MICROSOFT BUILD BOOK OF NEWS

May 25-27, 2021

Introduction

A Foreword by Frank X. Shaw

This is now our second all-digital Microsoft Build—we’ve learned a lot over the past year and we hope you’ll enjoy the new experience we’ve created from the ground up to delight our virtual audience. Of course, it would be great to see you in person, enjoy spring in Seattle and catch up, but I hope we can do all these things soon! From May 25 to 27, we’ll welcome developers from around the world to come together to hear about our latest innovations, learn new skills and connect as a community.

Developers have been critical to helping businesses remain resilient and agile over the past year. As we look across our customers and partners, we’re seeing the business impact of developers increasing as the world begins to rebuild and industries continue to innovate. Developers are no longer simply building apps; they’re building digital products that drive us forward and solve the world’s most challenging problems. Microsoft Build is for every developer—from seasoned software developers to low-code citizen developers, from data scientists to security engineers, from startups to students and more.

As you’ve come to expect, this Book of News is your resource for all the announcements we’re making at Microsoft Build. Here you will find details about enhancements and integrations spanning the entire Microsoft developer platform across Visual Studio, GitHub, Microsoft Azure, Power Platform, Windows and Microsoft 365. We want to make it easier than ever for developers to go from idea, to code, to cloud—and we want to empower all developers to do more.

We hope you enjoy this Microsoft Build edition of our Book of News. As always, send us your feedback and let us know how we can make the experience even better next time.

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What is the Book of News?

The Microsoft Build Book of News is your guide to key news items that we are announcing at Microsoft Build. The interactive Table of Contents gives you the option to select the items you are interested in, and the translation capabilities make the Book of News more accessible globally. (Just click the Translate button above the Table of Contents to enable translations.)

We also pulled together a folder of imagery related to a few of the news items. Please take a look at the imagery here.

We hope the Book of News provides all the information, executive insight and context you need. If you have any questions or feedback regarding content in the Book of News, please email [email protected].

1. Azure 1.1. Azure AI

1.1.1. Updates to Azure AI services help accelerate implementation of common business scenarios

Azure AI is introducing new enhancements to empower developers to significantly reduce time to value in modernizing common business processes.

  • With Azure Bot Service, developers can create sophisticated bots using a new integrated development experience. Azure Bot Service now offers a visual authoring canvas with extensible open-source tools, enabling developers to add speech and telephony capabilities and to test, debug and publish bots to multiple channels with minimal code changes.
  • Azure Metrics Advisor is now generally available. The service ingests time-series data, using machine learning to automatically find anomalies from sensors, products and business metrics, and provide diagnostics insights. Using Metrics Advisor, customers can monitor the performance of their organizations’ growth engines, from sales to manufacturing operations.
  • Azure Video Analyzer, in preview, brings Live Video Analytics and Video Indexer into a single service. This combination of existing services helps developers quickly build AI-powered video analytics from both stored and streaming videos. This can be used for workplace safety, in-store experiences, digital asset management, content monetization and more.

Along with Azure Cognitive Search, Azure Form Recognizer and Azure Immersive Reader, these services are part of a new category in Azure AI called Azure Applied AI Services. These services build on the cognitive APIs from Azure Cognitive Services and Azure Machine Learning, accelerating development of AI solutions by providing additional task-specific AI and built-in business logic.

Learn more about this update.

1.1.2. Azure Cognitive Services adds new capabilities for document translation and text analytics

Azure Cognitive Services, a family of AI services to deploy high-quality models as APIs, has multiple updates, including:

  • Document Translation, a feature of Translator in Azure Cognitive Services announced in preview in February, is now generally available. Document Translation enables developers to quickly translate documents while preserving the structure and format of the original document. This feature helps enterprises and translation agencies that require the translation of complex documents into one or more languages.
  • Text Analytics for health is now generally available with Text Analytics in Azure Cognitive Services. It enables developers to process and extract insights from unstructured medical data. Unstructured text includes doctors’ notes, medical journals, electronic health records, clinical trial protocols and more. Another new feature of Text Analytics is Question Answering. Now in preview, Question Answering helps users find answers from a passage of text without saving or managing any data in Azure.

Learn more about Document Translation and Text Analytics for health.

1.1.3. New machine learning updates accelerate deployment of AI models

Two new machine learning capabilities help customers accelerate deployment of AI models.

  • Azure Machine Learning managed endpoints, now in preview, is a new capability within Azure Machine Learning that helps developers and data scientists build and deploy machine learning models rapidly. Azure Machine Learning managed endpoints help customers deploy and operationalize their machine learning models more easily by automating the creation and management of the underlying compute infrastructure, including updates and security. Using this capability, customers also get out-of-the-box infrastructure monitoring and log analytics capabilities. Azure Machine Learning managed endpoints are already being used at scale to serve the OpenAI GPT-3 model, one of the world’s largest natural language models, in Microsoft Power Apps. Microsoft Power Fx is a formula-based language used in Power Apps. Recalling complex formulas is challenging, but now customers can simply use natural language, which is then automatically converted to Power Fx code. Power Apps users can now build apps more quickly and easily using Power Fx code—enabled by Azure Machine Learning managed endpoints.
  • Microsoft is introducing PyTorch Enterprise on Microsoft Azure, which gives Microsoft Premier and Unified Support for Enterprise customers additional benefits, such as prioritized requests, hands-on support and solutions for hotfixes, bugs and security patches. PyTorch is an open-source, deep-learning framework that provides a seamless path from research to production. Microsoft is a contributor to the PyTorch ecosystem, with innovations such as PyTorch Profiler. Microsoft is collaborating with PyTorch to create a new initiative, the PyTorch Enterprise Support Program, that provides PyTorch users with a more reliable production experience.

Microsoft customers with Microsoft Premier and Unified support using PyTorch are automatically eligible for PyTorch Enterprise and can request hotfixes. These requests will be prioritized, quickly addressed and deployed in the long-term support version of PyTorch, also available in Azure Machine Learning.

Learn more about updates to Azure Machine Learning and PyTorch Enterprise on Microsoft Azure.

1.2. Azure Cloud Native and Application Platform

1.2.1. Azure app services can now run on Kubernetes clusters anywhere with Azure Arc

Azure app services like App Service, Functions, Logic Apps, API Management and Event Grid can now run on Kubernetes clusters anywhere across on-premises, multicloud and edge environments with Azure Arc. With this capability now in preview, customers don’t have to choose between the productivity of platform as a service (PaaS) and the control of Kubernetes because the same app services can run with either model.

The app services are now Azure Arc-enabled, which means customers can deploy Web Apps, Functions, API gateways, Logic Apps and Event Grid services on pre-provisioned Kubernetes clusters. This takes advantage of features including deployment slots for A/B testing, storage queue triggers and out-of-box connectors from the app services, regardless of run location. With these portable turnkey services, customers can save time building apps, then manage them consistently across hybrid and multicloud environments using Azure Arc.

Learn more about this update. 

1.2.2. Azure API Management offers native support for WebSocket APIs

Native support for WebSocket APIs in Azure API Management is now in preview. Azure API Management is a hybrid, multicloud management platform for APIs across all environments. WebSocket APIs are used by customers to build real-time web apps, such as stock market reports and live sports scores. Native support for WebSocket APIs allows customers to manage, protect, observe and expose their WebSocket APIs in Azure API Management, providing a more consolidated view and consistent governance of all APIs across environments, whether in the cloud or on-premises.

Learn more about this update.

1.2.3. Azure Communication Services adds UI layer for calling and chat, audio and video recording, plus other calling capabilities

Azure Communication Services, the first fully managed communication platform offering from a major cloud provider, has new intelligent features and functionality to complete customers’ end-to-end communication experiences.

  • A UI Library for Azure Communication Services is now available in preview. Developers can simplify the cross-channel user experiences within their apps, choosing from a variety of Fluent UI component options such as prebuilt composites or specific UI components to build a custom communication experience. The UI Library extends as a layer on top of Azure Communication Services for calling and chat, delivering Microsoft Teams-like composable and turnkey composite components. Components are fully open source and identity agnostic with interoperability into Teams.
  • Call recording for Azure Communication Services is coming next month in preview. As a built-in platform feature, call recording for Azure Communication Services helps simplify and improve the recording process by providing secure, server-side runtime control APIs that allow for mixed audio and video output with built-in temporary storage for up to 48 hours. Recorded media output is in MP4 audio and video format, just like in Teams, with more formats, like audio-only MP3, planned.
  • Direct routing for Azure Communication Services is coming next month in preview. Developers can use or extend their existing telephony infrastructure to the calling capabilities they build with Azure Communication Services. Direct routing is a virtual connection between a developer app and the legacy on-premises telephony or carrier used for calls on the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Developers can enable calling through PSTN almost anywhere and allow for connections into third-party equipment through a certified session border controller (SBC).
  • Traversal Using Relays around NAT (TURN) protocol support is available in preview. TURN is now available for voice or video communications built with Azure Communication Services. These services allow real-time communication between web or mobile apps built with open-source WebRTC or when endpoints are behind NAT or firewalls that prevent a successful connection.
  • Azure Communication Services Calling SDK for Windows Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is available in preview. Developers can now add voice and video calling capabilities to their native apps that run on Windows, enabling rich communication experiences for the desktop PC, Xbox, mixed-reality headsets, HoloLens, IoT devices and more.

Learn more about this update, or download visual assets.

1.2.4. Azure Logic Apps updated with flexible hosting options to provide better consistency and integration with developer

Azure Logic Apps is now updated with new hosting options, improved performance and developer workflows. Logic Apps has grown to become the cornerstone of Azure Integration Services, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offering for mission-critical enterprise integration. This feature for Logic Apps enables better consistency and integration with developer tools such as Visual Studio Code, enhancing developer productivity. Microsoft also announced a new standard pricing tier and added 4,000 additional actions to the consumption tier, which allows users to pay by the use.

Learn more about this update. 

1.2.5. New Azure Marketplace offers give customers more choice and flexibility to run Java EE workloads in the cloud

Two new Azure Marketplace offers for Java Enterprise Edition (EE) and Jakarta EE workloads are now generally available. These offers enable customers to move their Java apps to the Azure infrastructure with greater reliability and automation.

  • Azure Marketplace offers for Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) on Azure Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) virtual machines (VMs) and Virtual Machine Scale Sets are now available. These offers make it easier for customers to move their enterprise Java apps running on JBoss EAP to the cloud, with QuickStart guides and joint support from Microsoft and Red Hat. Customers can easily add Azure resources (such as PostgreSQL or SQL Server) to expand their Java cloud deployment. Virtual Machine Scale Sets allows for fast and reliable horizontal scaling.
  • Azure Marketplace offers for WebSphere Application Server (Traditional) on Azure Virtual Machines are now available. The offers make it easier for customers to move enterprise Java apps running on WebSphere to the cloud, with automated solution templates and joint support from Microsoft and IBM. These offers are a part of a broader partnership with IBM that also encompasses running WebSphere Liberty and Open Liberty on the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Red Hat OpenShift (ARO).

Learn more about these updates for JBoss EAP and WebSphere

1.2.6. The Microsoft Build of OpenJDK gives a new, no-cost option to build Java apps anywhere

The Microsoft Build of OpenJDK is generally available for customers to build their Java apps. Microsoft will recommend optimizations to customers running Java-based workloads using the Microsoft Build of OpenJDK at scale across services like LinkedIn, Minecraft, Yammer and other internal systems.

The Microsoft Build of OpenJDK is a long-term support (LTS) distribution of OpenJDK, the free and open-source reference implementation of the Java SE Platform. The Microsoft Build of OpenJDK is free for anyone to deploy anywhere and is fully supported by Microsoft for customers with qualifying Azure support plans. It includes binaries for Java 11 based on OpenJDK 11.0.11 on x64 server and desktop environments on macOS, Linux and Windows.

Learn more about this update. 

1.2.7. PowerShell support in Durable Functions helps manage complex Azure resource deployments

Durable Functions, an extension to Azure Functions that lets users write serverless workflows, now supports PowerShell. Durable Functions, now generally available, makes it possible to manage complex Azure resource deployments involving sequential and parallel steps. Long-running workflows are supported, and Durable Functions provides built-in HTTP endpoints for monitoring their progress.

Learn more about this update. 

1.3. Azure Data

1.3.1. New Azure analytics and governance updates to improve integration and runtime capabilities

Multiple updates to the Azure analytics tools are now available. These updates bring together data integration, enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics to provide real-time data insights. These analytics and governance capabilities support faster, more reliable insights in an increasingly complex market.

  • Azure Synapse Link for Dataverse is now in preview. This new capability removes barriers between business apps data and analytical systems. In just a few clicks, developers working in Microsoft Power Apps or Dynamics 365 can bring their entire Dataverse environment to Azure Synapse to power new insights, perform predictive analytics and enrich existing data with other business datasets and explore their data lake or other large repository of data.
  • Azure Synapse support for Spark 3.0.1 is now in preview. In March, Azure Synapse Analytics made significant investments in the overall performance of Apache Spark workloads. Customers using Azure Synapse data engineering and big data workloads can now use the Spark 3.0.1 runtime with additional performance enhancement optimizations directly from their Synapse workspace. This improves the overall performance of critical workloads up to two times faster.
  • Synapse Apache Spark Hardware Acceleration is now in preview. Azure Synapse Analytics now supports using field-programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware and graphics processing unit (GPU) processors, designed to better handle AI, to accelerate Apache Spark for data processing and machine learning. This development will help enterprise data engineers using large datasets for things like developing new product lines, transforming supply-chain models or responding to security threats, as well as data scientists using larger and more complex datasets for AI needs.
  • Azure Purview, a data governance service, now supports Azure Database for mySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL as a source for metadata, classification and lineage extraction. Now in preview, this capability extends the reach of the Purview Data Map to Azure open-source databases. Customers of Azure Database for mySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL can automatically scan and classify these sources and visualize lineage when this data gets transformed. This data and its lineage can then be discovered by data consumers in the Purview Data Catalog.

Learn more about Azure Synapse Link for Dataverse and updates to Azure Purview.

1.3.2. Updates for Azure Cosmos DB provide enhanced security, control and more

Updates for Azure Cosmos DB are now available to help developers build and modernize high-performance apps at any scale. Additional features give customers enhanced security, cost-effectiveness, control and flexibility.

  • With the introduction of the partial document update for Azure Cosmos DB, developers can modify specific fields or properties within a document without requiring a full document read and replace. This gives developers more flexibility to update only certain portions. Partial document update is available for Core (SQL) API and via .NET SDK, Java SDK and stored procedures. Developers can sign up for the partial document update preview.
  • Azure Cosmos DB serverless is now generally available for all APIs (Core, MongoDB, Cassandra, Gremlin and Table). Developers can now optimize costs and more easily run apps with spiky traffic patterns on Azure Cosmos DB. Serverless is a cost-effective pricing model that charges only for the resources consumed by database operations. It is ideally suited for apps with moderate performance requirements and frequent periods with little to no traffic.
  • Azure Cosmos DB Linux emulator is now in preview. With the introduction of the Azure Cosmos DB Linux emulator, Linux developers can now build, test and learn on Azure Cosmos DB, free and locally on their Linux and macOS machines. The Linux emulator is a free local download of Azure Cosmos DB and does not require an Azure subscription.
  • Azure Cosmos DB expanded free tier is now generally available. Developers now have more flexibility to build, test and learn in the cloud with the expansion of free tier, which provides 1,000 request units (RU/s) provisioned throughput and free 25GB storage monthly for the lifetime of one Azure Cosmos DB account per Azure subscription.
  • Azure Cosmos DB integrated cache is now in preview. Customers can optimize costs for read-heavy workloads by setting up an integrated cache in their Azure Cosmos DB account. The cache is billed hourly for fixed, dedicated compute resources, and it reduces the number of requests hitting the operational database, resulting in lower costs.
  • Always Encrypted for Azure Cosmos DB is now in preview. Customers can encrypt sensitive data inside their client app before it gets stored in their database with Always Encrypted for Azure Cosmos DB. This ensures that confidential parts of datasets are only available to appropriate audiences. It also enables customers who must comply with regulatory requirements to use Azure Cosmos DB to securely store their data in the cloud.
  • Azure Cosmos DB role-based access control (RBAC) is now generally available. Customers have enhanced control over data security in Azure Cosmos DB RBAC with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) integration now available for the Core (SQL) API. Account administrators can set up clearly defined rules about what each identity is able to do within the database, and then apply the roles to Azure AD profiles to determine access level. For example, an IoT device could enter data, but it would not have the ability to read, change or update data.

Learn more about Azure Cosmos DB integrated cache and Azure Cosmos DB serverless.

1.3.3. Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL add low-cost and free options

Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL, fully managed and scalable open-source databases, announced new low-cost and free options for getting started:

  • A free 12-month offer for developers to get started with Azure Databases for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server is coming soon. Customers who sign up for a free Azure account will get up to 750 hours with Azure Database for PostgreSQL and MySQL Flexible Server free for the first 12 months. This offer provides a cost-effective way for developers to get started with Azure’s fully managed open-source databases, providing single and zone redundant high availability with up to 99.99% service level agreement (SLA) and advanced security features.
  • Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Hyperscale (Citus) now has a basic tier, available in preview, that aims to offer a simple way to create a small server group to scale later. Although server groups in the standard tier have a coordinator node and at least two worker nodes or servers, the basic tier runs everything in a single database node. Basic tier is a cost-effective option for development and testing to start with Hyperscale (Citus), making it easy to add more worker nodes to a server group to support growing needs. This offer is available in the eastern United States, with more regions coming soon.

Learn more about this update.

1.3.4. Azure SQL Database adds ledger capability

Azure SQL Database, an intelligent database service built for the cloud, now has ledger capability in preview. The new ledger feature provides cryptographic verification for enterprise customers who keep sensitive records, including those in the healthcare or financial industries.

Learn more about this update.

1.4. Azure Developer Tools and DevOps

1.4.1. .NET 6 Preview 4 offers new ways to build native, cross-platform apps, improved performance, minimal web APIs and more

.NET 6 Preview 4 is now available. .NET is an open-source developer platform created by Microsoft for building different types of apps. The new offerings include:

  • .NET Multi-platform App UI (.NET MAUI), for developers building native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android with a single codebase and development experience, is now supported in Visual Studio.
  • ASP.NET Blazor hybrid apps for developers building cross-platform desktop and web UIs that take advantage of native device capabilities.
  • Cloud native investments such as smaller container images that use less memory and minimal web APIs for building smaller, faster microservices.
  • More device targets and flexible deployment including Apple Silicon (“M1”) support and Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) on ARM64.
  • Performance improvements continue up and down the stack to improve runtime as well as build time, so users can develop and debug apps iteratively and quickly.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.2. Azure Security Center now includes container scanning results, powered by GitHub Actions, to help customers scale DevSecOps

Azure Security Center (ASC) can now show container scan results found by a GitHub Action so ASC customers can easily incorporate security and compliance into early stages of the software development lifecycle. This feature offers end-to-end traceability, improving remediation time and strengthening an organization’s cloud security.

Learn more about this update. 

1.4.3. Introducing Developer Velocity Lab to improve developers’ work and well-being

Developer Velocity Lab (DVL) is a new research initiative that includes contributions across Microsoft, its research labs and GitHub. DVL’s mission is to discover, improve and amplify developer work and well-being. Much of DVL’s work will be open source. DVL will collaborate, sponsor and encourage contributions from the best in the world.

DVL works through socio-technical investigations in productivity, community and well-being. Developer productivity is about more than activity levels or the efficiency of software engineering systems, and it cannot be measured by a single metric. This is addressed in DVL’s first publication, The SPACE of Developer Productivity: There’s more to it than you think.

Learn more about this update. 

1.4.4. Visual Studio 2019 16.10 has productivity enhancements, improved Azure tooling and more

Visual Studio 2019 16.10, now generally available, comes with new productivity enhancements for .NET developers. These include new IntelliSense features, which automate common workflow tasks, and new tools to improve quality of testing. There are now 20 conformance features for C++, including support for C Make preset files and improved security for remote connections. Users will also see improved Git tooling, to automate and be productive with Git workflows, and enhanced Docker and Azure tooling for seamless Azure development.

Learn more about this update. 

1.5. Azure Hybrid and Multicloud

1.5.1. Azure Arc updates enable customers to use Azure app services anywhere

Azure Arc, which extends Azure management and services to any infrastructure, has new capabilities, including:

  • Azure app services are now Azure Arc-enabled, joining previously announced Arc-enabled services such as Arc-enabled data services and Arc-enabled machine learning. Azure native apps services like Functions, App services, Logic Apps and Event Grid can now be used whether customers are running on Azure, on-premises services or on other cloud providers through Azure Arc. For more information, see Azure app services can now run on Kubernetes clusters anywhere with Azure Arc.
  • Azure Arc-enabled Open Service Mesh (OSM) is now in preview. The OSM add-on simplifies integration between OSM and Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes clusters, so customers can more easily build extensible distributed apps across datacenter, edge and multicloud environments. The integration provides additional tools to manage and secure highly dynamic microservice environments on Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes clusters. Customers can onboard OSM to a single cluster or apply policy to onboard multiple clusters at scale.

Learn more about this update.

1.5.2. Azure Stack HCI updates enable customers to manage and monitor hybrid cloud workloads

Microsoft is announcing new capabilities for Azure Stack HCI, a cloud-connected, hyperconverged infrastructure operating system delivered as an Azure service. New capabilities include:

  • Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI is now generally available. AKS on Azure Stack HCI is a Kubernetes-based platform that developers and administrators can use to build, deploy and manage containerized apps in their datacenters and edge locations. AKS on Azure Stack HCI makes the deployment of Kubernetes clusters on-premises easy through the Windows Admin Center user interface. It is Azure Arc-enabled out-of-the-box with a fully consistent Azure experience, has built-in security and includes familiar tools for native .NET support.
  • New features for Azure Stack HCI include multicluster monitoring for Azure Stack HCI in the Azure portal and preview channel, allowing customers to monitor the health of the cluster even if they are not on the physical site. Users can then monitor their whole fleet of clusters from one place with the preview channel and can find out about new features coming from their Azure Stack HCI subscription.

Learn more about this update.

1.6. Azure Infra

1.6.1. Azure Bicep v0.4, available June 2021, with new features to improve workflow and validate code

Azure Bicep, now available, is an open-source language for declaratively deploying Azure resources as code that simplifies the authoring experience. It provides concise syntax, better support for code reuse and improved type safety. Azure Bicep v0.4 features make it possible to easily maintain code bases with the new bicep linter, simplify code structures and validate code to reduce errors.

Learn more about this update.

1.6.2. New Azure Monitor capabilities to ease onboarding for developers and increase IT efficiencies

Azure Monitor helps developers collect, analyze and act on telemetry data and identify problems in seconds. It now has the following capabilities:

  • Easy onboarding of Application Insights for Java apps on Azure App Services, now in preview. Customers writing Java apps on both Linux and Windows App Services can now automatically onboard to Application Insights without needing to make any code changes. This provides customers with easy access to app performance monitoring for app diagnostics and optimizations.
  • Query packs in log analytics is in preview. Customers can create and share query packs of log analytics queries within their organizations for easier collaboration between teams.​

Learn more about these updates. 

1.6.3. Elastic is now integrated into Azure portal

Elastic is working with Microsoft to roll out a native Azure experience. Now in preview, the new integration allows users to find, deploy and manage Elastic from within the Azure portal. With the integration, users can add powerful search and visualization capabilities to find information, monitor apps and workloads and protect it all in their Azure environment.

Learn more about these updates.

1.7. Azure IoT

1.7.1. Azure IoT Edge updates allow secure data connection and use of both Windows and Linux

Azure IoT is a collection of services and capabilities that meets customers where they are, from the edge to the cloud. Azure IoT includes security and operating systems for devices and equipment, along with data and analytics that help businesses build, deploy and manage Internet of Things (IoT) apps. The following updates are now available:

  • Azure IoT Edge now has nesting capabilities in general availability. This IoT Edge solution allows industrial customers to secure their most critical assets as required by the ANSI/ISA-95 standard for network isolation. By enabling hierarchies of IoT Edge devices through the automation pyramid, manufacturers can collect data from their systems, aggregate it and forward it to the cloud without compromising their systems.
  • Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows, also known as EFLOW, is now generally available, allowing customers to use both Windows and Linux instead of choosing just one. Customers retain their existing Windows IoT assets, plus benefit from the power of Windows IoT for apps that require an interactive UX and high-performance hardware interaction. Windows IoT and Linux customers use each one for different purposes.

Learn more about these updates.

2. Developer Community 2.1. Green Software Foundation

2.1.1. Introducing the Green Software Foundation

Microsoft, Accenture, GitHub and ThoughtWorks just launched the Green Software Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with the Linux Foundation. Green software engineering is a new field focused on building software apps that emit less carbon. The Foundation aims to help the tech industry meet its sustainability responsibilities and reduce software emissions by 45% by 2030, in line with the global targets in the Paris Climate Agreement. Membership is open to any company interested in making software more sustainable.

Learn more about this update on the Official Microsoft Blog or on the Green Software Foundation website

3. Identity and Cloud Security 3.1. Azure Active Directory

3.1.1. Continuous Access Evaluation in Microsoft Graph now in preview

Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE), an authentication feature in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), is now in Microsoft Graph in preview. Developers can update and test apps that use Microsoft Graph APIs to make their apps more secure. Using Microsoft Graph APIs with CAE support, apps are more resilient due to the optimizations for token lifetime and token refresh.

Instead of waiting for the access token expiration, commonly set at 60 minutes, CAE in Azure AD reevaluates active user sessions in real time and can revoke access to protected resources in response to events such as device loss, user password changes or disabling of the user’s account. CAE can also be used to stop a user from accessing secured resources when they change location.

Learn more about this update.

3.1.2. Azure Active Directory access reviews provide more control over access to privileged information

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) access reviews enable periodic reviews of service principals and apps assigned to directory roles, as well as roles in Azure subscriptions. This capability helps customers ensure that their services and apps, just like their employees, are abiding by established least-privilege policies, helping reduce the damage caused by an attack.

In Azure AD, a service principal is typically created for an app or code that needs to access or modify resources that can only be facilitated through an identity with the necessary permissions. As customers move more apps to the cloud and procure third-party software as a service (SaaS) apps, these service principals are assigned privileged roles, which often go ungoverned. Now, with Azure AD access reviews and Privileged Identity Management (PIM), you can periodically review the assignments of privileged roles to service principals in your tenant.

Learn more about access reviews of Azure resource roles and Azure AD roles.

3.2. Azure Confidential Ledger

3.2.1. Azure Confidential Ledger provides a tamper-proof register for storing sensitive data

Azure Confidential Ledger (ACL), a new managed Azure service, is a tamper-proof register for storing sensitive data for recordkeeping and auditing. Now in preview, ACL may be the first ledger to market that not only is tamper-proof and tamper-evident, but offers confidentiality through a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), the secure area of a main processor. It is the only ledger technology that uses confidential computing to protect data in use. Data in use or memory can contain sensitive data including digital certificates, encryption keys, intellectual property and personally identifiable information.

ACL also can be used in multiparty scenarios in which a number of people need access to data whose privacy must be protected. For example, ACL can be used in collaborative workspaces with low trust or in auditing apps where there may be a risk that an adversary would want to tamper with the data. ACL offers write once, read many (WORM) guarantees, making data nonerasable and nonmodifiable. It offers verifiably authentic logs through evidence, which can be universally validated. ACL makes it easy to verify that no tampering has occurred on the ledger and data.

Learn more about this update.

3.3. Visual Studio

3.3.1. MS Identity App Sync now in preview simplifies registering ASP.NET Core apps

MS Identity App Sync, a new command line tool in Visual Studio 2019.10, is now in preview. It simplifies the developer experience for registering and configuring ASP.NET Core apps. Using MS Identity App Sync, developers can register an app and have code changes made locally with only a few commands. The tool can also be used to update code from an existing Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) or Azure AD Business to Consumer (B2C) app.

Learn more about this update.

4. Microsoft 365 4.1. Microsoft Graph

4.1.1. Microsoft Graph data connect is now offered as an Azure-metered service

Microsoft Graph data connect is now offered on Microsoft Azure as a metered service. Microsoft Graph data connect is a more secure, high-throughput connector designed to copy select Microsoft 365 productivity datasets into the Azure tenant. It’s a tool for developers and data scientists creating organizational analytics or training AI and machine learning models. Although most Microsoft 365 products are offered on a per-user/per-month basis, the company is offering Microsoft Graph data connect as a metered service, so developers pay for only the data they consume.

Learn more about this update.

4.1.2. Microsoft Search Federation generally available later this year

Microsoft Search Federation, which connects information from across platforms, will be generally available later this year. It creates a unified search experience across Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search and Dynamics 365. Microsoft 365 customers use several search options, from Microsoft Search to Azure Cognitive Search. Microsoft Search Federation connects these systems, making finding information much simpler.

Learn more about these updates.

4.1.3. New capabilities for Microsoft Graph connectors coming soon

With Microsoft Graph connectors, organizations can index third-party data so it appears in internal search results, allowing information from sources outside Microsoft 365 to be available through Microsoft Search results. This expands the types of searchable content sources across Microsoft apps and services.

Updates include:

  • Microsoft Graph connectors will soon allow companies to add information to employee profiles from more sources, giving colleagues a more detailed view of the person’s work and experience.
  • New Jira and Confluence connectors by Microsoft will be available later this year. Microsoft Graph connectors were announced in 2019 and are currently available to Microsoft Search in SharePoint, Office.com and Bing. In addition to these new connectors, Microsoft Graph connector data will soon be available in Microsoft Teams and Windows. As information becomes more distributed, people often don’t know where to look to accomplish a task or complete a project. With connector information, users can search for information from more than 130 systems from Microsoft and partners.
  • eDiscovery support for Microsoft Graph connectors developer preview will be available this summer. Developers can use the same eDiscovery tools in Microsoft 365 to search for content in third-party systems connected to Microsoft Search.

Learn more about these updates.

4.1.4. Organization Explorer for Microsoft Outlook coming soon

Organization Explorer, a new embedded app, is coming this summer to Microsoft Outlook. As businesses become more distributed, finding people with similar skills or teams to collaborate with can be challenging. Organization Explorer helps people make connections across their organization. For example, employees can use Organization Explorer to discover team relationships across their company. It also allows people to visually search across their company to explore colleagues and teams, and identify skills to help them complete their work.

Learn more about these updates, or download visual assets

4.2. Microsoft Teams

4.2.1. Enhanced Microsoft Teams extensibility for meetings helps developers build more interactive and productive solutions

Microsoft Teams apps for meetings, launched last year, gives developers the tools to build collaborative apps that help connect people to solve common goals and design experiences across the full lifecycle of a meeting. Now, developers can build even more unique scenarios with new features that include:

  • Shared stage integration, in preview, provides developers with new access to the main stage in a Teams meeting through a simple configuration in their app manifest. This provides a new surface to enable real-time, multiuser collaboration experiences for their meetings apps, such as whiteboarding, design, project boards and more.
  • New meeting event APIs, in preview, enable the automation of meeting-related workflows through events, such as meeting start and end, with many more planned for later this year.
  • Together mode extensibility, coming soon, empowers developers to create custom scenes for Teams meetings and share them with users. This provides an easy design experience, within the Developer portal, so developers can make meetings more engaging.
  • Media APIs and resource-specific consent, coming soon, provide developers with real-time access to audio and video streams for transcription, translation, note-taking, insights gathering and more.

Learn more about these updates, or download visual assets

4.2.2. New features for Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code in preview

New features for Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code are now in preview. These features make the Teams app development experience easier by reducing the amount of code needed, providing out-of-the-box integrations with Microsoft Azure, tapping into data from the Microsoft Graph and more. Some of the most notable features include Azure Functions integration, single-line Microsoft Graph client and streamlined hosting to an integrated development environment (IDE).

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4.2.3. New Developer portal for Microsoft Teams now available

With the Developer portal for Microsoft Teams (formerly App Studio), developers receive a dedicated app management console available via the web or within Teams to register and configure apps within a single, central location.

Enhanced features for the Developer portal include:

  • Access from any web browser and device for easy navigation
  • Ability to manage environment configurations, eliminating the need to manage multiple app manifests in different environments
  • Ability to collaborate with peers by giving read/write access to others to collaborate and update apps
  • Ability for independent service vendors (ISVs) to link software as a service (SaaS) offers to their apps for new in-Teams purchase experiences.

Learn more about this update, or download visual assets

4.2.4. Unified development experience for message extensions in Microsoft Teams and Outlook on the web

Message extensions are now supported in Microsoft Outlook on the web, providing a unified development experience of building message extensions that work with both Microsoft Teams and Outlook on the web. When users compose a message, they will be able to select a new menu of search-based message extensions to choose from. For example, a user may be able to compose an email and then select a message extension that surfaces tasks from their project management Teams app to send to teammates.

Learn more about this update.

4.2.5. Universal actions for Adaptive Cards in Microsoft Teams and Outlook now available

Developers can now build one Adaptive Card and deploy it across Microsoft Teams and Outlook, using the new universal Action.Execute action model. Adaptive Cards allow developers to easily share user interface data so experiences are consistent across multiple apps and services. Before, users needed to build two separate Adaptive Cards integrations for Outlook and Teams. With universal actions, one bot-based integration works on both.

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4.2.6. New subscription purchase experiences available within Microsoft Teams app store and Admin Center for third-party apps

Users and IT admins can soon purchase third-party app license subscriptions directly from the Microsoft Teams app store and Teams Admin Center. Invoice billing and credit cards will be accepted across these storefronts. In preview this summer, these new purchase experiences will make the license procurement process easier for users and provide Microsoft partners with additional monetization opportunities for their solutions.

Learn more about this update.

4.2.7. Private preview of Fluid components in Teams chat

Fluid components in Microsoft Teams chat is now in private preview and will expand to more customers in the coming months. Fluid components are powered by the web, can be edited in real-time or asynchronously and work across surfaces, such as Teams and Office apps. Fluid components in Teams chat allow users to send a message with a table, action items or a list that can be co-authored and edited by everyone in line, minimizing the need for long chat threads and meetings. Fluid components can be copied and pasted across Teams chats, helping users become more efficient.

Learn more about this update.

5. Power Platform 5.1. Power Platform

5.1.1. New automation insights in Power Automate with Process Advisor

Process Advisor, a process mining capability in Microsoft Power Automate that helps identify which activities take the most time and are consistently repeated across an organization, is now generally available.

Process Advisor recommends what to automate, including insights into organizational bottlenecks. Process Advisor adds additional insights into automation and, together with robotic process automation (RPA) in Power Automate, enables users without extensive coding ability to create ways to automate mundane and repetitive tasks, freeing them up for higher value work.

Process Advisor is available in the per flow with attended RPA and per-user plans and is building on the robust automation available in Power Automate.

Learn more about this update.

5.1.2. New professional development tools for Power Apps help developers deliver low-code solutions

New professional development tools help developers learn about and build low-code solutions for Microsoft Power Apps and include Power Platform integration into the Microsoft 365 Developer plan, a new stand-alone Power Apps Developer plan and a new Power Platform Fusion Development learning path.

These enable professional developers to try out, build and test experiences on Power Apps or the Microsoft 365 Developer plan while learning new skills to speed their development processes through a new learning path and certification. When developers complete the learning path and certification, they will be equipped to deliver low-code solutions in their business and leverage citizen developers to deliver more quickly and effectively, saving time and resources.

Learn more about the Power Platform Microsoft 365 Developer planPower Apps Developer plan and the Power Platform Fusion Development learning path.

5.1.3. Power BI Embedded offers integration with Jupyter Notebooks, and Power BI Premium adds Automation APIs to its deployment pipelines capabilities

Users can now embed Microsoft Power BI analytics reports in a Jupyter Notebook. Jupyter Notebook, an open-source development tool featuring documents with live code, equations, visualizations and narrative text, is often used for data visualization and more. Power BI Embedded Analytics enables data app developers to engage directly with data, explore analytics and generate reports. These Jupyter Notebook integrations are now in preview.

Power BI Premium, which enables analysts, developers and business users to create, develop and turn data into insights, has added Automation APIs to its deployment pipeline capabilities. This allows developers to use tools, such as Microsoft Azure DevOps and Azure Pipeline, to automate the deployment of Power BI assets and integrate into their existing app deployment framework.

Learn more about these updates.

5.1.4. Power BI Premium has real-time analytics and big data improvements

Microsoft Power BI Premium, which allows analysts and business data users to create and analyze business intelligence (BI) reporting, now features streaming dataflows and automatic aggregation. These features, in preview in June 2021, will speed up report creation, consumption and support projects with large datasets. Streaming dataflows will enable report creators to incorporate real-time data in a more user-friendly and faster way than currently required. Automatic aggregation will automatically remember commonly used queries and reports that involve large datasets and create reports faster. When a user tries to process large amounts of data, the processing can take a long time if the performance of the tools is subpar. This delays the translation of the data into a compelling and visual report.

As the amount of data grows from new places every day, companies need help to make it actionable. These features will be key to using data more efficiently to inform good business decisions.

Learn more about this update. 

5.1.5. Power Fx now enables users to build apps using natural language with GPT-3 — no coding required

Microsoft Power Fx, a low-code open-source programming language, is adding new features that allow developers to build apps using natural language — no coding required.

The new experience centers around three key scenarios: natural language transforms to Power Fx code, Power Fx code transforms to natural language and programming by example where a user inputs an example of a data pattern that trains the model.

This experience is powered by GPT-3, the world’s largest natural language model from OpenAI, running on Azure Machine Learning. Microsoft also is announcing the PROgram Synthesis using Examples SDK (PROSE), which can train models to do certain tasks by typing in a few examples.

An example use case for natural language would be if an e-commerce vendor wanted to find and filter all products with names starting with “kids” in the Gallery of its app. Instead of having to remember and write the formula: Filter(‘BC Orders’, Left(‘Product Name’, 4)=”Kids”), it could type, “Show orders with product names that start with kids.” Based on this input, GPT-3 will generate a list of the most relevant Power Fx formulas, allowing users to select the one they need to address business needs.

Power Fx, currently in Microsoft Power Apps canvas apps, is also being extended to Model Driven Commanding and Dataverse Calculated Columns. Today, app developers have to write files in JavaScript and create commands in model-driven apps. Dataverse Calculated Columns free the user from having to manually perform calculations. By bringing Power Fx and the Excel-like formula bar to Model Driven Commanding, Microsoft is simplifying the experience and making it easier for app developers to create commands. Power Fx extending into Dataverse Calculated Columns is the first step to make Power Fx the consistent language for the Microsoft Power Platform. It also makes the expression language in Dataverse much richer, for a more Excel-like experience within Dataverse and Dataverse for Microsoft Teams.

Collectively, these updates, in preview in June 2021, will drive greater collaboration and efficiency.

Learn more bout this update on the Power Apps blog, AI Blog or download visual assets

 

5.1.6. Low-code updates and fusion development for Power Platform coming soon

To support an organization’s ability to deliver low-code apps, automations and bots faster and more effectively, Microsoft Power Platform will have new features for fusion teams. Power Platform enables teams — whether made up of citizen-makers, professional developers or both — to create apps, automations and bots together. These fusion teams build solutions that can be more impactful for their unique app needs. Power Platform solutions with fusion development teams have up to twice the reach of apps built by single individuals.

Microsoft will make it easier to participate in fusion teams with native Power Platform Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code integrations, command-line interface (CLI) support for source code files and packaging, independent publisher connector capabilities, and an application lifecycle management (ALM) accelerator for all makers and developers. These new features, coming soon, mean developers can easily participate in fusion teams while staying in their development tools of choice.

Learn more about these updates.

5.1.7. Power Virtual Agents improves chatbot builder experience

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents, which empowers people without coding expertise to make conversational AI agents without writing code, has improved the chatbot builder experience.

Power Virtual Agents is integrated with Bot Framework Composer, a visual authoring tool for building conversational AI apps. Now generally available, this integration lets users access conversational memory and context. It allows developers and business users to build bots together.

Users can create event-driven dynamic dialogs to handle interruptions, cancellations and context switching. Developers can also add adaptive cards to display interactive elements like images, videos and forms in the bot. Bot Framework Composer includes a visual editing canvas for conversation flows, tools to author and manage language understanding (NLU) and question and answer (QnA) components, a language generation and templating system, and a ready-to-use bot runtime executable file. Users can enhance their bot by developing custom dialogs with the Bot Framework Composer and add them to their Power Virtual Agents bot. Custom dialogs added with Bot Framework Composer are deployed, hosted and executed with the rest of Power Virtual Agents bot content and do not require additional Microsoft Azure hosting.

Learn more about this update.

6. Windows 6.1. Windows

6.1.1. Startup boost and Sleeping tabs raise performance in Microsoft Edge 91

Microsoft Edge will be the best-performing browser on Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge 91. Superior performance is based on Sleeping tabs and Startup boost, features exclusive to Edge.

Sleeping tabs give Edge a performance boost when using multiple browser tabs simultaneously, saving system resources by doing things like putting ads to sleep when a user puts a tab in the background. This frees up system resources for the tabs being used. Startup boost launches Edge faster by running a set of core Edge processes in the background. This happens without adding additional resources when Edge browser windows are open. The Edge team also continues to contribute innovations to the Chromium open-source project, an industrywide effort to make web browsing faster, safer and more stable. The team has submitted over 5,300 commits or changes to the open-source code repository.

Learn more about this update.

6.1.2. Microsoft Edge WebView2 and WinUI 3 now generally available

For Windows developers who want to bring web-based experiences into their native apps, Microsoft Edge WebView2 in Windows UI Library (WinUI) 3 is now production-ready and forward-compatible. This marks the general availability of Microsoft Edge WebView2 for Win32 C/C++, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms and WinUI 3. WebView2 allows Windows app developers to leverage the power of Microsoft Edge and Chromium to render their apps. It’s decoupled from the operating system (OS), so users are no longer locked to a particular version of Windows. WinUI 3 developers can use the WebView2 control to host web content within their apps.

Learn more about this update.

6.1.3. Project Reunion 0.8 preview release

Project Reunion 0.8 Preview SDK is a new in-market update that allows developers to build and ship Windows apps faster without waiting for the Windows operating system (OS) to update. (Project Reunion 0.5 was released in March.)

With Project Reunion 0.8 Preview, you can create and modernize your Windows apps seamlessly for both client and cloud endpoints. It offers support for Windows 10 version 1809, the ability to use Project Reunion with a .NET 5 app and Windows UI Library (WinUI) 3, and Microsoft Edge WebView2 for user interaction development. Project Reunion gives access to modern Windows technologies that customers can incrementally adopt faster, because they are decoupled from the OS.

Learn more about this update.

6.1.4. New cost-effective Windows on ARM-based PC for developers coming this summer

The Snapdragon Developer Kit, an affordable Windows on ARM-based PC designed for developers, will be sold at The Microsoft Store this summer. Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies are releasing this small desktop PC to lower the barriers of entry for developers to port their Windows apps to support ARM64 natively. Independent software vendors need hardware to test native ARM64 apps running on Windows, and the Snapdragon Developer Kit is less costly than consumer notebooks. The new Snapdragon Developer Kit is a Windows PC reference device based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c compute platform.

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6.1.5. Support for Linux GUI apps available in the Windows Subsystem for Linux

Support for Linux graphical user interface (GUI) apps are now available in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL allows users to run their favorite Linux tools, utilities and apps for developer workflows. This new feature expands its support to include GUI apps that work right out of the box to allow testing, developing and running full Linux GUI apps on a Windows machine without setting up a traditional virtual machine (VM).

Learn more about this update.

6.1.6. Microsoft adds new capabilities to Windows search box

Microsoft will soon give commercial users the ability to surface personalized results from enterprise tools such Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and others within the Windows search bar. The Windows search bar already helps users find apps, files and information from the web, but it can be enhanced to display information and answers from these new sources with developer-configured connections to the Microsoft Graph.

Learn more about this update.

6.1.7. Windows Terminal 1.9 preview releases with new feature, Quake Mode

Windows Terminal 1.9 preview is now available and includes a new feature called Quake Mode. Quake Mode allows users to quickly open a new terminal window from anywhere in Windows with a simple keyboard shortcut.

Windows Terminal, released in 2019 for users who run command line tools on Windows, also has a new settings user interface (UI), which makes editing settings much easier by not having to edit a JSON file.

Learn more about this update.