If I was to summarise //build/ London in three words it would be:
Packed, slick and code-tastic.
//build/ is without doubt, an event focused entirely on Windows developers and nobody else. It offered sneak peaks on Window 10 coding features, demonstrations from Microsoft’s technical evangelists, a fun (super hard) challenge and lots of cool giveaways. What I liked about //build/, is that it didn’t pretend to be anything else or try to appeal to the masses – it was solely aimed at driving excitement amongst developers and educating them on new capabilities – all of course with an underlying agenda to get developers publishing more apps!
Microsoft dived into various demonstrations on enhanced Windows 10 development features such as improvements with new XAML language services, design modes (previews), visual tree inspector and profiling tools.
We also got to see a bit more of the upcoming Edge browser – a dramatic promo video with the strapline “It’s time to open the window, and blur the edge, between consumption and creation, between the universal and personal, between standing still, and moving forward”. Edge comes with 4,200 interoperability improvements – meaning more features and less boundaries between native and web development. One of my favorite quotes from Microsoft that drew a mutual appreciation and laugh from the crowd was “there are 44 billion websites in the world – can you build an app for 44 billion websites…?” Microsoft went on to say that trillions of pages are crawled everyday to check for compatibility and that “sometimes you need to break something to move forward. If it’s compatible, you’re not changing”.
The challenge was particularly engaging – a quiz whereby everyone in the audience had to participate by standing up. Each question was displayed on the screen with two possible answers – one for heads and one for tails. If you pick heads you put your hands on your head, if you pick tails… well you get it! If you chose wrong then you had to sit down until one winner was left. With no coding background I was one of the first to sit down but the lucky winner got to pick from a Raspberry Pi, Lumia device or a BAND.
Overall //build/ was a very well put together event that tried it’s best to engage with the audience and get feedback first hand from developers’ own experiences. A high benchmark for developer focused events was indeed set.