Microsoft showcased cloud services, tools and productivity extensions for every developer at its Build conference in San Francisco, California on 31 March.
A day after revealing its plans to create more intelligent personal computing, Microsoft demonstrated how new updates to Microsoft Azure services and the Office 365 platform will empower developers to build intelligent apps using advanced analytics, machine learning, emerging cloud development models and the internet of things (IoT).
Microsoft Office 365 updates include new functionality for developers to build apps and place them directly into Word, Excel and PowerPoint ribbons, as well as a new Skype for Business App SDK and Skype Web SDK. These enable enterprises to integrate Skype calls directly into their online or device offerings and enhance the service they provide to their customers.
Developers can now also use the Office 365 Connectors portal to publish their own connectors that deliver relevant content – such as updates on financial records or helpdesk logs – from popular apps and services directly into Office 365 Groups conversations. The portal launched with connectors such as Asana, Salesforce, Trello, Twitter, UserVoice, Zendesk and more.
Microsoft also previewed six new APIs for Microsoft Graph that allow developers to link Office 365 data to third-party solutions.
“In terms of reach, Office is one of the few platforms in the world that provides developers with access to over a billion users across a variety of devices,” said Qi Lu, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Applications and Services Group. “The opportunity to build on the Office platform has never been greater. With new extensions and new connections to the Microsoft Graph – an intelligent fabric that applies machine learning to map the connections between people, content and interactions across Office 365 – developers are empowered to build intelligent apps that can transform the landscape of work.”
In addition, Microsoft debuted several Azure services to help developers take advantage of emerging trends such as the IoT and microservices. Now generally available, Azure Service Fabric is a microservices application platform that enables developers to design, manage and easily update apps and services at cloud scale. Service Fabric for Windows Server, currently available in preview, will allow developers to deploy on-premises and other clouds. Meanwhile, the preview of Azure Functions showed how developers could extends Azure’s platform services to server-less computing for event-driven solutions.
Plus, developers are now able to purchase new Azure IoT Starter Kits to quickly build IoT prototypes that leverage all Azure’s IoT offerings, while the new Azure IoT Gateway SDK enables enterprises to connect legacy devices and sensors to the internet without replacing their existing infrastructure. The Azure IoT Hub also helps them to maintain and manage IoT devices at cloud scale.
“Microsoft is the only cloud vendor that supports the diverse needs of every organisation and developer – from core infrastructure services to platform services and tools to software-as-a-service – for any language, across any platform,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group. “With 30 regions worldwide – more than every major cloud provider combined – Azure’s massive scale means developers and businesses alike can focus on creating the next generation of amazing applications, not their underlying cloud infrastructure. This makes our cloud the de facto choice for enterprises of today and tomorrow.”
Delegates were also able to see a preview of Microsoft Power BI Embedded, which allows developers to embed fully interactive reports and visualisations in any application on any device. The applications can now easily communicate with the fully managed Azure DocumentDB NoSQL service, using existing Apache License MongoDB APIs and drivers.
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