Remarks by Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, Developer Platform and Evangelism, on April 30, 2015.
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: Great job. That was really good.
A big hand — those guys cranked it out. That’s exactly what you were looking for, the right stuff, everybody is awake now. The nice thing for us is we get to take the work that Kevin showed you and David showed you and we bring it to life. We’ve already started working with developers building solutions on the technology. So you see a slide here of Shazam, Shazam is taking a Web experience, turned it into an application. It’s a nice mix, because it uses C++ code for doing the music recognition, but it’s an all Web-based experience.
We put it into the store. They can deep link, so from within the app itself you can go in and download music. So it’s got links back into the platform itself. And from there there’s actually an opportunity for monetization through a referral program. So the RDO one we saw earlier is also a Web-based experience. So we’re starting to bring these things to life. I’ve got a couple here just to take from where Kevin was.
First of all is one of my favorites. I’m a long-time Fitbit user, about 2,500 miles a year. And so here two things that come out of what Kevin was showing you. One, today if you use Fitbit to connect to the PC you need to use the Bluetooth dongle. So you plug it into the side of the PC and then when you’re working and you’re moving around that’s how you do the Bluetooth connection. You don’t need the dongle anymore. It connects automatically. We don’t have to take — use that for the PC. It works just like the phone. The second thing is building from the ground up, taking advantage of the responsive design.
In this particular case you’ll notice here’s my control panel. This is my dashboard. If I start to slide down it gets very clean as I come down and here it’s sort of tablet form. If I go a little smaller here this is phone UI. And John has got it up and running on the phone next to me and you’ll notice — let’s see if they can project that, the phone UI looks exactly the same now as what we’ve done on the desktop. So you have this really great ability to take the app and scale it across all the devices without having to do extra work.
Now the other side of this particular conversation would be up to the Xbox. So we switch over to the Xbox, I can take that same dashboard and here I’m going right into the Xbox and notice I’m using a pretty radically different way to navigate around this, but I get all the features through that Universal App. I think there’s a magic of code here, because a couple of your guys have more steps now than I do, which is — there’s just something wrong on that one, as well. I’ve been pacing backstage for hours.
So here’s a good example on the consumer side, Fitbit, we want to thank them for letting us show it.
Now, on the other side of the coin, on the commercial side, this is an application from Siemens, this is called JT To Go. And if you think about design, this is sort of the designer for physicists. So if you want to build bridges, if you want to build ships, or in this case if you want to build rocket ships, this is literally the toolset they use, very high-end, has all the physics applied along with the math.
Now the cool thing is I have it here on the Surface Pro where I can use it with touch and interaction, but the same application, if we go back over to the Surface Hub, now we see JT To Go up on the big screen, and here we can collaborate, work on it together. John can use the smooth inking.
JOHN SHEWCHUK: Yes. So this is the actual rocket from Orbital. And notice you can see pretty amazing stuff like this connection here. Maybe that’s a little too close, something like that.
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: Yes, and we could work on it together. The pen has decided to —
JOHN SHEWCHUK: Maybe over there.
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: — give up on me. Well, we could work on it together, but we’re going to use your pen for now.
JOHN SHEWCHUK: It’s all real code, that’s the challenge.
So one of the great things that we can do in addition to what’s happening here is we can bring in, for example, experts. So if Guggs and I, who happen to not be rocket scientists, wanted to understand whether we had a problem here, I just bring up Skype, have the conversation, and off we go.
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: And Skype is built-in. So take advantage of all the different services with the applications. And so a good set of conversations. There’s a whole set of partners we’re working with on this and ISVs. I wanted to sort of build off of where David and Kevin were, and sort of link into one of the conversations we do have on a pretty regular basis.
We often get questions. They showed us how to sort of build a Universal Windows App from scratch, how to bridge in. Sometimes we’ll get the question, if I’m starting from scratch, and I want to build an application that runs across all the devices, what’s a good way to do that?
And so there are multiple plans or ways to do that. Last year, two years ago we showed Unity for the gaming platform. Last year we took what Kevin had built the day before, on day one, it was a .NET application. We used Xamarin to bring it over to iOS and Android. So this year we thought we’d pick up on the Web theme, and if we wanted to build a Web experience or a Web application that runs across all devices, how could we do that?
JOHN SHEWCHUK: So as you saw earlier today with Kevin’s demo, with the flight game, what Shazam and others are doing, we’re able to take a Web application, because a Web application is very simple using modern frameworks, and what we’d like to be able to do is very quickly generate a Windows app. The key to this is a new format from the W3C called a Manifest. And I’ve some Manifest for this particular app sitting over here.
And really it’s the simplest thing. It’s just a JSON description of where the app is located on the Web, whether you want this thing to be full screen, icons, various things like that. Again, all standardized. We load that into the Windows Store by giving it the URL to the app, and it goes and produces the Windows application and we saw great examples of Kevin showing that up and running.
Now wouldn’t it be cool if you could take the same manifest, the same approach, but also create that same kind of experience but on, say, iOS or Android or other platforms.
Now I’ve already done that. So let me just actually have this work. Here’s Manifold JS. There’s the URL to my app. I’m just going to turn on logging with debug level so you can see what happens. There it is. It’s reached out across the Web. It’s picked up that Manifest, and it’s using it to go generate a bunch of applications. In fact, let’s go see what it’s done.
So we’re going to go down into the Shifter application, and I’m just going to launch Explorer here, so you can kind of see what’s going on. And notice it’s now automatically generated apps for Android, for Chrome, for Cordova, Firefox, iOS, Web, you name it. These are now ready to go as apps.
So let’s dig into the Android example. I’m going to launch this. That’s going to bring up Android Studio. And it’s going to use a very powerful piece of open source technology, Cordova, so that it can use that set of Web technologies as an Android application and we can see that coming up now. So here’s our Android application up and running. We could go through this, look at all the Java and so on. Now, I’m just going to hit run and that would go off and compile it. But, Steve, you have the apps up here and running.
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: Let me bring that back up. So I have two devices here. I have an Android device and I have an iOS device and we have that same Shifter app basically built and running on both of the platforms straight from what John did, really easy to work with and of course we could have some fun picking our favorite frameworks here if we’d like. Now this might almost seem like magic, but it’s amazing how many partners we’re working with that have actually started this way.
So what I’m doing here is I’m closing down everything and I wanted to talk for a second about one of the challenges when you start building apps this way. I mean it’s fantastic to be able to generate these apps and put them out there. But, we lose one of the most powerful features of the Web, which is the fantastic debugging capabilities that are built into the browser.
So we’ve got a cool additional project that we wanted to announce today called Vorlon . Now what Vorlon does is it’s a package that you add to your Web app and it reaches out across the Web to a Vorlon server running in Node.js, and as you can see this is connected to our Android and iPhone app. I’m going to go start up the Windows version of the app and as you can see it’s now popped that one up. I can select it. Not only that I can reach out anywhere, this app could be running in Australia, we would see that thing pop up. I can identify it just to make sure that I’m thinking about the right one. So we have the ability to interact with it. I can look around at the DOM. I have a lot of capabilities here.
In fact, I can go and do things like write to the console, all that stuff. I’m just going to do the simplest thing. I’m just going to call a function that would be equivalent to if I clicked that I liked one of these frameworks and I’m just running that remotely. Notice I reached out across the Web, injected that into a running Windows application, running iPhone application, all nice new ways to develop using the Web technologies.
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: Great stuff, John.
Give John a hand. (Applause.)
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: Thank you, John. And I think in terms of open sourcing and sharing code we’ve done a lot of work with GitHub. John says all the projects here will be up on GitHub. One of the things that they’ve done is they’ve worked really well with us on students, a bunch of areas. I’m happy today to announce we now have GitHub enterprise for Azure up and running. That means if you’re behind the firewall, the commercial entity, you can use your Active Directory for sharing code. We can scale to all the developers out there and work together on Azure. So again, just trying to contribute into the community for a bunch of different areas, make sure we can share code and projects and work together.
Now I’m not going to use switching gears, because that’s been overused. Why don’t we go Pythonesque with a now for something completely different.
JOHN SHEWCHUK: We’ll go that way.
STEVE GUGGENHEIMER: One of the conversations that I thought Scott did a good job on yesterday was around data, and scaling out data, security for data, Data Lake, there was just a whole bunch of parts to that. And we end up in a lot of conversations where people want to talk about data as a platform. Data as a platform is incredibly interesting, but you have to be able to do something with it. The ability to understand and act on data and bring it to life, that’s where the magic is in a lot of the cases.
There’s nobody better to talk about that than our own Joseph Sirosh, who leads the Machine Learning group, an expert in the area. So I thought we’d have him come out and sort of give us a walk around the park. In this case, building on top of the data with machine learning, real-time analytics — let’s see where Joseph is coming out from, there he is.
Joseph, welcome to the stage. How are you? Have some fun. We’ll be back in a little while.