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Announcements from MS Build

In case you missed MS Build two weeks ago, here are some of the big announcements.

Xamarin

Xamarin is now FREE (Xamarin Studio), or bundled with Visual Studio for the higher tier product. It’s open source! This is a mobile technology, and here at The Nerdery it lives under Mobile land, but it means a lot about developer accessibility to this technology. While this does not change the Xamarin product overnight, it does provide two key messages:

  • The availability for the usage of Xamarin is much wider. While this platform previously was slightly limited due to its purchasing cost, it is now much more available.
  • Xamarin is here to stay. It was a steady player in the cross-platform mobile space in the past. Now that it is part of Microsoft’s development stack we can rest assured that this technology will remain for a number of years.

Bash for Windows

Native bash for Windows in the form of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows . While that name is not the best naming Microsoft has done (although I’d be hard-pressed to say it’s the worst), it is a cool step. In fact, it is so cool that after installing you can immediately run  apt-get install linux-thing , and it works.

Mind-bogglingly, it does not use a VM.

This new tool is shipped with the Anniversary Update , codenamed Redstone , planned on hitting this summer. Or, on your personal machine, you can switch to the Insider Preview channel and get it today.

Hololens

It’s shipping. It’s real. Not a unicorn. $3000. That’s the cost of a Hololens Dev kit.

Microsoft announced this product last year, w hich had undergone significant secret development. Now, these products are shipping to development individuals and groups to create the next phase of interactive software.

XBox One Dev Mode

Most console game systems require separate hardware in order to create a new game for that system. During MS Build, it was announced that all XBox Ones now have a feature to enable “Developer Mode,” effectively lowering the barrier of entry to build a new game. While this does not have much impact on the quality or capability of games generated, it nevertheless expands the market of possible game creators to many more people.

Bots

Microsoft created a bot framework . Anyone can build a bot with little effort. These bots can already be connected via Microsoft’s channel network to places such as Slack and Skype. Now anyone can build a bot in .NET in no time at all!

Azure Service Fabric

Azure is focusing on making Service Fabric (read: microservices architecture framework) available for many people to use. While this sounds like a new offering, Microsoft has been using Service Fabric behind the scenes for years. They have used it to power Azure SQL, Power BI, Azure Document DB, and more. Thus, this offering definitely earns a “not your average beta” badge.

Azure Functions

Azure has added mini program functionality, in a direct contrast to AWS Lambda . It allows code to run in a script-like environment, based on triggers, inputs and outputs. These “mini programs” can be written in a variety of languages, including JavaScript, C#, Python, PHP, Bash and Powershell. That’s pretty awesome.

MS Build 2016 in Summary

Overall, MS Build has continued to be an environment where new offerings are announced, new development tooling released, and existing platforms explored in depth. Once again, Microsoft did not let us down.

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