I have heard about the project Astoria for the first time at Mix in Las Vegas this year. It immediately caught my attention and interest...

Project Astoria aims to make data available on the Internet for easy consumption by other (client) applications. If you think in term of mash-ups, this is a technology that you should have on your radar. From the Astoria Team Blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/astoriateam/default.aspx): The goal of the Astoria project is to enable applications to expose data as a data service that can be consumed by web clients within corporate networks and across the Internet. Such data services are reachable over regular HTTP requests using standard HTTP verbs such as GET, POST, PUT and DELETE to represent the operations against the service. The payload format for the data exchanged with the service can be controlled by the client and all options are simple, open formats such as plan XML and JSON. The use of web-friendly technologies make it ideal as a data back-end for AJAX-style applications, Rich Interactive Applications and other applications that need to operate against data that is across the web.