Microsoft Build Developer Conference | April 29 – May 1, 2015 is a premier developer conference targeted towards Microsoft based technologies. This year it was held at San Francisco from April 29th to May 1st.As usual Microsoft had set the stage on fire with a series of mind boggling announcements during the keynote. Definitely again the focus has been on cloud, mobile and Internet of Things. I attended the conference remotely through some watching some live and some recorded sessions.  My focus on this blog mainly will be on Mobile, Windows 10, .NET and Visual Studio related things.

.NET

Biggest pleasant surprise last year was making .NET open source. See here and more here . Major motivation for this effort was to make .NET cross platform (so no longer Java holds the advantage?). As a .NET developer you will be now able to build and run code on Linux, MacOS, Android, iOS etc. Sure Mono by XAMARIN was there but that was not enough. Code is being made open here at this github link. So that announcement was again made public in Build 2015 with the introduction of .NET core for cloud and device.  So now Windows universal apps can be written on different OSes using .NET core. .NET Core can be used in ASP.NET 5, Windows 10 Apps and .NET Core console apps.

Visual Studio

One of the top announcements this year was the introduction of Visual studio code. It’s a lightweight IDE aimed to work again on different OSes i.e. Windows, MacOS and Linux. It is not the full blown Visual Studio but includes some of the features like intellisense, debugging, code navigation etc. Javascript, ASP.NET, typescript, HTML,Node. js can be edited and compiled here. It also has direct integration with Git. For more details check and download from here.

Visual Studio 2015 has reached RC stage and some of the important additions in Visual Studio 2015 are below.

  • Some of the debugger improvements like lambda debugging, edit and continue improvements, child –process debugging etc.
  • Visual studio 2015 will now ship tools set for Apache Cordova. Now cross platform applications can be built, debugged and tested for Android, iOS and Windows using HTML/JS.
  • C++ improvements: Visual studio 2015 delivers features for new C++ features like resumable functions, generic lambda expressions etc. Now C++ code can be used to build Android and iOS applications.
  • Improved Visual studio emulator for Android: Device profiles for emulators have been added like Samsung, LG etc. and Wifi simulation has been added.

Full set of features can be found here.

Office Development platform

  • Office 356 Graph APIs: Microsoft seems to be pretty excited with Graph APIs. Which are machine learnt data exposed as rest end points as graphs. First two scenarios available in preview now are “trendingAround” and “workingWith”.
  • Excel for iPad now gets Add-In support. Now applications add-ins can be developed in for Excel in iOS. It will be coming for Android, Word and PowerPoints for iPad in future.
  • Add-In support for Outlook.com. As the name suggests now add-ins can be developed for Outlook.com. Some add-ins by Uber, Bloomeberg and Pay Pal have been already built.

Full set of features and details can be found here

Windows 10


Now separate there will be a separate Windows Store for business in Windows 10.. Businesses will be deploy app relevant for their line of business for their users. Large organizations can run windows store for business for their specific apps in their private portal. Whereas the small organizations can take advantage of the windows store provided by Microsoft itself. They can create a private section for their apps in the windows store which their user can use.

Four different type of applications will now be able to run as Windows store application. Android, iOS, Web and Win 32 applications can now run as Windows store application. This is a huge step and encourages developers to take advantage of Windows store and develop their application for Windows Phone.

Java Script.

There has been some interesting information around web and java script

Manifold JS which helps to generate hosted web applications for different platforms like Windows, iOS and Android. Manifold JS is based on the new the metadata for web applications being introduced by w3c. Users just have to create the metadata manifest file and manifold.js will generate hosted web application for different platform out of that. For platforms which support hosted web apps it creates a native application for the platform which doesn’t Manifold.js uses Cordova to achieve the same. Quite an interesting concept I think. More details about Manifold.js here

Vorlon.js  helps to remotely debug any java script code running on any device with a web browser. Vorlon.js is based on node.js can be installed on a web server and then the client can be run to inspect any remote java script code.  I have been using chrome remote debugger for inspecting my java script code running on any chrome remotely on any device. I am sure going to give it a try. More info about Vorlon.js here

GitHub integration

Github extension for Visual Studio 2015 seems to be a nice thing and wanted by developers because now a day’s most of the open source code is hosted in GitHub. Eclipse had done it long time back by embracing Git and GitHub. With the Github extension developers can easily connect to Github, clone repositories etc. The experience will be similar to what is available in git support for Visual Studio in Team explorer.

To conclude this year’s build had all the ingredients for a worthwhile event. I strongly encourage everyone to go through the videos of build conferences in channel 9 here and also the links which I have provided. Even if you don’t work with Microsoft based technologies, it is interesting to observe what a conglomerate like Microsoft is doing for the latest trends.

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