Microsoft’s annual Build 2016 tour came to London again this week to deliver a sold-out showcase of the latest in developer tools for the Windows platform to over 300 enthusiastic developers. The day was well executed, the sessions were concise, and there was enough audience interaction to maintain engagement throughout the day. Clearly, after five years of running this event, they have basically perfected it.
Windows Developer Platform Director Kevin Gallo was joined by David Rousset, Andy Wigley, and Thiago Almeida to deliver eight segments with a strong focus on the Universal Windows Platform, the ease of developing apps for multiple types of devices (including using the new Xbox dev-mode feature), and the anniversary edition of Windows 10.
Following a code-heavy Xamarin demo, Rousset provided the audience with live demos as he worked to ‘bust’ five common myths surrounding web apps. One of which was ‘web apps are difficult to debug’. He asked the audience to connect their mobile phones to Vorlon (a cross-platform remote web debugging tool), picked one at random and debugged it live on screen in a matter of seconds. The audience were clearly impressed giving this ‘busted’ myth a round of applause.
Having dabbled with HTML5 myself, I particularly enjoyed the segment on ‘building an engaging experience’. Using live XML coding to create animations and fluid layout styling, my inner creative rejoiced! They revealed that the new XML anniversary edition SDK would contain a feature that allows you to edit XML without exiting the debugging screen, something that clearly ‘bugged’ Windows developers before as this probably got the best reaction all day.
In terms of prizes and giveaways, they repeated last year’s game of real-life ‘heads and tails’ (everyone stands up, they present questions and you answer by putting your hands either on your head or ‘tail’ and the last three standing won tech goodies). There was a prize draw for the latest Surface Book and of course, everyone walked away with a //build/ 2016 t-shirt.
Almeida rounded off the presentations by treating the attendees to a little bit of IoT with the help of a Lego man (below). Updates were shared on what’s new in Azure and IoT (including five new starter kits), and plans to improve global availability of the Azure IoT Suite. As we have seen with their competitors, IoT will continue to be a focal point for the Microsoft team.
The day wrapped up with a classic Q+A round open to the attendees. It was now evening, and there had been no mention of the news regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn that caught so many by surprise at the beginning of this week, so I seized the opportunity to try find out what this meant for developers! Unfortunately, no one from Microsoft would take the bait … maybe it’s too soon to tell. We’re going to have to wait and see.
Another year, another Build conference where Microsoft set the standard for how these types of events should be run. I came away feeling inspired and energised by the new opportunities presented, so no doubt the actual Windows developers in the room felt the same.
Submitted by Charlotte Dawson