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Microsoft BUILD 2014 Day 1: new and exciting stuff for MS developers

Prerequisites (June 2015⇒):

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Core information:

Here is the first feedback on Day 1, direct from the most competent source in Microsoft:
Build 2014 San Francisco Robert Green, Channel 9 [evangelist] Interview [DeveloperExpress YouTube channel, April 3, 2014]

Robert Green from Microsoft stops by to talk with Seth Juarez from Developer Express about the cool new things announced at Build this year.

Seth Juarez: Analytics Program Manager; Technical Evangelist (2 years, till June 2012)
Robert Green: Technical Evangelist in the Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) group (since January 2011) for the Visual Studio Toolbox weekly show on Channel 9 (since May’11) and the LightSwitch product (till Aug’12)

  1. Universal Apps (till [4:09])
  2. Cortana and related stuff (till [6:00])
  3. Windows 8.1 Update 1 (till [7:04])
  4. Start Menu preview (till [7:54])
  5. general openness, roadmap etc. (till [8:25]) 

See also Build 2014-Day One Observations [Seth Juarez on DevExpress Data Blog, April 3, 2014]

My own, “not only for developers” feedbacks you can read in the following posts:
Microsoft BUILD 2014 Day 1: consistency and superiority accross the whole Windows family extended now to TVs and IoT devices as well—$0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners in sub 9” phone and tablet space 
[‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 2, 2014] OR Microsoft is going against Android and Apple with a vastly updated Windows/Windows Phone 8.1 for $0 royalty fee on smartphones and tablets with screens under 9”, integrated Windows desktop experience (upcoming in the next update), capability of creating Universal Windows apps accross the whole Windows family (demonstrated with the Modern version of the Office upcoming later), an open-source cross-platform WinJS framework, the first true digital assistant for phones (Cortana), showing that for TVs, as well as planning for IoT devices.
IDF14 Shenzhen: Intel is levelling the Wintel playing field with Android-ARM by introducing new competitive Windows tablet price points from $99 – $129[‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 4, 2014]

So if we recapitulate:

  • You can create new Windows Phone 8.1 apps which run WinPRT [WinRT for Win8 Phone], very similar to Windows RT used for Windows 8.1.
  • You can create Windows 8.1 apps which use WinRT.
  • You can create universal apps, which are really just a Windows 8.1 and a Windows Phone 8.1 apps with shared files.
  • Or you can create Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1 apps, which is similar to the phone apps we did until now, but with new APIs (like Windows Phone 8++).

Some important feedbacks on Day 1 from Jonathan Allen, InfoQ:

  1. Introducing Common XAML UI – In today’s Build Keynote we heard that Microsoft is finally starting the reconciliation process with the introduction of Common XAML UI. Based on the WinRT API, the Common XAML UI framework will allow the same UI code to be shared on phones, tablets, desktop computers, and eventually Xbox One. … Common XAML and Universal Apps are available in all versions Visual Studio 2013 Update 2. Apr 02, 2014
  2. A WPF Q&A – A panel of 9 Microsoft desktop developers were available during a lunch time Q&A. This session was not filmed, but we were able to record some of the WPF questions and Microsoft’s answers. … Microsoft is looking into offering the same kind of functionality for XAML that we currently see in web sites via Browser Link. Partial functionality is available via Snoop or XAML Spy. Touch and desktop applications came up. And again, the panel mentioned the possibility to offer Common XAML for the desktop. …  Apr 03, 2014
  3. A Q&A with the XAML Performance Leadership Team – This panel discussion mostly covers XAML, but there are still some thoughts on its relationship to WPF and the desktop in general. … Microsoft intends to continue copying features form WPF into XAML, but in a measured fashion. The features they choose to move are based largely on developer feedback, especially in terms of pain points. Apr 03, 2014
  4. Changes to the Silverlight Runtime for Windows Phone – Until now we’ve been focusing on Common XAML, but now our attention turns to Silverlight for Windows Phone. Though Common XAML (i.e. Universal Apps) is meant to eventually replace it, the Silverlight framework is still a viable option for Windows Phone developers. Apr 03, 2014
    Which Framework to Use
    – New Apps: Silverlight 8.x or XAML
    – Existing Windows Store App: XAML
    – Lock Screen App: Silverlight 8.x
    – Camera Based App, VOIP: Silverlight 8.x
    – Music App: Silverlight 8.0 or XAML
    – Existing Silverlight Phone Apps: Silverlight 8.x or XAML
    For more information see the What’s New with Windows Phone Silverlight Apps video on Channel 9.

  5. Future-Proofing Desktop Applications for Hardware Enhancements – Though CPUs aren’t getting any faster, other hardware capabilities are rapidly increasing. This is most evident in high DPI displays and the way they shrink legacy applications to the point of illegibility. So for perhaps the first time since the 90’s, future proofing for better monitors is becoming vital. With Windows 8, scaling was available up to 150%. Windows 8.1 bumped that up to 200% and the soon to be released Win 8.1 Update will further push that to 250%. But that’s only for high-end machines, mainstream machines are only expected to need 150% scaling in 2015. … Microsoft’s plan to work around this is to leverage Remote Desktop. By setting the scaling at values from 100% to 500%, developers can see how their application behaves without a high DPI monitor. It isn’t an ideal experience, as the screen is zoomed in to potentially absurd levels. A whitepaper on how to enable this will be published sometime next month. … We mentioned that Kinect might need to be supported. How that support will happen for common applications is not yet known. They may eventually include it into the pointer API, but as it stands you have to use the Kinect Windows SDK directly.  Apr 02, 2014

Other Day 1 feedbacks from Jeff Martin, InfoQ:

  1. Highlights from Microsoft’s Build 2014 Opening Keynote – The opening keynote for Build 2014 kicked off with several big announcements. Today marked the formal announcement of Windows Phone 8.1 and the soon to be released Windows 8.1 Update. Apr 02, 2014 
  2. Microsoft Opens Windows to the Universal App: One App for All Platforms – Microsoft has formally introduced Windows universal apps, allowing developers to write a single app that will run on all Windows-based devices: phones, tablets, and PCs. This move unifies the platform in a significant way. Apr 02, 2014
  3. Features of the New Windows Phone App Model – Windows Phone 8.1 has several features that developers can utilize to improve their apps and provide a better user experience. At Build 2014 Andrew Clinick gave a presentation titled, “The New Windows Phone App Model”, in which he described the new features of this model that is coming with Windows Phone 8.1. Apr 03, 2014

Then here is a summarized feedback from the most competent MS insider on all Web and related Visual Studio stuff in Build 2014 San Francisco Scott Hunter Azure Development Team Interview [DeveloperExpress YouTube channel, April 3, 2014]

Scott Hunter from Microsoft stops by our booth at Build to talk Azure and the web with Mehul Harry from Developer Express. You can see his Day 1 session here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014/3-602 “The web marches on, and so does Visual Studio and ASP.NET, with a renewed commitment to making a great IDE for web developers of all kinds. Join Scott & Scott for this dive into VS2013 Update 2 and beyond. We’ll see new features in ASP.NET, new ideas in front end web development, as well as a peek into ASP.NET’s future.”

Mehul Harry: Web Program Manager (since November 2006)
Scott Hunter: now Principal Program Manager Lead on the Azure Application and Platform Team focusing on .NET development on the server, this includes working on ASP.NET, MVC, Web API, Web Pages, SignalR, Entity Framework, Visual Studio Web Tooling, Nuget and Azure SDK’s; previously was Senior Program Manager Lead on the ASP.NET team (for 7 years)

See also:
Announcing new web features in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC [‘.NET Web Development and Tools Blog’, April 2, 2014]
Announcing new Web Features in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 CTP2 [‘.NET Web Development and Tools Blog’, Feb 25, 2014]
Browser Link feature in Visual Studio Preview 2013 [‘.NET Web Development and Tools Blog’, Nov 18, 2013]
What is new in Browser Link with Visual Studio 2013 RC? [‘.NET Web Development and Tools Blog’, Sept 10, 2013]
Building Browser Link extension in Visual Studio 2013 [‘.NET Web Development and Tools Blog’, June 28, 2013]

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