Microsoft’s Steve Fox sees the future (we’re talking months, not years), and it is “service-oriented applications.” By that he means giving developers the ability to access data hosted in the cloud to build into their applications, and then deploying those applications on premises or back out to the cloud.

With Microsoft’s release of its Azure cloud platform, and the upcoming releases of SharePoint 2010 and Visual Studio 2010, developers can take advantage of rich integrations to create “very compelling applications,” he said. Fox also mentioned “Dallas,” the codename for Microsoft’s still-in-beta Azure-hosted data libraries, as a key technology for service-oriented applications.

He gave the example of a Silverlight application calling into the cloud to access crime and business data to be overlaid on a Bing map so realtors can make decisions about whether they want to introduce a potential client into a certain area.

With Sandbox Solutions in SharePoint 2010 acting as a “lowest common denominator” for SharePoint on premises and SharePoint Online, Fox said parity can be brought to those instances so that a true hybrid solution can be created. “The SOA model is all about bridging heterogeneous systems,” he said. “You’re re-architecting your applications to go beyond on-premises.”

The promise is powerful. The delivery, Fox said, is close at hand. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, you can read more on this on Fox’s blog.

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