The goal of Astoria in V1 is to easily expose a data source using the REST approach to the web (with support for concurrency, versioning, auth, etc). In general, the way we think about serialization formats (ie. how we represent entites on the wire) is that they are a tool and an application will select the best tool (ie.
A refresh of our “Overview of ADO.NET Data Services” white paper is now up on MSDN here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc956153.aspx . The document is meant to cover the high-level concepts for the product. A companion paper “Using ADO.NET Data Services” published a little while ago complements this overview with details on product features and how to use them.
An update to our “Using ADO.NET Data Services” whitepaper is now available to match the bits just released with the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. You can find the paper on MSDN here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc907912.aspx. The document is intended to be a good way to go from 0 to 60 with data services and touches on many aspects of the product.
As an offshoot of the feedback we got from different channels , ( Blogs , Direct emails to team members , our discussion forums, etc) we are releasing an “interim build” of the data services Silverlight client which works with the