Microsoft announces new tools and services to help developers modernize existing apps and build more intelligent ones, on every platform, for every platform

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

SEATTLE – May 19, 2017 – Satya Nadella, Scott Guthrie and Harry Shum welcomed thousands of developers to Seattle for Build 2017 – Microsoft’s annual developer conference. During his opening keynote Nadella announced that Windows had reached 500 million Windows 10 monthly active devices and noted how – together – Windows, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Azure offer developers more than a billion opportunities to connect their innovations with Microsoft customers. Microsoft also announced new Azure data and cloud services to help developers quickly modernize their existing apps, new AI and Azure services that allow any developer to more easily build intelligent apps, with understanding and natural user interaction capabilities, and showcased new data, IoT edge and AI services built for a future with an intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

Next wave of creativity with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, available later this year

  • Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will empower innovative experiences with a modern, unified design for cross-device experiences and an easier path for developers to create for the future of computing.
  • Introducing a new design system for the next wave of creativity across Windows devices – Microsoft Fluent Design System will deliver intuitive, harmonious, responsive and inclusive cross-device experiences and interactions.
  • Windows experiences move with you across Windows, iOS, and Android – Microsoft Graph is an intelligent fabric that helps connect dots between people, conversations, projects, and content within the Microsoft cloud – ensuring experiences flow seamlessly between Windows, iOS, and Android devices.

Introducing the world’™s first Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers – no markers required

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will also see the magic of mixed reality brought to consumers around the world, and Microsoft has unveiled the first Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers with no markers required. The motion controllers offer precise and responsive tracking of movement in your field of view using the sensors in a Windows Mixed Reality headset

A vision for more intelligence – from the cloud to the edge

Our world is overloaded with information, every minute, and yet it is in this very information – data – that opportunities and insights abound. To help customers realize these opportunities, Microsoft shared an early peek into innovations it is bringing to help every person and organization achieve more. In support of this vision Microsoft announced the following:

  • A preview of Azure IoT Edge, technology that extends the intelligence – and other benefits – of cloud computing to edge devices.
  • Extensions to the Microsoft Graph to combine insights from the world of work with device insights and contextual awareness of the physical world.

The cloud for every developer, and tooling to target any platform and device

Microsoft showcased how it is meeting developers where they are, and helping them be more successful, with new Microsoft Azure and Visual Studio services and tools to help modernize existing applications and quickly build intelligent apps for all major platforms:

  • Introducing Azure Cosmos DB, built from the ground up to power planet-scale cloud services and data-intensive applications – from IoT to AI to mobile
  • New MySQL- and PostgreSQL-managed services that join Azure SQL Database to give developers expanded choice and flexibility
  • An early preview of Microsoft’s new database migration services, which will allow Oracle and SQL Server customers to more easily move their data and quickly modernize their apps
  • General availability of Visual Studio 2017 for Mac, which enables developers to work seamlessly across Windows and Mac environments with full support for mobile, web and cloud workloads.

New developer on-ramps to the world’s largest productivity platform

With more than 100 million monthly commercial active users, Office 365 is where the world works. Today Microsoft announced plans to better connect developers with Office 365 customers around the globe:

  • Publish apps for Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365.
  • New Microsoft Graph APIs, now available to developers, including APIs from SharePoint and Planner.

AI to augment the capabilities of every developer, organization, platform and person

Microsoft also highlighted its vision to amplify human ingenuity with intelligent technology, bringing AI to every developer through the unique combination of the Microsoft cloud and AI. New announcements included the following:

  • The company added new services to the industry’™s broadest offering of cognitive services and now 29 services for developers, with unique customization options. That enables developers to infuse off-the-shelf or custom intelligence capabilities such as vision, speech, language, knowledge and search into their app and bot experiences in any scenario. One example is a new PowerPoint add-in called Presentation Translator, which leverages Microsoft’™s Translation APIs, was featured, allowing real-time translation to multiple languages during any presentation.
  • In addition to Harman Kardon’™s Invoke intelligent speaker with Cortana, partnerships were also signed with HP on devices and Intel on reference platforms to deliver Cortana-enabled devices.
  • The Cortana Skills Kit is now in public preview. Developers can build skills for Cortana by creating a bot and publishing it to the new Cortana channel of the Bot Framework.

A demonstration was provided on how multiple Microsoft products and services, including Dynamics 365, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Cortana Skills, Microsoft Graph and Sentiment Analysis, will be integrated into Tact, the sales experience platform that turns any connected device into a AI-powered virtual sales assistant, later this year.