The second of a two-and-a-half day developer conference got underway with a second Keynote address. While Day 1 did give us some consumer related updates, the second day was more focussed on coding for developers.
The opening keynote was a lot less consumer-relatable than last year’s event, with fully half of the address geared to the enterprise and back-end developer tools that make most of the technology we use today. We got an update on Microsoft Office and Windows 10 Carrier billing for all Windows devices was one of the significant announcements that will touch the end-user directly. The other big piece for developers was Microsoft’s announcement of tools that allow the reuse of Android or iOS coded apps and bridge them to Windows.
From a developer standpoint, Microsoft only glossed over the inside work involved to make some of this stuff work during the first day’s main event. However day two was heavily focussed on the developers and code.
The Microsoft team behind the numerous programs at work shared a bit about the commercial space for applications since a significant portion of the developers on-site work in commercial. While reviewing batches of code, and tools that let these developers run their work behind their respective enterprise firewalls.
While singling out Autodesk and three-dimensional printing, Microsoft posited that we are fast approaching the point where 3D printing departs the "modelling" scheme it is now, and will become an applicable manufacturing space. To that point, Autodesk’s Spark 3D printer has integration with Windows 10.
More time was spent today discussing Windows 10, and taking note of lessons learned from Windows 8. In fact, one of the primary developer complaints about Windows 8 was the inability to "window" the modern apps, they had to take up the whole screen, or nothing. The issue became an inside joke in Redmond, where the teams would refer to the OS as "Window 8." Microsoft also updated other framework issues that were the subject of grumblings among the developer community.
Universal apps were discussed at length, and one area that was aptly demonstrated was an app called XXX which was viewed through a traditional machine, Xbox, and HoloLens. What was remarkable about it was the fact that in all three platforms, it was the exact same app. It was able to provide a two-dimensional rendering of the drawing on the monitor, as well as a full 360-degree, three-dimensional view through HoloLens.
When viewing some of the code involved that allowed the app to function so seamlessly, it was essentially three lines of code that enabled the app to render the imagery, whether it was viewed on a monitor, or through constantly moving stereoscopic lenses on HoloLens.
Universal apps for Windows are not just one app across the platforms, it is one app for the developer to submit, and one app for certification. It is a single stop, single process for the developer, and that is a big deal.
Project Spartan / Microsoft Edge
Microsoft announced EdgeHTML as it discussed the improvements that can be expected with the new browser, Microsoft Edge. According to Microsoft, Edge undoes everything that "Internet Explorer had become," and that there were over 4,200 interoperability improvements which maximize performance.
Citing several different benchmarks, Microsoft Edge performs at least twice as good as IE, and tops other 64-bit browsers in scoring. Developers will also have tools to turn sites into apps, including the ability to integrate Cortana.
David Treadwell, Corporate Vice President of the Operating System Group summed up what Microsoft, and indeed Build is about, “We live and breathe developers. Your code is the soul of your app.”