as part of your projects and it will give you nice Visual Studio integration, samples, etc.
As for the online service, it continues to be an experiment. We continue to learn from it. There is really not more to say about it at this point.
Hope this helps clarify the situation. If you have further questions, please feel free to post them here.