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Build 2013 Keynote Day 2 Highlights

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Microsoft's Build 2013 began its second day with a keynote focused on code.  It was a marked difference from Day 1 which spent a lot of attention on Windows 8.1 and the overall Windows 8.X hardware/software ecosystem.  The presentations and demos focused on appealing to developers.  As before, what follows are lightly edited highlights of the proceedings. 

Server & Tools Business President Satya Nadella opened the keynote this morning with some statistics about Windows Azure and the major Microsoft cloud services.

Windows Azure

  • 50% of Fortune 500 companies are using Windows Azure
  • 3.2 Million organizations with active directory accounts
  • 2 X compute + storage every 6 months
  • 100+ major service releases since Build 2012 to Windows Azure

Major Microsoft Cloud Services

  • XBox Live 48 million subscribers
  • Skype 299 Million connected users
  • 1 million users gained in 24 hours
  • Office 365 Nearly 50 million Office web apps users
  • SkyDrive 250 million accounts
  • Bing 1 billion mobile notifications a month
  • XBox Live 1.5 Billion games of Halo

Nadella noted the wide variety of first party cloud services that Microsoft supports, and says it is important that they support them as well as provides good learning experience.  In his words, “We build for the first party and make available for the third party.” 

Scott Hanselman arrived on stage to discuss the latest for ASP.NET on VS2013.  A big change is the simplification of starting an ASP.NET application in VS2013.  The project types have been reduced to one, “ASP.NET”, and from there the new project wizard lets developers customize their project based on what they would like to create: web forms, MVC, etc.

VS2013 will ship with Twitter’s open source project Bootstrap, and it will be Microsoft supported just like jQuery is now.

An important debugging achievement was demonstrated where browsers can be associated with Visual Studio, allowing for real-time debugging and developing.  Edit code in VS2013, and the browser(s) will reflect the updates.  In this case the demo showed Hanselman editing cshtml, and via SignalR the updates were shown on the his selected web browsers of IE and Chorme.

In another example, Hanselman went to to obtain a new CSS template which he used to overwrite his current file.  Pressing CTRL-ENTER, the browsers reflected this update.

Then Hansleman opened a CSS file to show some new editor tricks.  Hovering over CSS statements, VS has a hover window appear that indicates which browser a particular statement applies to.  Another ability allows VS to trace and view live streaming trace logs from Azure.

Then Hanselman demonstrated his sample website producing a QR Code of a deep link.  He then scanned this on his phone which allowed him to jump into his existing authenticated session, moving from his desktop session to the same screen on his phone.

Satya returned to the stage to announce the general availability of Windows Azure Web Sites, which habe been in preview since Build 2012.  Now it is available with full SLA and enterprise support.

Josh Twist from Microsoft’s Mobile Services came on stage to demonstrate using a Mac to add Azure support to an iOS app.  Twist noted that developers looking to explore Azure can now create a free 20 meg SQL database which in addition to the 10 free web services allowed.

In Twist’s demo, Azure was used to create a custom XCode project that was preloaded with the appropriate Azure URLs for the project being worked on.  This simplifies getting up to speed with Azure development on Mac.  Related to this convenience, Windows Azure Mobile Services now enables git source control so that you do not need to edit code on the web portal.  So if you would rather develop with a locally (VS, Sublime, etc) you can do by pulling the files down from Azure and the push them back when edits are complete.  Twist demonstrated this functionality using Sublime to edit a JavaScript file, and then using a Git push back into Azure.

VS2013 has a new Server Explorer, which is used to browse all of the Mobile Services on Windows Azure for your site/installation.  A new wizard has been added which simplifies adding Push Notification for Windows Store based applications.

Satya Returns to Introduce Scott Guthrie.

The big news is the new auto-scaling on Windows Azure for billing.  Developers can manage the instance count, target CPU, VMs, No billing when a machine is stopped (only pay when the machine is working.)

Per minute billing has been added, for greater granularity.  Preview of Windows Azure AutoScale is now live

Windows Azure

  • Active Directory for the Cloud
  • Integrate with on-premises Active Directory
  • Enable single sign-on within your cloud Apps
  • Supports SAML, WS-Fed, and OAuth 2.0

Applications tab shows all apps registered with the current Active directory.  Manage Application to integrate (external) app with Active Directory.  For example, developers can Use Windows Azure AD to enable user access to Amazon Web Services. 

Satya describes Office 365 as "...a programmable surface area"

Jay Schmelzer to demonstrated the changes being made to allow/promote Office 365 as a platform.

  • Rich Office Model
  • Use Web APIs to access
  • Extend with Azure
  • First class tools support in VS2013
  • Office 365 Apps + Windows Azure 

Increasing promotion of Windows Azure, MSDN subscribers receive greater discounts and incentives to use the Azure platform.

  1. Use your MSDN Dev/Test licenses on Windows Azure
  2. Reduced rates for Dev/test licenses up to 97% discounts
  3. No Credit card required for MSDN members

 Chief Evangelist Steve Guggenheimer takes the stage to discuss Windows Common Core.

Microsoft wants to make it easy as possible to support all Windows Devices with one code base, minimal rework.

John Shewchuk joined Guggenheimer onstage to demonstrate some new applications. 

F12 IE tools, when activate it will not refresh the page in order to display them.

Web page elements can be dragged & dropped in the editor, then the page dynamically updates.

Shewchuk, takes some web page code from Khan Academy's website (via GitHub), then dropped this code into a control that produces a native Windows 8 app.  This app was then remotely deployed to an Xbox One, and it can also be remotely debugged active app running on XBox.

A separate demonstration showed the ease with which Bing technology can be added to websites.  Shewchul adds Bing Knowledge to a sample website, by changing a Div element to include some "Bing" related keywords.  Then Bing processed the text for known entities, which created hot links to Bing cards.

IntelliSense completion is now available on Data binding.  Windows Embedded 8.1 will support bar code scanners, card readers, locking apps on a tablet.  Starting with the Windows 8.1 release, Windows Embedded will be on the same release cycle as standard Windows 8.1.


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