Microsoft Build 2017: The Biggest Announcements for Developers

Microsoft Build 2017: The Biggest Announcements for Developers
  • Visual Studio 2017 for Mac available to everyone
  • Microsoft made a lot of announcements around Azure
  • The company strengthened its platform of AI services as well

Microsoft made a host of announcements at Build 2017 in Seattle this week - Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is coming later this year with a brand new video editing app and other features like Cloud-enabled clipboard, OneDrive Files On-Demand, Timeline to revisit all your activity, and a whole lot more. But at the end of the day, Build is a developers conference and there was a whole lot more in store for those who design apps and services on Microsoft platforms.

Let's take a look at the biggest developer-focussed announcements from Build 2017:

1. Visual Studio 2017 for Mac
Unveiled last year, Visual Studio 2017 for Mac is now out of preview and available to everyone. Developers can use the IDE to build Web-based applications using ASP.NET Core and front-end languages like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript; leverage .NET APIs covering 100 percent "of the APIs for Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS development"; build games using Unity; and more.

visual studio 2017 mac visual studio

2. Azure Cosmos DB
Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft's distributed data service that aims to combine high availability and consistency with low latency across multiple geographical regions. The service is designed for globally distributed, highly distributed apps, and Microsoft is backing it "by the most comprehensive SLAs" aka uptime guarantees.


3. Azure IoT Edge
Potentially the most exciting announcement at Build 2017, Microsoft defines IoT edge devices as IoT devices that are able to leverage the cloud infrastructure to extended their capabilities. With Azure IoT Edge, Microsoft wants to "make it easy to securely distribute cloud intelligence locally" by offering seamless deployment of multiple cloud services.

4. MySQL- and PostgreSQL-managed services
Continuing the trend of offering users and developers what they want without worry about platform lock-in (or lack thereof), Microsoft has announced Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL managed services that will offer developers alternatives to its own SQL database offering.

5. Cortana Skills Kit
Developers can now extend the capabilities of Cortana, Microsoft's voice-based assistant, by writing their own 'skills' using the Cortana Skills Kit. Developers can leverage the Microsoft Bot Framework to create the bot's conversational logic and use the Cortana Channel in the Bot Framework to add speech capabilities.


6. Azure Database Migration Service limited preview
Microsoft also used Build 2017 to announce an early preview of the Azure Database Migration Service that will offer to migrate on-premises SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL databases to Azure.

7. Xamarin Live Player
The latest alpha releases of Visual Studio Tools for Xamarin for Windows, and Visual Studio for Mac feature preview support for Microsoft's Xamarin Live Player apps that allow developers to write, execute, and debug code continuously on an iOS or Android device straight from the IDE.

xamarin live player pairing xamarin

8. New Microsoft Cognitive Services
Microsoft has added new services to its Cognitive Services portfolio with the addition of Bing Custom Search, Custom Vision Service, Custom Decision Service, and Video Indexer. Read more about each of these new services.

Microsoft Brings Real-Time Speech-to-Text Translation on PowerPoint

Microsoft also announced XAML Standard 1.0 and .NET Standard 2.0; a new framework called adaptive cards that lets you define how your content will be presented across a variety of platform; Azure Batch AI Training; Windows Mixed Reality Development Kits; and new bot capabilities including analytics and payments, among other things. Also see Microsoft's other announcements at Build for Azure and Office developers.

Disclosure: Microsoft sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel in Seattle for Build 2017.


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