Microsoft Build is back in town

Tags: BUILD 2016

We’re 2016 and the largest Microsoft developer conference is back in San Francisco this week. What can we expect? A lot great content and two stuffed keynotes. With a opening quote like this from Satya Natella, you know we’re set for great content.

So what’s been announced during the day 1 keynote?

Windows 10

  • Used on 270+ million devices (including 5 year old devices ;))
  • Anniversary update this summer (codenamed Redstone 1).
    • Windows Hello: Biometric authentication in your apps and even on websites using Microsoft Edge.
    • UWP on Xbox One
    • UWP on HoloLens
    • Cortana will be updated as well
  • A lot of extra investment in using the pen with Microsoft Ink:
    • Cortana recognizes appointments/reminders written on a Sticky note.
    • Ink workspace with virtual rotating ruler, works even over the lock screen. No more drawing on the whiteboard and taking a picture!
    • Bing maps recognizes ink, calculates distance and knows how to pin your notes in 3D.
    • Office: creating your slides in PowerPoint by drawing and using the ruler, annotating in Word.
    • Even Adobe Illustrator CC integrates with Microsoft Ink.

Windows is home for developers

  • UWP: Visual Studio Update 2 and a preview of the Anniversary update SDK
    • GPU animations @ 60 FPS, blurring, highlights and shadows, ink integration
  • Hosted web apps
  • Bash shell coming to Windows, including all editors like Emacs. Primarily aimed at hosted web apps developers. Access to Windows 10 APIs.
  • Desktop app converter to bring your ‘old’ Win32 and .NET desktop apps to the store, with full accessibility to the UWP capabilities (codenamed Project Centennial).
  • Xamarin: we all know Microsoft recently bought Xamarin, so this is still the go-to tool for cross-platform development, and it’s all part of Visual Studio (no word on pricing changes).

Games / Xbox One

  • Vsync unlocked presentation, gsync, freesync support coming to UWP games in May
  • Desktop app converter also works for games, shown on stage: AoE 2 HD and The Witcher 3 as UWP app.
  • Ability to unlock your consumer Xbox One to developer mode (requires reboot) and deploy/debug from Visual Studio. Preview of dev mode available as of today.
  • For more news on the Anniversary Update for XBox one, check E3 conference in June.
  • DirectX 12 is a great upgrade from DirectX 11 (stats wise) and also the fastest API adoption of the decade.

HoloLens / Holographic

Conversation as a platform

Create more personal computing, build the intelligent cloud platform and reinvent productivity and business processes. A new word for what’s been coined “NUI” before.

Core principles:

  • Augment human abilities & experiences
  • Trustworthy
  • Inclusive & respectful

Cortana plays a big role in this, together with the integration of conversation canvases: Outlook, Skype, Slack, WeChat, SMS, …

Cortana Intelligence Suite

Allows developers to build bots.

The keynote closed with the best demo: a bot to help a blind man “see” with image recognition in his glasses. Want to try it out for yourself with some images? Head over to https://www.captionbot.ai/.

Final note

As last year, I’ll be posting a small series of session recaps. You can use these to take in some of the content and let you decide which sessions you want to (re)watch yourself (or just download them all). Enjoy the conference.

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