Build 2017: How Microsoft is helping developers to innovate

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 12 May 2017
Build 2017: How Microsoft is helping developers to innovate

Earlier this week Satya Nadella, Scott Guthrie and Harry Shum welcomed thousands of developers to Seattle for Build 2017, Microsoft’s annual developer conference.

During his opening keynote Nadella announced that Windows had reached 500 million Windows 10 monthly active devices and noted how, together, Windows, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Azure offer developers more than a billion opportunities to connect their innovations with Microsoft customers. Microsoft also announced new Azure data and cloud services to help developers quickly modernise their existing apps, new AI and Azure services that allow any developer to more easily build intelligent apps, with understanding and natural user interaction capabilities, and showcased new data, IoT edge and AI services built for a future with an intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

“In a world of near infinite compute power and an exponential growth in data, we are focused on empowering every developer to build applications for this new era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

Our world is overloaded with information, every minute, and yet it is in this very information – data – that opportunities and insights abound. To help customers realise these opportunities, Microsoft shared an early peek into innovations it is bringing to bear to help every person and organisation achieve more.

In support of this vision Microsoft announced a preview of Azure IoT Edge, technology that extends the intelligence – and other benefits – of cloud computing to edge devices.

It also showcased extensions to the Microsoft Graph to combine insights from the world of work with device insights and contextual awareness of the physical world, along with technology that will allow you to search the real world in the same way you search the digital world, helping to keep your data safe and secure while making you more productive.

Following this, Microsoft demonstrated how it is meeting developers where they are, and helping them be more successful, with new Microsoft Azure and Visual Studio services and tools to help modernise existing applications and quickly build intelligent apps for all major platforms.

Introducing Azure Cosmos DB, built from the ground up to power planet-scale cloud services and data-intensive applications — from IoT to AI to mobile — with incredible performance, fault tolerance and support for every type of data, including graph. It is the industry’s first globally distributed, multimodel database service to deliver horizontal scale with guaranteed uptime, throughput, consistency and single-digit millisecond latency at the 99th percentile. Developers get incredible flexibility with the only schema-free database service, with support for popular NoSQL APIs, that also offers five well-defined consistency choices while auto-indexing all data.

New MySQL- and PostgreSQL-managed services also join Azure SQL Database to give developers expanded choice and flexibility on a service platform that delivers high availability and scalability, with minimal downtime, and data retention and recovery.

Microsoft also announced plans to better connect developers with Office 365 customers around the globe. Any developer can now publish for Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365. Coming soon, apps in Teams will be more discoverable for end users through a new app experience. Developers can also add new capabilities to Teams apps, including third-party notifications in the activity feed, Compose Extensions and Actionable Messages.

Microsoft also made new Microsoft Graph APIs available to developers, including APIs from SharePoint and Planner. The Microsoft Graph gives developers access to Office 365 data and intelligence and helps connect the dots between people, conversations, projects, schedules, processes and content. These insights help developers build smarter apps, enabling smarter ways to work.

Developers and ISVs who host their production SaaS applications on Microsoft Azure and sign up through the Azure website can now have their apps’ data and workflow automatically extended to authorized Office 365 customers through standard connectors for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. To help ISVs expand their business even further, Microsoft is also providing additional incentives to its sales force when they jointly co-sell eligible SaaS apps and services to enterprise customers.

Microsoft also highlighted its vision to amplify human ingenuity with intelligent technology, bringing AI to every developer through the unique combination of the Microsoft cloud and AI. New cognitive services, platform innovations in the Microsoft Bot Framework, advances in deep learning tools, continued infusion of AI into the company’s products and services, and intelligent insights offered through the Microsoft Graph unlock this opportunity for developers and new growth scenarios for businesses.

On day two of the event, Microsoft shared the first details of the next major update to Windows, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Available later this year, the Fall Creators Update delivers new experiences for more than 500 million Windows 10 devices: a new design system; creative experiences that will move with you across Windows, iOS and Android; new apps coming to the Windows Store — including iTunes; new tools that make Windows home for all developers; and the world’s first Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers — no markers required.

“We designed Windows 10 to empower the creator in all of us,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft. “We’re excited for our customers to take advantage of the new features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that will empower innovative experiences; a modern, unified design for cross-device experiences; and an easier path for developers to create for the future of computing.”

Find out more about the announcements made at Build 2017 here

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