ICYMI: The hot announcements from Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference

Last week, Microsoft hosted their annual Build developer conference and over the course of three days they made several announcements that are exciting news for both developers and the people who use their apps. They returned once again to San Francisco for this event, and with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop to the keynote stage, this event could just as easily been called “Bridge 2015” instead of Build as they announced multiple ways that they are serving as a technological bridge with their Windows 10 platform.

We wanted to share the highlights with you, in case you happened to miss the news …

If you’re in a rush, check out this recap video from The Verge – you can get the best of Build in under 10 minutes.

But if you can stick around – and it won’t take long! – let’s start with the easy stuff, and work our way up to the “Oh wow, they went there!” moments.

It was announced that the new name of the Microsoft browser – replacing Internet Explorer with the arrival of Windows 10 is not “Project Spartan” but actually Microsoft Edge. Among other things, it was announced that Microsoft Edge will support Mozilla and Chrome extensions.

They announced the release of .NET Core, which is open source software that will allow developers to build cloud apps on multiple platforms including Linux and Mac OSX. Microsoft set up .NET Core foundational libraries on GitHub, so developers can get started right away.

There were numerous cool demos of the Microsoft HoloLens VR headset, including this one all about ways to study human anatomy. This on-stage demo was cool, too. Expect to see a lot more about HoloLens over the course of this year.

The pending arrival of Windows 10 was of course a big theme for Build, and Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of operating systems, said that the company wants to see Windows 10 on one billion devices within the next two to three years! “Our goal for Windows 10 is to build the most attractive developer platform ever,” Myerson said.

To make that happen, there will be much more to come with the Universal Windows Platform, whereby apps can be built once to run on ALL Windows 10 compatible devices.

And if that wasn’t enough, Microsoft announced that they are going to make it possible for Windows 10 to run reworked Android and iOS apps. This should have broad appeal to mobile app developers all over the place.

Equally cool (in our opinion), Microsoft showed off “Continuum” which essentially will make your Windows 10 phone capable of becoming a full-fledged desktop computer. You simply take a Windows Phone running Windows 10, connect it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and the UI from the device will adapt automatically to the new inputs and outputs.

As Microsoft MVP and developer Lars Klint noted in his blog: “With Continuum you build your app to work on mobile and desktop, and it will automatically scale to fit the output size used. If the app is used on the phone, the layout will use the phone dimensions, whereas if the app is displayed on a large screen connected to the phone it will display as a desktop app. That is pretty slick. That is highly useful.” And we would most certainly agree.

On a lighter note – and just for fun – you should check out the age-guessing site that Microsoft showed off during the event called “How-Old.net“. People are having a good time finding ways to throw off the results.

Other news of interest to developers can always be found in the Building Apps for Windows blog; and we were excited to learn that Microsoft is taking Build on the road to 25 cities around the world, starting later this month, and running through June. These day-long events will be free to attend but do require pre-registration. Check it out. Maybe we will see you there!

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