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InfoQ Homepage News Quick Take: Build 2015 Day 1 Keynote

Quick Take: Build 2015 Day 1 Keynote


Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build, opened today in San Francisco at the Moscone Center.  Satya Nadella took the stage to welcome the large gathering of media, analysts, and developers.  He began by saying that he has attended every Microsoft developer conference since 1991, first as a 3rd party then as a Microsoft developer.  Emphasizes that Microsoft is a developer company and a platform company first.  References the 40th anniversary of the company by noting a celebratory tweet from Paul Allen that included a code listing from the very first code written by Microsoft, for what would become Microsoft BASIC.

Before continuing, Nadella introduces David William Hearn, a musician who has developed a Surface based app that allows for music to be written onscreen that is recognized and then converted to proper musical notes from the user’s handwriting.  This emphasizes Nadella’s point that more people are developers than before and how Microsoft wants to help them.

Nadella says that the Keynote Today will focus on 3 areas:

Platform Opportunity

  1. Build the Intelligent Cloud
  2. Reinvent productivity and business process
  3. Create more personal computing

Scott Guthrie then took the stage to begin elaborating on the first point.  This section of the keynote spent a lot of time on Azure:

  • Azure is in 19 regions, more than AWS and Google Cloud combined.
  • “Full Spectrum” cloud… usable for personal projects to global apps.
  • Delivered 500+ new Azure services/release since the last Build.

A big announcement for developers is the reveal of Visual Studio Code, a “code optimized” editor for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that will be available at no charge.  It includes Code Peek, IntelliSense thanks to OmniSharp and Roslyn, and supports Git.

Microsoft has expanded their Universal Windows Platform has been expanded both within Microsoft and the broader company.  For developers, there is the announcement of the free Visual Studio Code for all major platforms, Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.  For everyone, there is Microsoft’s embrace of the containerization of desktop and mobile device apps.

Through an upcoming Microsoft tool, existing XCode projects can be converted for use and development in Visual Studio—which now supports Objective C development.  Windows Phone will be able to run Android apps as-is, through the addition of an Android subsystem.

The expansion of Office as a platform for all developers to target continues, as Microsoft’s Rob Lefferts demonstrated various plugins for Outlook that can pull in LinkedIn data for email recipients or use Uber to arrange a ride based on an upcoming meeting.

Microsoft’s Terry Myseron announces Microsoft’s goal to have 1 billion Windows 10 devices running Windows applications.  He claims that Windows is the only ecosystem that lets you bring your apps to all of your devices in an efficient way.  To assist developers with making money, Microsoft is introducing carrier billing for Windows Phone and all devices, and this will give Microsoft devices the largest carrier billing footprint.  This ability is important as it helps acquire customers that have phones but not credit cards.

Myserson introduced more information about the Universal Windows Platform and how they plan to be that platform:

  1. Reuse web server code – take a existing server website code and put it in an app frame that recognizes and runs on the Windows 10 desktop
  2. .NET & Win32 – bring them into Windows store
    1. Apps will be efficiently installed/uninstalled.  Hyper-V is used to take a regular Windows application and run it an isolated session.
  3. Android Java / C++ code support into Windows 10.  Windows Phones will contain an Android subsystem.  Apps will run in a Windows app security container
  4. Objective-C / iOS – As mentioned above, developers will be able to take existing Apple iOS XCode projects and convert them to Visual Studio projects while keeping them in Objective-C.

Joe Belfiore came on to the stage to announce that the successor to Internet Explorer, Project Spartan, has been officially branded Microsoft Edge, “the browser for doing”.  Windows 10 Phones will benefit from Windows Continuum, allowing apps on the phone to easily scale with the available technology.  For example, an external display, mouse, and keyboard can be attached to a Windows Phone providing a full app experience.

Alex Kipman then took the stage to demo the latest HoloLens, and how it incorporates reality with computer generated imagery.

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