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Foreword from Frank X. Shaw

Welcome everyone to Microsoft Build, our annual flagship event for developers.

The goal with the Book of News is to provide you with a roadmap to all the announcements we’re making, with all the details you need. Our focus remains the same – to make it as easy as possible for you to navigate the latest news and offer critical details on the topics you’re most interested in exploring.

Microsoft Build is an event designed for developers – showcasing tools and services that developers can use now and with an eye toward the future. With AI dominating the conversation in the technology space, it only makes sense that it plays a key role in this year’s event.

We talk about our goal to empower any developer to use any programming language, write code on any operating system and deploy applications anywhere. Now, in this new era of AI, where developers have even more choices, this continues to be our focus – democratizing our advancements in AI to help developers be more productive, providing tools and platforms to make developers’ lives easier and delivering services they can use today to create tomorrow’s intelligent apps.

This year’s Microsoft Build features a fantastic lineup of news and some exciting announcements that reflect both our commitment to the developer community and the potential of AI. I hope you will be able to join us.

Please continue to send us your feedback! We want to ensure you’re getting the information and context you need. How can we make the experience better next time?


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 below the Table of Contents to enable translations.)

We pulled together a folder of imagery related to a few of the news items. Please take a look at the imagery here. To watch keynotes and sessions related to news items, we have links below the news to get you quick access to upcoming sessions and on-demand videos. If you would like to search for AI-related news, use the Tags feature to easily sort and skim for all AI-related news items.

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].

If you are interested in speaking with an industry analyst about news announcements at Microsoft Build or Microsoft’s broader strategy and product offerings, please contact [email protected].

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1. AI Plugins 1.1. AI Plugins

1.1.1. Microsoft is growing the AI plugin ecosystem

Microsoft is announcing that it will adopt the same open plugin standard that OpenAI introduced for ChatGPT, enabling interoperability across ChatGPT and the breadth of Microsoft’s copilot offerings.

Developers can now use one platform to build plugins that work across both consumer and business surfaces, including ChatGPT, Bing, Dynamics 365 Copilot (in preview) and Microsoft 365 Copilot (in preview). If users want to develop and use their own plugins with their AI app built on Azure OpenAI Service it will, by default, be interoperable with this same plugin standard. This means developers can build experiences that enable people to interact with their apps using the most natural user interface: the human language.

As part of this shared plugin platform, Bing is adding to its support for plugins. In addition to previously announced plugins for OpenTable and Wolfram Alpha, Microsoft also will have Expedia, Instacart, Kayak, Klarna, Redfin and Zillow, among many others, in the Bing ecosystem.

In addition to the common plugin platform, Microsoft is announcing that Bing is coming to ChatGPT as the default search experience. ChatGPT will now have a world-class search engine built in to provide more up-to-date answers with access from the web. Now, answers are grounded by search and web data and include citations so users can learn more, all directly from within chat. The new experience is rolling out to ChatGPT Plus subscribers starting today and will be available to free users soon by simply enabling a plugin.

Additional resources:

  • AI
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2. Azure 2.1. Azure AI

2.1.1. AI-focused updates for Azure solutions improve productivity, efficiency

With the continual advancements being made in AI, solutions are rapidly changing to meet the needs of users. Microsoft Azure AI Service has several new capabilities to help customers increase productivity, efficiency and content safety for customers. These updates include:

Azure OpenAI Service
Updates to Azure OpenAI Service, now in preview, will include enhancements like Azure AI Studio, which will better enable organizations to combine Azure OpenAI Service with their data; a Provisioned Throughput Model, which will offer dedicated/reserved capacity; and plugins that will simplify integrating external data sources and streamline the process of building and consuming APIs.

Azure AI Content Safety
Azure AI Content Safety, a new Azure AI service, will empower businesses to create safer online environments and communities. Models are designed to detect hate, violent, sexual and self-harm content across languages in both images and text. The models assign a severity score to flagged content, indicating to human moderators what content requires urgent attention. As part of Microsoft’s commitment to building responsible AI systems, Azure AI Content Safety is being integrated across Microsoft products, including Azure OpenAI Service and Azure Machine Learning prompt flow. The models help detect and remove content from prompts and generation that don’t meet content management standards. By combining Azure AI Content Safety with other Azure AI tools for responsible AI, businesses can build, deploy and monitor AI systems that support fairness and mitigate harm. Azure AI Content Safety is now in preview, and billing for all Azure AI Content Safety usage begins June 1, 2023, and will be priced at $1.50 per 1K images, and $0.75 per 1K text records. Learn more about Azure AI Content Safety.

Azure Cognitive Search
Vector search for Azure Cognitive Search, the retrieval system for new large language models (LLM) apps, is coming soon in preview. Vector search allows developers to easily store, index and search by concept in addition to keywords, using organizational data including text, images, audio, video and graphs. Developers will be able to build apps to generate personalized responses in natural language, deliver product recommendations, detect fraud, identify data patterns and more. ​Azure Cognitive Search offers pure vector search and hybrid retrieval – as well as a sophisticated re-ranking system powered by Bing in a single integrated solution. Sign up for the Vector search preview today.

Azure Cognitive Service for Language
New capabilities, now in preview for Azure Cognitive Service for Language, will include the ability for developers to customize summarization, in addition to the entity recognition, text classification and conversational language understanding (CLU) features already announced, and are all powered by Azure OpenAI Service. These capabilities allow developers to interactively customize the language skills across their apps, leading to faster time-to-value for organizations looking to use large language models (LLMs). In addition, the integration of CLU within Power Virtual Agents simplifies the process of creating intelligent chatbots and virtual agents, as well as the availability of custom sentiment powered by pre-built models.

Coming soon to general availability is ready-to-use document and conversation summarization. This will allow customers to deploy use cases in production while backed by Azure’s enterprise-grade readiness, including Azure Service Level Agreements, data security and more.

Document Translation in Language Studio
Document Translation in Language Studio, now generally available, enables developers to translate documents in batches. In addition, Power Automate Translator connector and Text Translator SDK for .Net, Python, Java and JS are now in preview and ACS Translator plugin for Azure OpenAI Service is in private preview.

The Power Automate Translator connector enables developers with easy-to-use workflow automation to translate text and documents stored across multiple clouds, on-premises or on local storage. The plugin will help Azure OpenAI Service users translate a source text between any of the more than 125 languages supported by Translator.

Additional Resources:

  • AI

2.1.2. Operationalize generative AI responsibly with Azure Machine Learning

Azure Machine Learning drastically improves machine learning professionals’ ability to operationalize responsible generative AI solutions by enabling evaluation at all phases of the model lifecycle. Updates to Azure Machine Learning include:

  • Prompt flow, in preview soon, will provide a streamlined experience for prompting, evaluating and tuning large language models. Users can quickly create prompt workflows that connect to various language models and data sources and assess the quality of their workflows with measurements, such as “groundedness,” to choose the best prompt for their use case. Prompt flow also integrates Azure AI Content Safety, a new Azure AI service for content moderation, to help users detect and remove harmful content directly in their flow of work. Learn more about prompt flow.
  • Support for foundation models, in preview, will provide native capabilities to fine-tune and deploy foundation models from multiple open-source repositories using Azure Machine Learning components and pipelines. This feature will soon support models from Azure OpenAI Service to fine-tune and build prompt workflows through Azure Machine Learning Studio. Learn more about support for foundation models. 
  • Responsible AI dashboard support for text and image data, now in preview, will enable users to evaluate large models built with unstructured data during the model building, training and/or evaluation stage. This helps users identify model errors, fairness issues and model explanations before models are deployed, for more performant and fair computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) models. Learn more about responsible AI dashboard support.
  • Model monitoring, in preview, will enable users to track model performance in production, receive timely alerts and analyze issues for continuous learning and model improvement. Learn more about model monitoring.

Additional updates supporting collaboration, governance and rapid development at scale for enterprise customers include:

  • Managed feature store, now in preview, will simplify feature development to streamline the machine learning lifecycle, helping users experiment and ship models faster, increase reliability of models and reduce operational costs. Learn more about managed feature store.
  • Microsoft Purview connector, now in preview, will enable enterprises to use the Purview catalog as central storage for metadata for machine learning assets, allowing data engineers, data scientists and app developers to examine the lineage and transformations of training data and perform root cause analyses. Learn more about Microsoft purview connector.
  • Managed network isolation, now in preview, will streamline complex tasks, such as virtual network management, private endpoint connections and inbound/outbound settings, saving users time and providing a more secure environment for machine learning projects. Learn more about managed network isolation.
  • Support for DataRobot 9.0, now in preview, will enable users to validate and document models in DataRobot and deploy with the scale and flexibility of Azure Machine Learning. DataRobot 9.0 is also integrated with Azure OpenAI Service, enabling code generation and conversational AI experiences to help users interpret model results.
  • Azure Machine Learning registries, now generally available, help users promote, share and discover machine learning artifacts such as models, pipelines and environments across multiple workspaces in an organization for more efficient cross-team operations and collaboration. Learn more about Azure Machine Learning registries.
  • Azure Container for PyTorch, now generally available, provides users with a curated environment that includes the latest PyTorch 2.0 capabilities and optimization software such as DeepSpeed and ONNX Runtime designed for efficient large model training and inference. Learn more about Azure Container for PyTorch.

Additional Resources:

  • AI

2.2. Azure Data

2.2.1. Introducing the new Microsoft Fabric, built for the era of AI

Microsoft Fabric, now in preview, delivers an integrated and simplified experience for all analytics workloads and users on an enterprise-grade data foundation. It brings together Power BI, Data Factory and the next generation of Synapse in a unified software as a service (SaaS) offering to give customers a price-effective and easy-to-manage modern analytics solution for the era of AI. Fabric has experiences for all workloads and data professionals in one place – including data integration, data engineering, data warehousing, data science, real-time analytics, applied observability and business intelligence – to increase productivity like never before.

To further enable organizations to accelerate value creation with their data, Microsoft is integrating Copilot in Microsoft Fabric, in preview soon, to enable the use of natural language and a chat experience to generate code and queries, create AI plugins using a low/no-code experience, enable custom Q&A, tailor semantics and components within the plugin and deploy to Microsoft Teams, Power BI and web. With AI-driven insights, customers can focus on telling the right data story and let Copilot do the heavy lifting.

Organizational data is hosted on Microsoft’s unified foundation, OneLake, which provides a single source of truth and reduces the need to extract, move or replicate data, helping eliminate rogue data sprawl. Fabric also enables persistent data governance and a single capacity pricing model that scales with growth, and it’s open at every layer with no proprietary lock-ins. Deep integrations with Microsoft 365, Teams and AI Copilot experiences accelerate and scale data value creation for everyone. From data professionals to non-technical business users, Fabric has role-tailored experiences to empower everyone to unlock more value from data.

Additional Resources:

  • AI

2.2.2. Power BI updates increasing speed, productivity in preview

Power BI has several new updates that will empower organizations to turn data into insights immediately with an industry-leading BI platform and include:

  • Copilot in Power BI, in preview, will infuse the power of large language models with an organization’s data to help uncover and share insights faster. Users can create and tailor reports in seconds, generate and edit DAX calculations, create narrative summaries and ask questions about their data, all in conversational language. With the ability to easily tailor the tone, scope and style of narratives and add them seamlessly within reports, Power BI can also deliver data insights more impactfully through easy-to-understand text summaries.
  • Power BI Direct Lake, in preview, is a new storage mode within Power BI datasets that will allow organizations to unlock massive data without having to replicate it, by seeing straight through to the data in the lake.
  • Power BI Desktop Developer Mode, in preview, will enable developer-centric workflows through Git integration for Power BI datasets and reports.

Additional Resources:

  • AI

2.2.3. Azure Cosmos DB updates improve developer productivity, optimize costs

Azure Cosmos DB, Microsoft’s serverless, distributed database for NoSQL and relational workloads, is the leading cloud database for generative AI workloads – including ChatGPT – and modern app development. Azure Cosmos DB is introducing a range of new enhancements to optimize costs, performance and developer productivity. These enhancements demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to improving the user experience for app developers and include:

  • ​Burst capacity: Developers can achieve better performance and productivity with burst capacity, which allows customers to utilize the idle throughput capacity of their database or container to handle traffic spikes. Databases using standard provisioned throughput with burst capacity enabled will be able to maintain performance during short bursts when requests exceed the throughput limit. This gives customers a cushion if they’re under-provisioned and allows them to experience fewer rate-limited requests. This update is generally available.
  • ​Hierarchical partition keys: More efficient partitioning strategies and improved performance are made possible by hierarchical partition keys, which enable up to three partition keys to be used instead of one. This removes the performance trade-offs that developers often face when having to choose a single partition key and enables more optimal data distribution and high scale. This is generally available.
  • ​Materialized Views for Azure Cosmos DB for NoSQL: With Materialized Views, now in preview, users will be able to create and maintain secondary views of their data in containers that are used to serve queries that would be too expensive to serve with an existing container. Materialized Views can easily create and maintain data between two containers.
  • ​Azure Cosmos DB “All versions and deletes” change feed mode: Developers will be able to get a full view of changes to items occurring within the continuous backup retention period of their account, saving time and reducing app complexity. This is in preview.
  • ​.NET and Java SDKs Telemetry + App Insights: Monitoring apps will be easier with this update, now in preview. The Azure Cosmos DB .NET and Java SDKs support distributed tracing to help developers easily monitor their apps and troubleshoot issues, thereby improving performance and developer productivity.

Additional resources:

  • AI

2.2.4. Azure SQL Database lets users build and rapidly scale multiple apps

Azure SQL Database Hyperscale elastic pools is introducing a shared resource model for Hyperscale databases, now in preview. This update will help developers build and manage new apps in the cloud and scale multiple databases that have varying and unpredictable usage demands.

  • Each Hyperscale elastic pool can hold up to 25 databases, with up to 100 TB of total storage.
  • Scale compute resources allocated to the elastic pool up or down in a predictable amount of time, independent of the amount of allocated storage.
  • Enable rapid scale, out-of-compute resources allocated to the elastic pool by adding one or more read-scale replicas.

Additional resources:

2.3. Azure Infrastructure

2.3.1. New features in Azure Container Storage in preview

Microsoft Azure Container Storage, a unique volume management service built natively for containers, is previewing new features that will enhance container workload performance, reliability and backup experience. Updates include:

  • Volume snapshot will let developers capture the point-in-time state of the persistent volumes, enabling them to back up the data before applying changes.
  • Increasing the scalability target of Persistent Volumes will let developers scale up their storage footprint easily, allowing them to focus on building data services instead of worrying about the underlying infrastructure limits.

Additional resources:

2.3.2. Microsoft Azure Monitor managed service for Prometheus updates

Prometheus, the open-source project from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, is a common standard for monitoring containerized workloads. Running self-managed Prometheus often performs well for smaller deployments but is harder to scale for enterprise workloads.

The fully managed service for Prometheus from Azure Monitor, now generally available, delivers what customers like about the open-source ecosystem while automating complex tasks such as scaling, high availability and long-term data retention. Customers can use it stand-alone from within Azure Monitor or with Azure Monitor container insights and Azure Managed Grafana.

Managed Prometheus on Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes, in preview, will give users access to the full range of benefits that managed Prometheus offers on the Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes cluster.

Additional resources:

2.3.3. New feature in Microsoft Cost Management lets users understand cloud costs, coming soon in preview

Microsoft Cost Management is launching a new experience that leverages next-generation AI capabilities to give Microsoft Cloud customers an easy way to understand, analyze and manage their cloud costs and bills. Customers can use prompts for requests, such as “Summarize my invoice,” “Break down my costs,” “Why did my bill go up?” or “How can I reduce my costs?” to get quick analyses, insights and recommendations, in addition to guidance to further optimize and grow through integration with other services. Microsoft Cost Management will be available for preview in the Azure portal soon.

Additional resources:

  • AI

2.4. Azure Confidential Computing

2.4.1. New confidential virtual machines based on Intel Trust Domain Extensions in preview

DCesv5 and ECesv5-series confidential virtual machines (VMs), based on Intel fourth-generation Xeon™ processors with TDX technology, are now in preview. These VMs will allow Azure customers to migrate their most sensitive workloads to Azure with minimal performance impact and without code changes.

These confidential VMs are designed to offer a hardware-based trusted execution environment (TEE), which hardens guest protections to deny the hypervisor and other host management code access to VM memory and state, helping prevent cloud operator access. Customers in regulated industries such as banking, healthcare and the public sector can easily migrate their legacy workloads from on-premises environments to these confidential VMs.

These VMs include guest attestation that can be used to ensure that the VM only will boot when the platform verifies that the VM host environment is chained to an Intel hardware root-of-trust and customized secure key release policies are met. Additionally, customers can initiate attestation requests inside of these confidential VMs to demonstrate that the VMs are running on Intel-powered nodes with TDX enabled.

Additional resources:

2.4.2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux support for Azure AMD-based confidential virtual machines

Azure customers can now specify the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 9.2 Tech Preview image as the guest operating system (OS) for their AMD-based confidential virtual machines (VMs). This can help ensure that any sensitive data processed by their RHEL guest OS is protected in use in memory. Azure AMD-based confidential VMs can provide a strong, hardware-enforced boundary that helps protect the guest OS against host operator access and other Azure tenants. These VMs are designed to help ensure that data in use in memory is protected from unauthorized users using encryption keys generated by the underlying chipset and inaccessible to Azure operators. This update is now generally available.

Additional resources:

2.4.3. Confidential containers on Azure Container Instances now generally available

Confidential containers on Azure Container Instances (ACI), now generally available, is an industry-first serverless confidential computing platform. This enables fast and easy deployment of containers natively in Azure and the ability to protect data and code in use in memory, thanks to AMD EPYC™ processors with confidential computing capabilities.

The containers can be grouped to run in a hardware-based and attested Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) without the need to adopt a specialized programming model and without infrastructure management overhead. This offering includes full guest attestation, which reflects the cryptographic measurement of all hardware and software components running within the Trusted Computing Base (TCB), tooling to generate policies that will be enforced in the TEE and an open-source sidecar container for each container group to support secure key release and encrypted file systems.

Additional resources:

2.4.4. New AMD-based confidential virtual machine options for Azure services in preview

Two new AMD-based confidential virtual machine (VM) options across Azure, now in preview, include:

Confidential VM option for Azure Data Explorer: Customers who need to analyze sensitive activity data will be able do so by running Azure Data Explorer (ADX) on the AMD-based confidential VM. This delivers unmatched interactive analytics performance and power on real-time, low-latency data streams. Running a customer’s ADX cluster on Azure confidential VMs enables ADX customers to confidently analyze their sensitive data, financial transaction data, health-related activities, critical business events and other sensitive time-stamped data in Azure.

Confidential VM option for Azure Databricks: Customers seeking to better ensure privacy of personal information or other sensitive data while analyzing that data in Azure Databricks will be able to do so by specifying AMD-based confidential VMs when creating an Azure Databricks cluster. Running a customer’s Azure Databricks cluster on Azure confidential VMs enables Azure Databricks customers to confidently analyze their sensitive data in Azure.

Additional resources:

2.4.5. Confidential containers on Azure Kubernetes Service now in preview

Confidential containers in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), a first-party offering that will allow teams to run standard unmodified containers, aligned with the Kata Confidential Containers open-source project, to achieve zero trust operator deployments with AKS, is now in preview.

These containers can be integrated with the typical services used by apps running on AKS for monitoring, logging, etc. in a trusted execution environment (TEE), with each pod assigned its own memory encryption key, providing hardware-based confidentiality and integrity protections, underscoring Microsoft’s focus on enterprise-readiness for these workloads.

Additional resources:

2.5. Developer Tools and DevOps

2.5.1. Azure Deployment Environments now generally available

Azure Deployment Environments, now generally available, allow developers to use the service to self-deploy the environments they need on demand using infrastructure-as-code templates. This update now includes a specialized portal that gives developers a clear, easy interface to create and manage their environments. Developers can also use this portal to view, manage and spin up dev boxes from Microsoft Dev Box.

Additionally, dev teams can choose between building their infrastructure-as-code templates as Terraform or Azure Resource Management files. Terraform support will be launched in preview and customers can sign up for early access at Microsoft Build.

Additional resources:

2.5.2. Microsoft Dev Box introducing several new capabilities to enhance developer experience and productivity

Microsoft Dev Box, which will be generally available in July, is introducing several new capabilities to enhance the developer experience and boost productivity and include:

  • New starter developer images in the Azure Marketplace to provide dev teams with ready-to-use images that can be customized further for specific dev team needs. These images are generally available.
  • Developers can now view, manage and spin up dev boxes for all their projects from a specialized developer portal. Developers can also use this portal to manage environments in Azure Deployment Environments. This feature is generally available.
  • Dev teams will be able to further customize their dev boxes using configuration-as-code files in git source control to tailor base images from IT without needing support from admins. This feature is in preview.

Visual Studio is also introducing features and integrations to expedite setup and elevate performance on Dev Box for its users. Dev teams can now benefit from Visual Studio cache inclusion within Dev Box images, single sign-on across Dev Box and Visual Studio, improved performance over Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connections and JSON files setting storage support. Many of these features are available today while others are in preview.

Developers can also take advantage of new dev-focused features in Windows to enhance the dev experience on Dev Box, including Dev Home, Dev Drive and Winget Configuration. These features are in preview.

Additional resources:

2.5.3. GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps is now in preview

GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps is now in preview and will natively embed automated security checks into the Azure DevOps platform, allowing developers to secure their code, secrets and supply chain without leaving their workflow using:

  • Code scanning, powered by CodeQL, locates vulnerabilities in source code and provides remediation guidance.
  • Secret scanning that identifies high-confidence secrets and blocks developers from pushing secrets into code repositories.
  • Dependency scanning that discovers vulnerabilities within open-source dependencies and automates update alerts for developers.

These capabilities will help developers implement security earlier in the software development lifecycle to find and fix security issues before code is deployed to production.

Additional resources:

2.5.4. New capabilities for Azure API Management

Azure API Management is a hybrid, multicloud management platform for application programming interfaces (APIs) across all environments. The solution has been updated with several new capabilities including:

  • Azure API Center: A new service that will enable organizations to centralize and manage their portfolio of APIs, regardless of type, life cycle or deployment location. This update is in preview. Learn more about updates to Azure API Center.
  • WebSocket API passthrough: Allows users to manage, protect, observe and expose WebSocket APIs running in container environments with the API Management self-hosted gateway container. This is now generally available. Learn more about WebSocket API passthrough.
  • Self-hosted gateway support for Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tokens: Users will be able to secure communication between the self-hosted gateway to Azure to download configuration using Azure AD tokens. This allows customers to avoid manually refreshing a gateway token that expires every 30 days. This update is generally available.

Additional resources:

2.5.5. Call automation from Azure Communication Services launching soon

A new set of application programming interfaces (APIs), generally available next month, will help developers build server-based, intelligent calling workflows into their apps and simplify the delivery of personalized customer engagement with additional AI capabilities from Azure Cognitive Services.

Call automation interoperability into Microsoft Teams will be in preview next month for businesses that want to connect experts who use Teams into existing customer service calls. From daily appointment bookings and order updates to complex customer outreach for marketing and customer service, call automation with Azure Communication Services is changing the landscape of customer engagement.

Additional resources:

  • AI

2.5.6. Updates to Azure Event Grid now in preview

A new update to Azure Event Grid will allow it to leverage HTTP to enable “pull” delivery of discrete events to provide more flexible consumption patterns at high scale. Azure Event Grid was previously used exclusively to “push” HTTP event-based data between apps to support high-throughput scenarios.

Additionally, Event Grid will also enable publish-subscribe via the MQTT protocol, enabling bidirectional communication at scale between Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cloud-based services. This allows one-to-many, many-to-one and one-to-one communication between MQTT clients. For example, vehicles could publish location data that can be sent to a fleet-mapping service that subscribes to this data. The vehicles can also receive updates from the mapping service by subscribing to alerts (for example, regarding crashes or construction activity) in their area.

​Event Grid also enables routing MQTT data to other Azure services and third-party services for further data analytics and storage. These updates are now in preview.

Additional resources:

2.5.7. Azure Linux as a container host operating system for Azure Kubernetes Service now generally available

Azure Linux as a container host operating system (OS) for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is now generally available. Azure Linux is Microsoft’s Linux distribution of CBL-Mariner supported as a container host OS for AKS.

Users can now deploy Azure Linux as the node pool host OS in the AKS cluster and build apps on top of the preferred container. Azure Linux has been in production with services such as Xbox, Playfab, Minecraft and more than 100 Azure services. Today, Microsoft will extend the AKS container host usage to all AKS customers. Azure Linux as an AKS host OS delivers better performance, can increase the security posture of apps running on AKS clusters and has been optimized to run in Azure. Azure Linux as a container host OS is optimized for AKS, has a smaller image size to present a smaller attack surface and relies on the same software supply chain used by Microsoft internal engineering teams and services.

In addition, AKS on Azure Stack HCI and AKS on Windows Server feature the same container host as well, providing consistency and simplified management across the cloud and the edge.

Additional resources:

2.5.8. Azure Container Apps introduces new capabilities for enhanced developer productivity

Azure Container Apps is a fully managed Kubernetes-based app platform to build modern apps that are serverless, as well as modeled on a microservices architecture pattern. Azure Container Apps jobs, now in preview, will encapsulate everything needed to run ad hoc tasks asynchronously and execute to completion, such as data processing, data migrations, recurring tasks like daily sales overview, etc. Jobs may be scheduled, event-driven or run on-demand.

These new capabilities in Azure Container Apps will also enable smaller executables within complex jobs to run in parallel, making it easier to run unattended batch jobs right along with your core business logic. The three types of jobs that can be provisioned within Azure Container Apps include:

  • On-demand jobs: Single purpose API calls that are user- or code-driven.
  • Scheduled jobs: Long-running tasks that are triggered and completed based on the scheduler.
  • Event-driven jobs: Resource-intensive tasks triggered by events can now be compute optimized for potential savings with optimized instance provisioning using Kubernetes-based Event Driven Autoscaler (KEDA) scalers.

Additional resources:

2.5.9. Azure Functions introduces new hosting option to build serverless, cloud-native apps

Updates to Azure Functions, a serverless solution that allows users to write less code, maintain less infrastructure and save on costs, are now in preview and include the ability to:

  • Deploy containerized Azure Functions in an Azure Container Apps environment to quickly build event-driven, cloud-native apps leveraging built-in Dapr integrations for distributed, microservice-based serverless apps.
  • Maximize developer velocity using Azure Functions integrated programming model, write code using preferred programming language or framework that Azure Functions supports and get the built-in service integrations with triggers and bindings for a first-class, event-driven, cloud-native experience.
  • Run Azure Functions alongside other microservices, APIs, websites, workflows or any containerized app using an Azure Container Apps environment built for robust serverless scale, microservices and fully managed infrastructure.

Additional resources:

2.5.10. Azure Kubernetes Service receives multiple updates

New Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)-related capabilities help accelerate app development, improve security, provide improved cost management and offer the option for long-term support. These updates include:

  • Long-term support is now generally available, starting with Kubernetes 1.27. Once enabled, this provides a two-year support window for a specific version of Kubernetes. Kubernetes delivers new releases every three to four months to keep up with the pace of innovation in the cloud-native world. To give enterprises more control over their environment, long-term support for Kubernetes enables customers to stay on the same release for two years – twice as long as what’s possible today. This is a long-awaited development in the cloud-native, open-source community for customers who need the additional option for a longer upgrade runway with continued support and security updates.
  • Transactable Kubernetes apps, now generally available, allow AKS customers to explore a vibrant ecosystem of first- and third-party Kubernetes-ready solutions from Azure Marketplace, and purchase and securely deploy them on AKS with easy click-through deployments. Conveniently integrated with Azure billing, these solutions are ready to use, taking advantage of all the benefits of running on a cloud-native platform like AKS.
  • Confidential containers in AKS, now in preview, is a first-party offering that will allow teams to run standard unmodified containers, aligned with the Kata Confidential Containers open-source project, to achieve zero trust operator deployments with AKS. These containers can be integrated with the typical services used by apps running on AKS for monitoring, logging, etc. in a trusted execution environment (TEE), with each pod assigned its own memory encryption key, providing hardware-based confidentiality and integrity protections, underscoring Microsoft’s focus on enterprise-readiness for these workloads. Learn more about confidential containers in AKS.
  • The multi-cluster update in Azure Kubernetes Fleet Manager (Fleet), in preview, will enable multi-cluster and at-scale scenarios for AKS clusters. The new multi-cluster update feature gives teams the ability to orchestrate planned updates across multiple clusters for a consistent environment.

Additional resources:

A man sits at a desk with a computer, image is on a blue and purple background

3. Developer Community 3.1. Developer Community

3.1.1. AI training and documentation now available on Microsoft Learn

Microsoft is launching a variety of training and documentation on Microsoft Learn to help people leverage the power of AI.

The newly released content helps technology professionals build expertise and gain new skills in the latest AI innovations, including how to:

  • Use Azure OpenAI Service to summarize text, get code suggestions and generate images for a website.
  • Add intelligence to apps – and find insights – by creating tailored AI models within Power Apps.
  • Use Power Virtual Agents to build adaptable chatbots that use AI.
  • Code suggestions with GitHub Copilot to take projects to the next level.

This new content is available in multiple skilling offerings, including instructor-led training, self-paced learning paths, cloud games, shows, in-person and virtual events and community-led learning initiatives.

Additional resources:

  • AI

3.1.2. Microsoft launches AI Assist for Microsoft Q&A

Microsoft Q&A Assist leverages the power of AI to get the right answers to technical questions faster than ever. Embedding AI into Microsoft Q&A can help the community learn more efficiently from different perspectives, by pulling from the extensive resources and training available with Microsoft Learn.

These new AI-powered capabilities, now in preview on Microsoft Q&A, will help users:

  • Get help asking the right question: New features assist users in writing a complete and clear question to quickly get the specific information being asked. Type a question, request help and receive AI-powered suggestions that can improve the question, such as clarifying wording and including the information needed for a quick and accurate answer.
  • Quickly find existing answers to similar questions: AI helps with duplicate question detection. Once a question is written, new features will help search for similar, previously asked questions, with complete answers featured on Microsoft Q&A.
  • Ask for an AI-generated answer: Microsoft Q&A can use AI to pull from multiple Microsoft Learn sources. While complex questions may require answers from people with subject matter expertise, many questions can be answered instantly using AI. Citations and sources are provided when AI has assisted with a question.

Additional resources:

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3.1.3. Updates to Semantic Kernel, an open-source framework for building AI apps

With Semantic Kernel, an open-source framework for building AI apps, developers can leverage state-of-the-art AI models along with skills, data and logic to add intelligence to their apps. To showcase the power and versatility of the Semantic Kernel SDK, Microsoft launched the open-source Copilot Chat starter app, a ready-made solution that lets developers add conversational interfaces to their line-of-business apps that leverages Memories (for injecting business-specific context into AI prompts) and the Planner (enabling the AI to “goal seek”).

Developers can use the Copilot Chat starter app to bootstrap, enhancing their customer service, sales, marketing, education and other solutions with the power of AI. The Semantic Kernel SDK now supports both C# and Python versions and is generally available. Other features include:

  • Semantic Kernel offers a flexible and powerful runtime that simplifies the development process and reduces the need for manual coding, enabling developers to focus on delivering value to their customers and users.
  • Semantic Kernel is also available to easily deploy to Azure with supplied deployment template scripts. This means that developers can quickly set up their own cloud-based instance of Semantic Kernel with minimal configuration and hassle. The scripts automate the deployment process and help ensure necessary resources are provisioned correctly.
  • Semantic Kernel released a preview version of its VS Code extension, which will provide tooling for creating and editing and debugging AI plugins. The VS Code extension allows developers to write and test AI functions that they can use in their app.

Additional resources:

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4. Edge 4.1. Edge

4.1.1. Microsoft 365 Copilot coming to Microsoft Edge

Microsoft 365 Copilot, currently in private preview, will be natively integrated into Microsoft Edge, the AI-powered browser for the web. Microsoft 365 Copilot will bring powerful work-based capabilities to answer questions, complete tasks and more to the Edge sidebar.

Microsoft 365 Copilot will offer new capabilities that combine the power of large language models (LLMs) with data in the Microsoft Graph and the Microsoft 365 apps. For example, users can type natural language requests like, “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy today,” and Microsoft 365 Copilot will generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails and chat threads. In combination with Edge, Microsoft 365 Copilot becomes even more intuitive by following the context of what users are looking at in the browser to provide better answers. For example, when looking at a file a colleague shared, a user can simply ask, “What are the key takeaways from this document?”

Microsoft 365 Copilot was previously announced to be available from Microsoft Teams, and Bing when signed into a work account. With the addition of Edge, Microsoft remains committed to delivering these capabilities in ways that meet existing commitments to data security and privacy in the enterprise. Users must be signed into their Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account to use Microsoft 365 Copilot.

Additional resources:

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4.1.2. Microsoft Edge for Business now in preview

Microsoft Edge is evolving into a dedicated work experience with its own visual elements, including an updated icon, the organization’s name and other cues. This new experience, called Microsoft Edge for Business, will have a rich set of enterprise controls, security and productivity features. Microsoft Edge for Business, now in preview, is built to help meet the evolving needs of businesses and the security landscape. Microsoft Edge for Business is planned to be the standard browser experience for organizations, using an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) sign in.

Hybrid work calls for a new browser model that enhances a user’s privacy while maintaining crucial, enterprise-grade controls set at the organizational level. Microsoft Edge for Business honors the needs of both users and IT pros as the browser that will automatically separate work and personal browsing into dedicated browser windows with their own separate caches and storage locations.

For IT, this new, dedicated Edge experience can reduce the surface area for cyberattacks, heightening an organization’s security posture since it offers the opportunity to streamline down to one browser for all use cases. IT maintains control over the security and compliance posture of Edge, whether work or personal. Meanwhile, with users separating their content into personal windows, personal data can be excluded from enterprise sync, giving users the privacy they want.

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4.1.3. New Microsoft Edge management service offers dedicated, simplified browser management

The new Microsoft Edge management service in the Microsoft 365 admin center provides IT admins with a dedicated, simplified and easy alternative for browser and extension management. This tool has been long requested by IT admins to simplify browser management and will be available in preview over the next few months. Designed for Microsoft Edge for Business, it enables IT admins to manage the browser for their organization with a simplified, intuitive UI and without the complexity of configuring JSON values. This tool is another option for managing Edge that lives alongside Microsoft Intune and other major endpoint solutions. It’s a great option for customers who don’t have dedicated IT resources or companies of all sizes looking for an alternative tool while providing the same level of controls.

Global admins and Edge admins can easily create new policies, modify existing policies and delete policies they no longer need. In the Extensions tab, admins can access Edge Add-ins to see ratings, search for, add and delete extensions, as well as view user extension requests, all in one easy-to-navigate place.

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4.1.4. Microsoft Edge Workspaces will be generally available in the next few months

Microsoft Edge Workspaces, which lets users share, organize and browse the same set of browser tabs together, will be generally available in the next few months for enterprises and will add consumer access. Since the enterprise preview program was announced at Microsoft Ignite 2022, Microsoft Edge Workspaces has become one of the most popular Edge features in preview testing. The preview was expanded to users for personal use and drew enough interest that the test pool was over-subscribed twice.

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4.1.5. Sidebar app development for Microsoft Edge now generally available

The sidebar in Microsoft Edge is a natural, highly visible access point for users because of its ease in browsing and using apps at the same time. It’s also home to the new Bing experience. With sidebar app development, now generally available, developers can add existing progressive web apps (PWAs) to the sidebar in Edge by adding just one to two lines of code to the JSON manifest.

If a developer already uses responsive design in their PWA, the interface will adjust to the width of the sidebar. Optimizing PWAs for the sidebar in Edge will help drive discoverability of these apps, give users a modern side-by-side experience with the best of the web and reduce the need to switch between windows.

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5. Microsoft 365 5.1. Microsoft 365

5.1.1. Extend Microsoft 365 Copilot with plugins

Developers can now integrate their apps and services into Microsoft 365 Copilot with plugins, now in private preview.

Plugins for Microsoft 365 Copilot will include ChatGPT and Bing plugins, as well as Microsoft Teams message extensions and Power Platform connectors. And developers will be able to easily build new Microsoft 365 plugins with the Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio. Developers will be able to extend Microsoft 365 Copilot by bringing their data into the Microsoft Graph, contextualizing relevant and actionable information with the Semantic Index for Copilot in preview.

More than 50 plugins from partners will be available for customers as part of the early access program and thousands of plugins will be available by general availability of Microsoft 365 Copilot.

Additional resources:

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5.1.2. New features for Microsoft Syntex in preview

Microsoft Syntex is a cloud content management service that uses intelligent document processing and advanced AI to automatically classify, process and assemble high volumes of content within business workflows. These new Syntex innovations will allow users to get more value from their Microsoft 365 content including:

  • Syntex plugin for the Microsoft 365 Copilot (in preview) will bring unique content management skills to file experiences through Microsoft 365 Copilot experiences in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive. With the Syntex plugin, people can get answers to suggested or user-generated questions about the information in files across Microsoft 365, as well as take file-centric actions like content assembly (building documents from precise templates), classification (automated metadata and security) and eSignature, one of many AI-powered Syntex capabilities coming soon. The Syntex plugin for the Microsoft 365 Copilot and Syntex eSignature will be in preview beginning next month.
  • Syntex repository services will help enterprise and independent software vendors’ (ISVs) developers build content-centric apps in Microsoft 365 faster. Repository services delivers collaboration, security and compliance and rich Microsoft 365 content management, giving users the flexibility to design and deploy advanced user experiences. Syntex repository services is now in private preview.

Additional resources:

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5.1.3. Build custom LLM-powered Teams bots using Visual Studio Teams Toolkit

Microsoft Teams AI libraries are now in preview and available for use in the Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio. These new libraries will provide a Teams-centric interface to large language models (LLMs) and user intent engines, alleviating the need for developers to take on the complex and expensive task of writing and maintaining their own conversational bot logic to integrate with LLMs. These libraries will provide a simple, capabilities-driven approach to building apps, allowing developers to focus on building their business logic rather than learning the semantics of Teams conversational apps.

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5.1.4. Microsoft Teams Live Share software development kit now generally available

Live Share in Microsoft Teams enables meeting participants to directly interact with a shared app. With apps built for Live Share, participants can annotate, edit, zoom in and out and interact with shared content in a variety of other ways in the Teams meeting stage. With the Live Share SDK, now generally available, developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) can build Live Share capabilities into their apps without writing any dedicated back-end code, taking real-time collaboration in Teams meetings to the next level.

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5.1.5. New ways for Independent Software Vendors to grow their business with Microsoft Teams

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) need powerful tools to build, sell and thrive. Several improvements to help ISVs grow their business with Microsoft Teams are now generally available and include:

  • ISV target and insights improvement: ISVs can now target apps to select geographies (countries/regions) via the partner center with app geofencing. Users will only see apps relevant for their given country and region. They can also now get rich actionable insights into their app usage, like user funnels, customer segments and drop-offs in the Developer portal.
  • User discoverability improvements: The Teams Store search now includes keywords and short and long app descriptions when matching a user’s search query. Developers can improve their app discovery by adding keywords to their manifest. Users can also now rate and give direct feedback on apps they use and see feedback on apps they are considering. Developers can see these reviews on the web and Teams client and reply to the reviews on the Partner Center. In addition, Microsoft’s license management solution for ISV apps is now generally available. Customers now can easily assign, use and track SaaS licenses purchased in Teams and Teams admin center.
  • Contextual availability of apps: Teams apps built to extend capabilities to Outlook and the Microsoft 365 app are now being surfaced in the Outlook and Microsoft 365 app stores. As a result, users can now discover and use these Teams apps in new contexts – without leaving the flow of their work in other Microsoft apps.

Additional resources:

5.1.6. Avatars for Microsoft Teams generally available in desktop app for Windows, Mac

Avatars for Microsoft Teams will be generally available for all Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise licenses starting this week in the Teams desktop app on Windows and Mac. Avatars for Microsoft Teams offers an alternative to the current binary option of video or no video and features customizable avatars and reactions. Avatars give users the option of a camera break, while encouraging engagement and fun.

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5.1.7. New immersive spaces for Microsoft Teams in private preview

New Microsoft Mesh-powered immersive spaces for Microsoft Teams, in private preview, will let users add an immersive experience to any Teams meeting, giving everyday meetings a sense of natural co-presence. Connecting with others in immersive spaces mimics many elements of in-person interactions, like the ability to walk over to the group users want to catch up with or to wave at others in the room. And with spatial audio, a large discussion with multiple conversations or a quick side chat can occur without feeling like an interruption.

Immersive spaces for Teams can be accessed through a PC or virtual reality (VR) headset, with the ability to easily connect with other participants regardless of whether they join a Teams meeting using video, as an avatar or in the immersive space directly. Immersive spaces for Teams is available in private preview starting this week.

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5.1.8. Microsoft Mesh now in private preview

Microsoft Mesh is a platform that will allow developers and creators to build custom, immersive experiences for the workplace – helping bring remote and hybrid workers and teams together. Mesh gives developers the tools to create shared experiences that help foster a sense of connection and belonging regardless of where they are located, using a PC or virtual reality (VR) headset.

With Microsoft Mesh, developers can build experiences that extend beyond the bounds of the physical world, enhancing experiences like remote and hybrid town halls, employee training, new employee onboarding, and virtual tours and simulations. Microsoft Mesh is available in private preview starting today.

Additional resources:

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6. Power Platform 6.1. Power Platform

6.1.1. New features in Dataverse accelerate data-driven app development

Microsoft Dataverse is dramatically reducing development time to market with turnkey data-to-app capabilities at scale. These updates, all now in preview, represent three key themes:

Acceleration of data-driven app development

  • Excel to app: Developers can rapidly build solutions in Power Apps by simply dragging and dropping or linking to a data source like Excel, and then build the UI on top of that data.
  • Custom plugins in Dataverse using Power Fx: Developers can author reusable plugins in Dataverse using Power Fx to write business logic and Dataverse rules that will let them define triggers and actions. Plugins in Dataverse can re-create actions that exist in a source system, for example SQL Stored Procedure, and later leverage those actions directly from Dataverse and Power Platform. This plugin stores the action identifier, configuration and authentication information in Dataverse, enabling direct use in an app or Power Automate flow.

Streamlined data insights

  • Data hygiene suite: With a few clicks, developers can build smarter and more contextually aware next-generation apps using more accurate data that uses smart data validation, deduplication and native content AI experiences, which are fully integrated in Dataverse and Power Platform for a complete data to insights to action development loop.
  • Query Dataverse tables in Power Apps using SQL language: Developers can use a web-based SQL editor instance within Power Apps Studio to quickly write familiar queries for Dataverse tables, such as explore, filter, aggregate, sort, join and group data.

Enterprise-grade trust

  • IP Firewall: Developers can apply the right access controls to help keep their organization secure by using IP Firewall to analyze and enforce the IP address of each request in real time.

Additional resources:

6.1.2. New Copilot in Power Pages experiences in preview

Next-generation AI in Power Pages is revolutionizing how customers build and launch data-centric websites for their businesses. With Copilot in Power Pages, now in preview, users can increase productivity and speed up the website building process by generating text, creating complex forms, contextual chatbots and web page layouts and creating and editing image and site design themes for rapid visual setup and customization. This is possible in minutes using natural language input and intelligent suggestions.

Copilot in Power Pages is the digital web copy editor to generate text in seconds using basic descriptions. To build forms, simply describe the kind of form needed and Copilot will build it and auto-generate tables in Dataverse, which allow users to edit, remove or add fields using natural language input. To further enhance the customer experience, Copilot in Power Pages now supports one-click chatbot activation, allowing users to quickly build websites.

Additional resources:

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6.1.3. New features and updates for Power Virtual Agents

Power Virtual Agents continues to help developers create more intelligent chatbots using the latest AI capabilities. New features include:

  • Ability for Power Virtual Agents to generate dialogue and complete actions by dynamically chaining together user-provided tools without the need for manual authoring of conversational logic. Tools can include pre-built connectors, custom connectors, Power Automate flows and existing Power Virtual Agents topics. This new capability handles slot filling and entity extraction and enables bots to fulfill requests the author may not have anticipated. This feature uses Azure OpenAI Service and a large language model (LLM) and is available in limited preview.
  • Azure conversational language understanding (CLU) integration, now in preview, will allow builders to bring custom language models to Power Virtual Agents by leveraging CLU, including dialogue triggering, interruptions, “did you mean” and slot filling. This integration allows builders to create and map CLU intents and entities to Power Virtual Agents topics and can be used alongside Power Virtual Agents prebuilt entries for all supported languages.

Expansion of features previously announced include conversation boosters in Power Virtual Agents, which now feature SharePoint and OneDrive URLs and multi-turn conversations. In addition, Copilot in Power Virtual Agents is now generally available.

These enhancements will be available within Power Virtual Agent’s new authoring canvas. This new bot-building canvas, now generally available, features event extensibility, rich responses, a new variable system using Power Fx and a code-like view.

Additional resources:

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6.1.4. New ways to develop and orchestrate automation with Microsoft Power Automate

Power Automate is introducing new ways for developers to create automation for their organization and help administrators orchestrate robotic process automation (RPA) at scale. Some of these updates include:

  • Copilot and refreshed cloud flow designer, now in preview, accelerates automation development speed and introduces a new side panel where users can make changes and engage with a copilot.
  • Custom actions SDK, now in preview, enables users to create, use and manage custom actions for Power Automate for desktop. Through a new dedicated assets library in the Power Automate for desktop designer, developers can accelerate building automation with custom actions tailored to their commonly used and homegrown apps.
  • Work queues, now in preview, are used to store process-relevant data and decouple complex processes and automations, allowing them to communicate asynchronously. Data processing is based on priorities and must be scalable to ensure that each item can be processed exclusively and within agreed SLAs.
  • Describe it to design it, now in preview, can now understand parameters where it automatically fills in values for the required configuration parameters. This minimizes the amount of manual configuration needed to create flows using a natural language description.
  • Format data by examples, generally available, allows users to show Power Automate an example of a value they want to format and the desired output and have Power Automate suggest the appropriate expression to use.

Additional resources:

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6.1.5. Catalog in Power Apps now in preview

Catalog in Power Apps, a new feature within Power Platform now in preview, will give developers and makers a place to publish and share the building blocks that underlie their apps. With every new app that developers create, their organization will enjoy the benefits of a robust catalog that reduces the time and cost of each new app. Moreover, the catalog enables IT admins to maintain and govern their app ecosystems while supporting the organization’s compliance and security. Makers and developers now have a single place to share components that can be used by anyone in the environment and modified as needed, creating both an audit trail and accelerating the app building process.

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6.1.6. Automate Teams Bot creation with Power Virtual Agents, now in preview

With Power Virtual Agents (PVA), users can easily author an intelligent Microsoft Teams bot using natural language to build and point to any website available within the tenant and Teams users. This update, now in preview, will democratize building company-wide help desk bots, such as human resources bots, and department/team-wide bots, such as onboarding bots. Users no longer need to manually define topics and trigger phrases – PVA can auto create them leveraging built-in intent engines. The intelligent PVA bots can be published to Teams and made accessible to every user in the organization.

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6.1.7. Advancements to Copilot in Power Apps

Advancements to Copilot in Power Apps, now in preview, include:

  • The ability to create complex multi-screen apps through natural language conversation and design and update beautiful user interfaces. This will allow developers to spend less time on mundane tasks like aligning buttons and more time solving complex coding challenges.
  • The addition of data processing capabilities to help developers clean and prepare data before they start building the app. Copilot in Power Apps can ingest any Excel file, no matter how loosely structured and create robust structured tables with a variety of data types.
  • Copilot control to bring the power of intelligence to model apps with its intuitive data understanding and convenient navigation. Copilot control in canvas apps also gets a major boost in understanding Dataverse data.
  • The ability to generate descriptions for complex apps and multi-component solutions with apps, data tables and automations.

Additional resources:

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7. Responsible AI 7.1. Responsible AI

7.1.1. Media provenance in development for Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creator

New media provenance capabilities coming to Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creator will enable consumers to verify whether an image or video was generated by AI. The technology uses cryptographic methods to mark and sign AI-generated content with metadata about its origin. Microsoft has been a leader in R&D on methods for authenticating provenance and co-founded Project Origin and the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) standards body.

Microsoft’s media provenance will sign and verify generative content in accordance with the C2PA standard. Microsoft will initially support major image and video formats for Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creator, which are expected in the coming months.

Additional resources:

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8. Security 8.1. Security

8.1.1. Machine learning and ready-to-use source code classifiers now generally available

Unauthorized exfiltration of source code by insiders can expose organizations to great risk of intellectual property loss and potential damages. This can happen when source code is embedded in documents and files, shared in chats and used in other apps. An improved, ready-to-use source code classifier is now generally available, along with 35 other pre-trained classifiers, to help organizations quickly identify and protect the most sensitive data in their digital estate.

These classifiers can detect some of the most critical sensitive content, such as intellectual property and trade secrets, material non-public information, sensitive health and medical files, business sensitive financial information and personally identifiable information for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. This new source code classifier supports 70-plus file extensions, 23 programming languages and can detect embedded and partial source code, based on key customer inputs.

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8.1.2. New APIs available to support investigation and litigation scenarios

Microsoft continues to make investments in the Microsoft Graph API platform to support eDiscovery and Audit scenarios, like finding relevant data for litigations and investigations. Audit Search API and eDiscovery (Premium) Export API, now in preview, will be used by customers to automate tasks that reduce security risks and costs by minimizing the amount of data needed to export outside of the secure compliance boundary.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, legal departments will increase spending on legal technology threefold and 50% of legal work related to major corporate transactions will be automated. The opportunity is growing for developers to leverage the Microsoft Graph APIs to take advantage of this momentum and help organizations automate their workflows for litigation and investigations.

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8.1.3. Microsoft Entra External ID now in preview

Microsoft Entra External ID, the next generation of customer identity and access management, will protect any external identity and effectively control which resources they can access with a flexible, unified platform, adaptive access policies and built-in identity governance. Users can drive engagement with people-centric user flows and accelerate development of secure and compliant apps with simple tooling and an extensible API-first solution that is built on open standards. External ID will be available in preview at Build 2023.

Microsoft Entra Verified ID Wallet SDK library feature unlocks quicker, easier and more secure Customer Identity and Access Management use cases. It allows companies to build verifiable credentials wallets directly into their apps that can hold verified IDs customized to match their brand and cater to the needs of their users. Verified ID Wallet SDK library will be generally available June 2023.

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9. Windows 9.1. Windows

9.1.1. Microsoft Store on Windows creating more opportunity for developers through new tools, features

As developers of all app sizes look for new customers, the vast ecosystem can make them difficult to reach. Microsoft Store on Windows is designed to put developers in the driver’s seat with tools and features to help reach new customers. New features to the Microsoft Store on Windows include:

  • AI Hub: Microsoft Store on Windows is introducing a dedicated section that will curate the best AI experiences, built by the developer community and Microsoft. AI Hub, generally available soon, provides users a simple way to discover, learn and experience the everyday benefits of AI. Developers can now submit their AI experiences to the Microsoft Store on Windows.
  • Microsoft Store Ads expansion: Microsoft Store Ads will expand in two significant ways starting in June. It will serve more than 150 regions, supported by Microsoft Advertising, and will be available in Bing search results. There’s also the addition of a spotlight section on Microsoft Store on Windows, a new premium location for developers to promote content and the ability to leverage videos.
  • AI-generated review summary: Microsoft Store on Windows makes it faster and easier for customers to scan app reviews. Using the power of AI, reviews are analyzed and compiled into a simple summary, making it easier for customers to discover new content. This feature will be generally available soon.
  • AI-generated keywords: Developers will soon be able to reach more customers with AI-generated smart keyword suggestions, resulting in more precise SEO for their product description pages.
  • Restore Apps: When transferring to a new Windows 11 device, app icons will automatically be pinned to their same location, whether in the start menu or taskbar, making a new device feel familiar from the first sign in while also helping developers retain customers. This update is in preview and available to Windows Insiders today.

Additional resources:

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9.1.2. Hybrid Loop becomes a reality: Unlocking the end-to-end Windows AI developer experiences using ONNX Runtime and Olive

Hybrid Loop development, enabled by Olive toolchain and ONNX Runtime, makes it easier for developers to create amazing AI experiences on Windows and other platforms, with less engineering effort and better performance.

Hybrid Loop enables hybrid inferencing across Azure and client processors. Microsoft created the Olive toolchain to ease the burden on developers, simplifying the optimization process and eliminating the need for deep hardware knowledge when optimizing models for varied Windows and other devices across CPU, GPU and NPU. Olive is an extensible toolchain that combines cutting edge techniques for model compression, optimization and compilation.

With ONNX Runtime, users can choose when to leverage the power of the cloud for their AI models. ONNX Runtime now supports the same API for running models on the device or in the cloud, enabling hybrid inferencing scenarios where apps can use local resources when possible and switch to the cloud when needed. With the new Azure EP preview, users can connect to models deployed in AzureML or even to the Azure OpenAI service, starting with the Whisper model. With just a few lines of code, users can specify the cloud endpoint and define criteria for when to use the cloud. This gives more control over costs and user experience, as Azure EP creates the flexibility to choose between using the larger model in the cloud or the local model at runtime.

ONNX Runtime and Olive toolchain are also cross-platform, helping developers bring AI experiences into their apps across Windows, Android, iOS and Linux. Olive toolchain is now in preview.

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9.1.3. Introducing Windows Copilot for Windows 11

Windows is the first PC platform to announce centralized AI assistance for customers. Together with Bing Chat and first- and third-party plugins, users can focus on bringing their ideas to life, completing complex projects and collaborating instead of spending energy finding, launching and working across multiple applications.

Windows Copilot provides personalized answers and helps users take action within Windows 11, like changing a setting, playing a specific playlist or opening a relevant app. Windows Copilot brings Bing Chat, the knowledge of the web and can even include the current context across a user’s applications to help them get even more relevant answers.

Windows Copilot can be docked in a side pane so that it stays persistent next to any of a user’s apps, always there to provide assistance no matter what they’re doing – getting inspired, planning, communicating, creating.

Windows Copilot will start to become available in preview for Windows 11 in June.

Additional resources:

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9.1.4. Windows continues to accelerate support for development on Arm

Windows continues to accelerate support for development on Arm by supporting and welcoming more third-party Windows apps, middleware partners and open-source software available natively to Arm. Some of these support materials, now in preview, include:

  • Visual Studio: Visual Studio 17.6 will ship with MAUI support for Arm.
  • Visual Studio 17.71 Preview 1 now ships with support for Linux development with C++.
  • LLVM v12.0 and onwards for cross-compile and native-compile options for Arm
  • Node 20.0.0 with native Arm support.
  • WiX installer v4.0 is available to create native installers for Arm.
  • Luminar Neo: Skylum is releasing its native Arm version of photo editing AI software, Luminar Neo, which can be installed from the Microsoft Store on Windows.
  • In addition, Unity Player will become generally available in early June for Windows on Arm natively. Developers using the middleware engine can easily target Windows on Arm devices to get native performance on current and future titles.

Additional resources:

9.1.5. Windows creating a home for developers

After listening to developer feedback, Microsoft created a home for developers on Windows with a renewed focus on productivity and performance across all stages of the development lifecycle. These features, now in preview, include:

Dev Home will allow users to quickly set up their machines, connect to GitHub and monitor and manage workflows in one central location. Dev Home is open source and extensible, allowing users to enhance their experience with a customizable dashboard and the tools they need to be successful. Users can also add GitHub widgets to track projects and system widgets to track CPU and GPU performance.

Windows Package Manager now includes WinGet configuration, which handles the setup requirements for an ideal development environment on a Windows machine using a WinGet configuration file, reducing device setup time from days to hours. Developers no longer need to worry about searching for the right version of the software, packages, tools or frameworks to download or settings to apply. WinGet configuration reduces this manual and error-prone process down to a single command with a WinGet configuration file.

Dev Drive is a new type of storage volume designed to provide developers with a file system that meets their needs for both performance and security. It is based on the Resilient File System (ReFS) and combined with a new performance mode capability in Microsoft Defender Antivirus provides up to 30% performance improvement in build times for file input/output (I/O) scenarios over the in-market Windows 11 version. The new performance mode is more secure for developer workloads than folder or process exclusions, providing a solution that balances security with performance.

Windows Terminal is getting smarter with GitHub Copilot X. Users of GitHub Copilot will be able to take advantage of natural language AI both inline and in an experimental chat experience to recommend commands, explain errors and take actions within the Terminal app. Microsoft is also experimenting with GitHub Copilot-powered AI in other developer tools like WinDBG to help developers’ complete tasks with less toil.

Additionally, dev delighters, such as taskbar improvements and archive compression support, will aid in developer satisfaction.

Additional resources:

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