SAN FRANCISCO - Today thousands of developers gathered at The Moscone Center, with hundreds of thousands more participating online, for the second day of Build 2013, where Microsoft Corp. demonstrated that the developer opportunity on the Windows platform has never been greater. Keynotes delivered by Satya Nadella, president, Server and Tools Business, and Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist, Developer Platform Evangelism, showcased how commonality across the Windows platform enables developers of all types to build compelling apps and experiences spanning devices and services.
Increasing importance of cloud services
Developers today are building multidevice, multiscreen, cloud-connected experiences. Windows Azure spans infrastructure and platform capabilities to provide them with a comprehensive set of services to easily and quickly build modern applications, using the tools and languages familiar to them.
“Developers are increasingly demanding a flexible, comprehensive platform that helps them build and manage apps in a cloud- and mobile-driven world,” Nadella said. “To meet these demands, Microsoft has been doubling down on Windows Azure. Nearly 1,000 new businesses are betting on Windows Azure daily, and as momentum for Azure grows, so too does the developer opportunity to build applications that power modern businesses.”
Delivering on its commitment to provide developers with the most comprehensive cloud platform, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services. Mobile Services enables developers building Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android apps to store data in the cloud, authenticate users and send push notifications. TalkTalk Business, a leading business telecommunications provider in the United Kingdom, chose Windows Azure Mobile Services to create new ways to engage with its customers and serve demand for mobile access.
Microsoft also announced the general availability of Windows Azure Web Sites, which allows developers to create websites on a flexible, secure and scalable platform to reach new customers. With the investments Microsoft has made in ASP.NET and Web tools, Web developers can now create scalable experiences easier than ever. Dutch brewer Heineken is using Windows Azure to power a social pinball game for the UEFA Champions League Road to the Final campaign, with the expectations of millions of interactions scaled on Windows Azure. Heineken exceeded its usage metrics by a wide margin yet experienced no scalability issues with Windows Azure.
Guthrie also highlighted Microsoft’s continued enterprise cloud momentum by demonstrating several platform advancements, including previews of improved auto-scaling, alerting and notifications, and tooling support for Windows Azure through Visual Studio. In addition, he previewed how Windows Azure Active Directory provides organizations and ISVs, such as Box, with a single sign-on experience to access cloud-based applications.
Developers can go to the Windows Azure site today for a free trial:http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/?WT.mc_id=AE37323DE.
Spanning from the cloud to devices
Guggenheimer announced the availability of the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry ReleasePreview, which extends Windows 8.1 technologies and provides additional flexibility to meet the needs of industry devices. Onstage, Guggenheimer demonstrated the Avis Select and Go app running on a Windows Embedded 8 Industry tablet and a Windows Embedded 8 Handheld device to illustrate the opportunity for developers to capitalize on the shared Windows codebase and enable industry-specific branding, peripheral support (such as mag stripe readers and barcode scanners), and lockdown capabilities.
Through a series of partner demos, Guggenheimer demonstrated the common core of the Windows platform spanning PC, tablet, phone and embedded devices.
Foursquare previewed an exclusive, uniquely designed Windows 8 tablet app that goes beyond check-ins to use location data in a way that helps users find interesting places and things to do around them.
Adobe Systems Inc. is bringing its Digital Publishing Suite product to Windows 8.1 devices in late 2013. Publishers and brands will be able to design and publish content to multiple devices with interactive and inspiring reading experiences.
Guggenheimer announced the availability of OpenTable, Rockmelt and Rhapsody apps for Windows 8 in the Windows Store and previewed five Disney games. Details on these applications can be found on the Windows blog.
Finally, Guggenheimer highlighted a few of the popular apps available in Windows Phone Store today, including ABC News, Xfinity by Comcast, TV Remote, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Walgreens, as well as the live push-to-talk and multimedia messaging app, Voxer.
“People want to experience and explore the world around them, and the Foursquare for Windows 8 app helps them do that. It makes it fun to search for a place for dinner or to go out, and it helps people discover new experiences. We’ve worked with Microsoft on a bunch of initiatives over the years, and this product is another example of the great things we can do together,” said Dennis Crowley, co-founder and CEO at Foursquare.
New third-party offerings
PayPal’s software development kit, now generally available, allows developers to integrate the payment experience for 128 million account holders into a Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 app. In addition, Unity Technologies, one of the industry’s most popular game development platforms with nearly 2 million community members, announced a strategic collaboration with Microsoft to make it easier for developers to bring popular games, entertainment and apps to Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox 360 and Xbox One for Microsoft Studios publishing partners.
New enhancements and services
Microsoft also demonstrated the developer productivity enhancements of the .NET 4.5.1 runtime that enable developers to build the next wave of modern applications that run across devices and cloud, while also extending their existing line-of-business applications. The updates include improved coding, designing, testing and optimizing of XAML applications in Windows 8.1. Microsoft published a white paper providing guidance to .NET developers.
Finally, Microsoft showcased how Bing as a platform can extend across a broad set of devices and client app experiences using Bing Developer Services. Guggenheimer demonstrated these platform capabilities by showing Microsoft translation technology in Twitter for Windows Phone, which now provides instant, single-click translation of tweets.
“Whether developing for existing, client/server, or emerging device and cloud application patterns, developers need a platform that offers consistency and flexibility. Only the Windows platform — spanning Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure and more — meets this need,” Guggenheimer said.
More information can be found at the Build 2013 website, http://www.buildwindows.com.
Adobe had this to say about the announcement:
Adobe Digital Publishing Suite was featured onstage today at the Microsoft Build Conference to announce support for Windows 8.1 in late 2013. Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, demonstrated the reading experience on Windows 8.1 with a sneak preview of Time Inc.’s Real Simple magazine.
We are excited to announce that Adobe is bringing Digital Publishing Suite to Windows 8.1 devices in late 2013. Publishers and brands will be able to design and publish content to devices such as the Microsoft Surface, reaching a growing population of Windows 8 tablet users. Designers will be able to use DPS to create dynamic and interactive magazines and newspapers, rich and enticing retail catalogs, as well as sales enablement, corporate communications and brand loyalty apps delivered to customers, employees, or stakeholders.