Build 2015 marks an important step in our journey with developers – and it’s just the beginning

Kicking off Day 2 of Build today, I had the pleasure of expanding on the news and vision that Satya, Scott and Terry shared yesterday. We built upon the big ideas and bold ambitions from Day 1 when we announced our intention to create a world of 1 billion Windows 10 devices, and to create the most attractive development platform ever through the Universal Windows Platform (with new “bridge” toolkits) and the power of harnessing data in the cloud. We took the next step today by grounding these concepts in practical business conversations and code. Add in some announcements of our own, and we were able to show real-world scenarios and solutions from some of our partners to illustrate how developers can really light up Microsoft platforms and technologies.

One of the most exciting parts of today’s keynote revolved around Media and Entertainment, starting with an incredible demonstration of drumming by our friends at Muzik, with a special greeting from Questlove from the Roots. Muzik has created low-latency Bluetooth air drumsticks that enable musicians to drum into the air with full spatial awareness, meaning there’s no need for a full drum set. Parents, imagine your kids putting on a set of headphones and doing their best Questlove impression in total silence. The Propellerhead team also shared their experiences building a music collaboration app across Windows, Android and iOS.

On John Shewchuk’s blog, he shares detailed code and walkthroughs of our coding demos.

For commercial developers, I announced support for Autodesk’s Spark platform, which will provide 3D-printing capability for Windows 10. Siemens demonstrated an engineering solution that offers immersive collaboration for engineering projects on a Surface Hub. For most developers, creating reports is the bane of their existence, and Acumatica showed how they were able to easily create a dynamic reporting solution with PowerBI.

I introduced David Treadwell and Kevin Gallo, who walked us through the process of building a Universal Windows Platform app that spans Windows 10 devices, including phones, tablets, PCs and Xbox. The Universal Windows Platform’s UX controls automatically adapt to different screen sizes, and developers can tailor applications to the unique capabilities of each device. David shared more details about how we will enable developers to use their Web, .NET and Win32, Android Java and C++ code, and Objective-C code to build new Windows applications.

Kevin showed the process of taking an application from Win32 to the Windows Store, as well as how to take a website and build a Windows app out of it. Also launched today was a showcase of some of the new rendering engine improvements for the Microsoft Edge browser (formerly Project Spartan). Kevin showed an app called Flight Arcade to demonstrate how Microsoft Edge pushes the boundaries of the Web platform using WebGL, Audio and Gamepad APIs. We demonstrated re-using this cloud-based, Web app code and bridging to Windows with full access to the Universal Windows Platform (with new “bridge” toolkits). Finally, he demonstrated the steps for bridging both Android and iOS apps to Windows.

Adding to the app titles announced Wednesday, we showed that Windows 10 momentum is building, with additional support via new apps from top brands including FitBit, Shazam and rdio. We also highlighted great partner stories, including our partnership with Box in developing a new universal app for Windows.

While many developers are looking to reuse existing non-Microsoft code to build Windows apps, we also know that there are developers who are looking to start with Windows and then move to other platforms. For these scenarios, people typically look to Xamarin and Unity as mainstays. Today John Shewchuk added another option in announcing a new technology called ManifoldJS, which is an open source JavaScript library for creating hosted apps across Android, iOS and Windows using the Web experience you’ve already made. John explains it in greater detail on his blog. One of the companies that is already building on this kind of infrastructure is SalesForce, which demonstrated their SalesForce One solution that combines the best of the Web with the best of Windows.

We aren’t done talking JavaScript quite yet. We also dove into asm.js, a strict subset of JavaScript usable as a low-level, efficient target language for compilers – simply. Think native-like performance using JavaScript. Then there’s Vorlon.js, a remote debugging and testing tool for JavaScript that helps you remotely load inspect, test and debug JavaScript code, running on any device with a Web browser only.

Microsoft and GitHub also announced the availability of GitHub Enterprise on Azure, enabling companies to develop and build enterprise-grade software by creating their own instance of the collaborative code platform already used by millions of developers. In addition, by using the GitHub extension for Visual Studio, developers can more easily connect and work directly with public or private GitHub projects from within Visual Studio 2015. With Developer Assistant powered by Bing, developers can find and retrieve code samples and projects from GitHub, the largest code host in the world. To learn more about these extensions for Visual Studio, check out our blogs: Announcing the GitHub Extension for Visual Studio and GitHub Integration in Developer Assistant.

We also introduced Pompeii, or more accurately, a 3D map of the city of Pompeii, created from 50 hours of drone scanning that generated 30,000 pictures, 30GB of data and 1,200 hours of data computation. Using an A7 Azure VM to produce 3D meshes, with 720 billion pixels and tens of millions of polygons generated from Azure, an in-browser application was created with Babylon.js that allows users to navigate Pompeii using a gaming controller.

Joseph Sirosh came on stage to talk about data, focusing on four areas: Analysis and Reporting, Real-time Operations, Predictive Analytics and Reinventing Industries. Joseph demoed an app called How Old Do I Look where he used an intelligent face analysis API in the Azure Marketplace to demonstrate PowerBI and Azure Stream Analytics. He then talked about using Azure Machine Learning to predict the future by featuring Microsoft employee Adam Garland, who beat Satya, Bing and Google in predicting March Madness – with no prior experience using Azure Machine Learning. Joseph also used Machine Learning and his own mapped Genome to demonstrate how to understand risk profiles for disease. Finally, Joseph brought out Erik Åsberg from eSmart Systems, a Norwegian startup that is using Azure services and the power of machine learning and data to reinvent the industry of power management.

We also introduced Project Oxford, beta versions of a portfolio of REST APIs and SDKs, which enable developers to easily add machine learning-powered services into their solutions to interpret and understand multimedia-like audio, text, image and video.

You can’t talk app scenarios without talking gaming – the segment that typically drives the most app revenue. Today there were some amazing examples of game developers who are pushing the envelope, like Witch from Square Enix, the first photorealistic real-time rendering on PCs with DirectX 12. We also announced a new open source project enabling Minecraft modding (modifications to the game) in the Java language from within Visual Studio. High school student Aidan Brady, a Minecraft modding celebrity and creator of the Mekanism Mod, and Briana Roberts from Microsoft, gave a demo and showed off building a simple mod in Java.

We are constantly working with developer communities and companies to host hackfests as we partner across the industry to help developers. Today I announced Reactor, the code name for the new Microsoft workspaces that we’re opening up in San Francisco. These spaces will provide expert mentorship and technical advice, meeting and co-working incubation space for early-stage startups and a central location for developer communities to come together.

We covered a ton of content in two hours and words alone can’t do it all justice. The good news is that you can see it all yourself on Channel 9, 24 hours after each presentation.

Remember that our story doesn’t end today. We are running sessions through end-of-day Friday and posting the videos online as well. Next month we kick off our Build Tour to bring the best of Build’s technical content to 25 cities around the world.

Build 2015 marks an important step in our journey with developers, but it’s just the beginning. I encourage everyone to check out the technical content, download the tools and let us know what you think.

Looking forward to building with you in the future!


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