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Build 2014: exciting times ahead for the Windows platform

There were plenty of exciting announcements at this year’s BUILD conference, held in San Francisco last week.

The first thing I would like to say is remote debugging to Azure VMs, Websites and Services: awesome. For me this was one of the most exciting announcements at BUILD. Along with remote debugging I was also happy to see Typescript get a version 1.0 release, universal apps (finally). But the true star was Windows Phone 8.1. Coming in the next couple of months to any Windows Phone 8 device near you. 

The Windows Phone 8.1 Update was a long time coming for what was slowly becoming a stale platform. Since Windows Phone 8 was released we have not seen anything in terms of new user functionality. This release finally puts the platform on an even footing with iOS and Android in terms of system functionality. The announcement of universal apps could be just what Microsoft needs to catch up in the apps space. 

With universal apps, shared code across all platforms should make Windows a much more attractive option form enterprise business to startups. Development time and effort to target the multiple platforms is reduced significantly and will also allow the developer to provide a better experience for the end user. The apps can now be tied together within the Windows Store, allowing us developers to leverage some new cloud storage locations to provide a consistent experience across devices without the need of their own service. There is now storage in the cloud to ensure that app data is backed up and settings can be synchronised across to other devices running Windows. 

This unification of apps will also allow users to purchase the app once on any device and have access to it on all devices. Did I mention that these universal apps will not only be across Windows and Windows Phone but Xbox One as well? You also have the choice between C#, C++ and JavaScript across all platforms. 

With the help of Xamarin you can take what you have already written for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox to Android, iPad and iPhone, targeting a large number platforms to reach the majority of the first world so, as our Intergen BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) states: everyone, every day is touched positively by the things we do. 

Lee Farley meets Satya

It was noticeable throughout the breakout sessions that Typescript has been fully embraced. All teams working with JavaScript were eating their Microsoft dog food. Monaco, the Visual Studio Online code editor, is now built entirely in Typescript. It has allowed the team to create and maintain a large codebase. 

In addition to the two keynote presentations that claimed all of the applause there were 154 Session over three days. The content of these sessions varied dramatically, from high level security best practices to in-depth API discussions.

Posted by: Lee Farley, Developer, Seattle | 09 April 2014


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