You thought yesterday’s Build 2016 keynote was long? Day 2 was no different. If you didn’t sit through the entire keynotes for both days, here’s a quick recap of what you missed on this second half of the conference.
All about Azure
Today, we’re starting Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure. We didn’t see too many announcements here, but rather lots of demos for developers to understand how they can better utilize Microsoft’s services.
The company did say it is currently building a massive data center to support its growing user base, with “85 percent of Fortune 500 companies” using Azure, such as NBC, Ford, 3M, Heineken, Samsung, and more.
Microsoft also spoke briefly about its Xamarin acquisition to boost cross-platform development and showcased how it works in practice alongside Visual Studio. There’s even an emulator to see how an app looks like on a phone screen, which is pretty neat.
You can use Xamarin Test Cloud to test apps on 1,000 of devices and use HockeyApp to monitor performance for all your users, too.
Xamarin will be available to Visual Studio users for no extra charge – even free community edition users! All of it will be open-sourced.
Microsoft also had BMW onstage to discuss some digital services integrations, including a concept video envisioning the future with a car that you can have video chats on the window. Hmm.
At least in the video, the smart car is able to tell you of upcoming pot holes to avoid too.
If cars aren’t your thing, Microsoft will also soon launch an Azure IoT kit that comes with an Adafruit board so you can code some lights into clothing.
Microsoft announced a new tool called Power BI Embedded for in-app data visualization directly within your own applications. The tool will be free to try until December 1.
Other Azure products such as Container Service and Service Fabric previews are available today, you can now connect DocumentDB using MongoDB tools or libraries.
Getting productive via Office
After spending the first hour and a half on Azure, Microsoft moved onto productivity with its Office suite. It say it now has 1.2 billion users using all Office products.
In a small announcement, Office add-ins for Mac is arriving, adding to the support lineup for Windows, iOS, and iPad. Microsoft even had Starbucks join them on stage to show how to add an add-in to Outlook so you can purchase a gift card and send it straight to your recipient right from your mail client.
You can even send it to multiple people so you can gift a team with their own individual, branded cards from one email. What a time to be alive.
Microsoft also touched upon how the app overload, and how there are too many single-purpose apps crowding their devices. It wants to resolve this with “conversation interfaces” that provide tools like checking train time or order items from things like Office, Skype, and Cortana.
Specifically, it’s announced Office 365 Group Connectors and Skype for Business SDK so developers can integrate these features natively to Microsoft tools. Again, the same concept as what Facebook is attempting with Messenger to consolidate apps into one place via chatbots.
Developers can create their own “connectors” and submit it to be part of Microsoft’s directory.
If you missed Build this year, Microsoft will once again be taking Build on the road in several cities around the world. Registration start on April 25.
For a look at what we’re seeing from the conference, check us out on Twitter via#TNWatBuild.