At the ongoing Microsoft Build 2019 conference, Microsoft has announced a ton of new features and tool releases with a focus on innovation using AI and mixed reality with the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge. In his opening keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined the company’s vision and developer opportunity across Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and IoT Platform, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Gaming.
“As computing becomes embedded in every aspect of our lives, the choices developers make will define the world we live in,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to providing developers with trusted tools and platforms spanning every layer of the modern technology stack to build magical experiences that create new opportunity for everyone.”
Increasing developer productivity in Microsoft 365 platform
Microsoft Graph data connect
Microsoft Graphs are now powered with data connectivity, a service that combines analytics data from the Microsoft Graph with customers’ business data. Microsoft Graph data connect will provide Office 365 data and Microsoft Azure resources to users via a toolset. The migration pipelines are deployed and managed through Azure Data Factory. Microsoft Graph data connect can be used to create new apps shared within enterprises or externally in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.
It is generally available as a feature in Workplace Analytics and also as a standalone SKU for ISVs. More information here.
Microsoft Search works as a unified search experience across all Microsoft apps- Office, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, Bing and Windows. It applies AI technology from Bing and deep personalized insights surfaced by the Microsoft Graph to personalized searches. Other features included in Microsoft Search are:
- Search box displacement
- Zero query typing and key-phrase suggestion feature
- Query history feature, and personal search query history
- Administrator access to the history of popular searches for their organizations, but not to search history for individual users
- Files/people/site/bookmark suggestions
Microsoft Search will begin publicly rolling out to all Microsoft 365 and Office 365 commercial subscriptions worldwide at the end of May. Read more on MS Search here.
As the name suggests Microsoft’s newly launched Fluid framework allows seamless editing and collaboration between different applications. Essentially, it is a web-based platform and componentized document model that allows users to, for example, edit a document in an application like Word and then share a table from that document in Microsoft Teams (or even a third-party application) with real-time syncing.
Microsoft says Fluid can translate text, fetch content, suggest edits, perform compliance checks, and more. The company will launch the software developer kit and the first experiences powered by the Fluid Framework later this year on Microsoft Word, Teams, and Outlook.
Read more about Fluid framework here.
Microsoft Edge new features
Microsoft Build 2019 paved way for a bundle of new features to Microsoft’s flagship web browser, Microsoft Edge. New features include:
- Internet Explorer mode: This mode integrates Internet Explorer directly into the new Microsoft Edge via a new tab. This allows businesses to run legacy Internet Explorer-based apps in a modern browser.
- Privacy Tools: Additional privacy controls which allow customers to choose from 3 levels of privacy in Microsoft Edge—Unrestricted, Balanced, and Strict. These options limit third parties to track users across the web. “Unrestricted” allows all third-party trackers to work on the browser. “Balanced” prevents third-party trackers from sites the user has not visited before. And “Strict” blocks all third-party trackers.
- Collections: Collections allows users to collect, organize, share and export content more efficiently and with Office integration.
Microsoft is also migrating Edge as a whole over to Chromium. This will make Edge easier to develop for by third parties.
For more details, visit Microsoft’s developer blog.
New toolkit enhancements in Microsoft 365 Platform
Windows Terminal is Microsoft’s new application for Windows command-line users. Top features include:
- User interface with emoji-rich fonts and graphics-processing-unit-accelerated text rendering
- Multiple tab support and theming and customization features
- Powerful command-line user experience for users of PowerShell, Cmd, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and all forms of command-line application
Windows Terminal will arrive in mid-June and will be delivered via the Microsoft Store in Windows 10. Read more here.
React Native for Windows
Microsoft announced a new open-source project for React Native developers at Microsoft Build 2019. Developers who prefer to use the React/web ecosystem to write user-experience components can now leverage those skills and components on Windows by using “React Native for Windows” implementation.
React for Windows is under the MIT License and will allow developers to target any Windows 10 device, including PCs, tablets, Xbox, mixed reality devices and more. The project is being developed on GitHub and is available for developers to test. More mature releases will follow soon.
Windows Subsystem for Linux 2
Microsoft rolled out a new architecture for Windows Subsystem for Linux: WSL 2 at the MSBuild 2019. Microsoft will also be shipping a fully open-source Linux kernel with Windows specially tuned for WSL 2. New features include massive file system performance increases (twice as much speed for file-system heavy operations, such as Node Package Manager install). WSL also supports running Linux Docker containers.
The next generation of WSL arrives for Insiders in mid-June. More information here.
New releases in multiple Developer Tools
.NET 5 arrives in 2020
.NET 5 is the next major version of the .NET Platform which will be available in 2020. .NET 5 will have all .NET Core features as well as more additions:
- One Base Class Library containing APIs for building any type of application
- More choice on runtime experiences
- Java interoperability will be available on all platforms.
- Objective-C and Swift interoperability will be supported on multiple operating systems
- .NET 5 will provide both Just-in-Time (JIT) and Ahead-of-Time (AOT) compilation models to support multiple compute and device scenarios.
- .NET 5 also will offer one unified toolchain supported by new SDK project types as well as a flexible deployment model (side-by-side and self-contained EXEs)
Detailed information here.
ML.NET is Microsoft’s open-source and cross-platform framework that runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS and makes machine learning accessible for .NET developers. Its new version, ML.NET 1.0, was released at the Microsoft Build Conference 2019 yesterday. Some new features in this release are:
- Automated Machine Learning Preview: Transforms input data by selecting the best performing ML algorithm with the right settings. AutoML support in ML.NET is in preview and currently supports Regression and Classification ML tasks.
- ML.NET Model Builder Preview: Model Builder is a simple UI tool for developers which uses AutoML to build ML models. It also generates model training and model consumption code for the best performing model.
- ML.NET CLI Preview: ML.NET CLI is a dotnet tool which generates ML.NET Models using AutoML and ML.NET. The ML.NET CLI quickly iterates through a dataset for a specific ML Task and produces the best model.
Visual Studio IntelliCode, Microsoft’s tool for AI-assisted coding
Visual Studio IntelliCode, Microsoft’s AI-assisted coding is now generally available. It is essentially an enhanced IntelliSense, Microsoft’s extremely popular code completion tool. Intellicode is trained by using the code of thousands of open-source projects from GitHub that have at least 100 stars.
Visual Studio 2019 version 16.1 Preview 2
Visual Studio 2019 version 16.1 Preview 2 release includes IntelliCode and the GitHub extensions by default. It also brings out of preview the Time Travel Debugging feature introduced with version 16.0. Also includes multiple performances and productivity improvements for .NET and C++ developers.
Gaming and Mixed Reality
Minecraft AR game for mobile devices
At the end of Microsoft’s Build 2019 keynote yesterday, Microsoft teased a new Minecraft game in augmented reality, running on a phone. The teaser notes that more information will be coming on May 17th, the 10-year anniversary of Minecraft.
HoloLens 2 Development Edition and unreal engine support
The HoloLens 2 Development Edition includes a HoloLens 2 device, $500 in Azure credits and three-months free trials of Unity Pro and Unity PiXYZ Plugin for CAD data, starting at $3,500 or as low as $99 per month.
The HoloLens 2 Development Edition will be available for preorder soon and will ship later this year. Unreal Engine support for streaming and native platform integration will be available for HoloLens 2 by the end of May.
Intelligent Edge and IoT
Azure IoT Central new features
- Better rules processing and customs rules with services like Azure Functions or Azure Stream Analytics
- Multiple dashboards and data visualization options for different types of users
- Inbound and outbound data connectors, so that operators can integrate with systems
- Ability to add custom branding and operator resources to an IoT Central application with new white labeling options
New Azure IoT Central features are available for customer trials.
IoT Plug and Play
IoT Plug and Play is a new, open modeling language to connect IoT devices to the cloud seamlessly without developers having to write a single line of embedded code. IoT Plug and Play also enable device manufacturers to build smarter IoT devices that just work with the cloud. Cloud developers will be able to find IoT Plug and Play enabled devices in Microsoft’s Azure IoT Device Catalog. The first device partners include Compal, Kyocera, and STMicroelectronics, among others.
Azure Maps Mobility Service
Azure Maps Mobility Service is a new API which provides real-time public transit information, including nearby stops, routes and trip intelligence. This API also will provide transit services to help with city planning, logistics, and transportation.
Azure Maps Mobility Service will be in public preview in June. Read more about Azure Maps Mobility Service here.
KEDA: Kubernetes-based event-driven autoscaling
Microsoft and Red Hat collaborated to create KEDA, which is an open-sourced project that supports the deployment of serverless, event-driven containers on Kubernetes. It can be used in any Kubernetes environment — in any public/private cloud or on-premises such as Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Red Hat OpenShift.
KEDA has support for built-in triggers to respond to events happening in other services or components. This allows the container to consume events directly from the source, instead of routing through HTTP. KEDA also presents a new hosting option for Azure Functions that can be deployed as a container in Kubernetes clusters.
Securing elections and political campaigns
ElectionGuard SDK and Microsoft 365 for Campaigns
ElectionGuard, is a free open-source software development kit (SDK) as an extension of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program to enable end-to-end verifiability and improved risk-limiting audit capabilities for elections in voting systems. Microsoft365 for Campaigns provides security capabilities of Microsoft 365 Business to political parties and individual candidates. More details here.
Microsoft Build is in its 6th year and will continue till 8th May. The conference hosts over 6,000 attendees with early 500 student-age developers and over 2,600 customers and partners in attendance. Watch it live here!